Legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said Sunday that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton was “convened for the purpose of collusion.” In addition, Donald Trump participated in a “demonstrable cover-up” by devising a fake story about the purpose of the meeting, he said.
The Washington Post reported that it was the president who “dictated a misleading statement” saying the purpose of the campaign meeting was “primarily” to discuss a “program about the adoption of Russian children.”
“That is huge news,” Bernstein said on Brian Stelter’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN. “Who is telling the truth is yet to be determined.” Trump has denied knowing in advance about the meeting.
The probe by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign is a “vast story,” said Bernstein. It not only involves numerous witnesses, culpability and suspected criminality but raises concerns about Trump’s “fitness” to hold office as he reacts to the probe.
He keeps “telling the country that he is a stable genius,” said Bernstein. However, “those in the White House are saying, ‘Well, he doesn’t look very stable right now to us and he doesn’t look very much like a genius.’”
The one way in which Trump “obviously is a genius” is in his “political skills and mobilizing his base,” Bernstein added. “The base, and keeping them energized against the press, is absolutely essential to Donald Trump fighting and furthering the cover-up.” It’s vital to Trump to destroy the media’s credibility “because we are reporting the truth,” he added.
Bernstein said the full extent of the cover-up is still a mystery. “We’ve [still] got a lot to learn, and need to keep doing our reporting,” he said.
In a profile of Bernstein in The Washington Post Sunday, he said Trump is one of a kind. That’s because of the president’s “habitual aversion to telling the truth,” his “willingness to embrace authoritarian and racist notions” — and also his “considerable brilliance” in tapping into “something in the country,” he said.
Check out Bernstein’s “Reliable Sources” interview in the video up top.