ABC Asks Trump Jr.: ‘Are You Scared That You Could Go to Jail?’

During an exclusive interview with Donald Trump Jr. aired on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, ABC News correspondent Tara Palmeri was ready to convict the President’s eldest son of an unspecified crime. She touted him being “under the microscope” in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and asked Trump Jr.: “Are you scared that you could go to jail?”

“ABC News exclusive. Donald Trump Jr. one-on-one....What he’s saying about fears his father could be impeached and his own role in the Russia investigation,” co-host George Stephanopoulos proclaimed at the top of the show. Introducing the interview minutes later, Stephanopoulos again emphasized that Trump Jr. addressed “his fears about the Russia investigation.”

 

 

“With the White House in crisis mode, this morning, Donald Trump Jr. is speaking out about that anonymous New York Times op-ed disparaging his father, as the search continues to find an alleged mole on the inside,” Palmeri described as she began her report. Trump Jr. blasted the unknown author’s article as “pretty disgusting.”

Later in the exchange, Palmeri observed: “It’s the family ties that have the President’s eldest son under the microscope. Not officially a member of the administration, but under scrutiny for his role in the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Turning to Trump Jr., she pressed: “Your father has denied reports that he’s worried that you might be in legal jeopardy because of the Mueller investigation. But are you scared that you could go to jail?”

He replied:

I’m not, because I know what I did and I’m not worried about any of that. You know, that doesn’t mean they won’t try to create something. I mean, we’ve seen that happen with everything. But you know, again, I’m not.

Palmeri warned him: “But some say that Mueller has been successful. He has an indictment of Manafort, he has a plea deal from Cohen, he has Papadopoulos sentenced. You know, he’s got a litany of close associates of your father’s under investigation and some convicted – ” The headline on screen read: “Donald Trump Jr. on Russia Investigation; Is President’s Son Worried About Going to Jail?”     

Trump Jr. pointed out that the Manafort case was about “things that happened way before they were ever part of any campaign” and reiterated: “I understand that they are trying to get my father and they'll do anything they can to get that.”

Following the taped segment, Stephanopoulos framed Trump Jr.’s response this way: “And Tara, when you questioned him about it, he seemed almost resigned to the idea that Robert Mueller could take action against him.” Palmeri agreed: “Right, he seems to accept the fact that this investigation is not ending and that Mueller will not stop until he possibly – ” She trailed off before finishing that thought.

Also during the exchange, Palmeri fretted over the Trump administration criticizing Google for political bias in search results, lecturing Trump Jr. that “Google has said that they do not use an algorithm that favors one party or another.” However, ABC, NBC, and CBS all ignored a bombshell report that Google employee tried to help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election.

Looking to Trump Jr. hitting the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections, she noted that November “will inevitably be a referendum on his father” and wondered: “Any worries that could spell political catastrophe for his father?”

Without actual evidence of a crime taking place, ABC is already imagining Trump Jr. being behind bars. So much for giving guests the benefit of the doubt.

Here is a full transcript of the September 11 segment:

7:12 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to go to Washington now and our exclusive interview with Donald Trump Jr. He’s speaking out about the anonymous administration official who wrote that The New York Times op-ed, his fears about the Russia investigation, also hitting the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections, could be a referendum on his father. ABC’s Tara Palmeri sat down with Don Jr. and joins us now. Good morning, Tara.

TARA PALMERI: Good morning, George. With the White House in crisis mode, this morning, Donald Trump Jr. is speaking out about that anonymous New York Times op-ed disparaging his father, as the search continues to find an alleged mole on the inside.     

DONALD TRUMP JR.: I imagine this is a very low-level person.

PALMERI: Donald Trump Jr. is crying betrayal, slamming the anonymous senior Trump administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times claiming to be part of “the resistance” inside the White House.

TRUMP JR.: It’s pretty disgusting. That’s pretty sad. Perhaps it’s a disgruntled person who’s been thrown out because they didn’t deliver on what they were supposed to do.

PALMERI: What’s the crime though?

TRUMP JR.: Listen, I think you’re subverting the will of the people. I mean, to try to control the presidency while not the president, you have millions and millions of Americans who voted for this.

PALMERI: And Trump Jr. says it’s all made his father more isolated in the Oval Office.

TRUMP JR.: I think there are people in there that he can trust. It’s just it’s a much smaller group than I would like it to be.

PALMERI: Who do you trust?

TRUMP JR.: Well, I – you know, I’ll keep that to myself.

PALMERI: And they’re not family?  

TRUMP JR.: Well, obviously, yeah, I’m talking outside of family, I think that one goes without saying.

PALMERI: It’s the family ties that have the President’s eldest son under the microscope. Not officially a member of the administration, but under scrutiny for his role in the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Your father has denied reports that he’s worried that you might be in legal jeopardy because of the Mueller investigation. But are you scared that you could go to jail?

TRUMP JR.: I’m not, because I know what I did and I’m not worried about any of that. You know, that doesn’t mean they won’t try to create something. I mean, we’ve seen that happen with everything. But you know, again, I’m not.

PALMERI: But some say that Mueller has been successful. He has an indictment of Manafort, he has a plea deal from Cohen, he has Papadopoulos sentenced. You know, he’s got a litany of close associates of your father’s under investigation and some convicted –  

TRUMP JR.: All for things that happened way before they were ever part of any campaign. So if they get Manafort on a 2006 tax charge – you know, again, I understand that they are trying to get my father and they'll do anything they can to get that.

PALMERI: Unfazed by the scrutiny, Donald Trump Jr. has become a prominent voice on the campaign trail, speaking to conservative fears about being allegedly silenced by big tech companies like Google.

TRUMP JR.: You have Google, that controls 91 and change percent of the searches in the world. We don’t know who controls the algorithm. We don’t know who’s doing what, but they’re using it to influence the decision-making process.

PALMERI: Google has said that they do not use an algorithm that favors one party or another.

TRUMP JR.: If they’re only filtering content from one side and they’re not doing it on the other, or they’re sort of pretending to do it on the other, and it's happening time and time again, and there’s only one side complaining about it happening.

PALMERI: In a statement to ABC News, a Google spokesperson said, “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Trump Jr. says the November midterms will inevitably be a referendum on his father, one where historical odds suggest Democrats could win back the House. Any worries that could spell political catastrophe for his father?

TRUMP JR.: So our people, the MAGA people, they have to turn up. They have to get out and vote. And I think we can break history.

PALMERI: President Trump has said that if voters don’t go out and vote Republican that it would lead to his impeachment. That they’re basically letting him be impeached. Do you agree with that?

TRUMP JR.: I think without question. Because the reality is, the Democrats play by different roles than the Republicans do.

PALMERI: Donald Trump Jr. tells me he plans to be out on the campaign trail extensively between now and Election Day as one of his father’s most popular surrogates. When I asked him about his own political future and whether he might join the White House, he didn’t rule it out. But guys, he said he’s wary of even more intense media scrutiny.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Tara, when you questioned him about it, he seemed almost resigned to the idea that Robert Mueller could take action against him.

PALMERI: Right, he seems to accept the fact that this investigation is not ending and that Mueller will not stop until he possibly –  

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Tara Palmeri, thanks very much.


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