‘Lying is not a rookie mistake’: Senators condemn Trump Jr.’s emails about meeting for dirt on Clinton

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday tweeted what he said was the full email correspondence between himself and the music publicist who arranged a meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with a Russian attorney who the publicist said would provide damaging information about the soon-to-be Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Shortly after, Democrats lined up to criticize Trump, who in the emails appeared to try to arrange an exchange of information with a lawyer he understood to be connected to the Russian government.

Republicans largely have stayed quiet on the latest revelations, instead focusing on trying to postpone the August recess to pass their healthcare bill. No Republican senator had tweeted about the emails as of Wednesday morning, but Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham commented.

Here is a roundup of senators’ reactions to Trump’s emails:


Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina: “Anytime you’re in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government to help your campaign, the answer is ‘no.’ … Definitely, he has to testify. That email is disturbing.”


Sen. John McCain, Republican from Arizona: “There’ll be many more shoes that will drop. … It’s certainly another shoe that’s dropped that needs to be pursued and looked at.”


Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia and Hillary Clinton’s running mate: “This should have set off alarm bells and red lights and instead what it seemed to do is it activated their salivary glands. … This is just wheelbarrows full of new evidence for the special prosecutor and the Senate Intelligence Committee.”


Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California: “What we know so far about these emails is deeply disturbing. They appear to show direct coordination between the Trump campaign and possibly the Russian government itself. … We need to have Donald Trump Jr. and other individuals come before the committee, in open session, as soon as possible.”


Sen. Ed Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts: “That proves that there was an attempt at collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.”


Sen. Brian Schatz, Democrat from Hawaii, called out Republicans for staying quiet on the emails, and quoted Teddy Roosevelt.


Sen. Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, amended an earlier tweet saying he would focus on healthcare reform this week.


Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon: It’s “no longer a question that the Trump campaign sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert American democracy.”


Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Democrat from Minnesota: “The words speak for themselves.”


Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois, accused Trump of violating federal law.


Sen. Jeff Merkley, Democrat from Oregon, called it “an effort to communicate, cooperate, and collude with the Russian government.”


Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democrat from Vermont: Special counsel Robert Mueller and Congress “MUST sort thru the shifting denials, changed stories & cascading lies about Trump team’s contacts w Russia.”


Sen. Martin Heinrich, Democrat from New Mexico, called Trump’s emails a “criminal conspiracy” and demanded the security clearance of White House adviser Jared Kushner, who attended the meeting with the lawyer, be reconsidered.


Sen. Mark Warner?, Democrat from Virginia, went on a Twitter rant: “This is black and white: Trump officials at the highest levels knew Russia was working to aid Donald Trump & welcomed Russia’s interference.”


Sen. Maria Cantwell?, Democrat from Washington, wants Trump to explain his actions.


Sen. Mazie Hirono, Democrat from Hawaii, called the emails “evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.


Sen. Jack Reed, Democrat from Rhode Island: “We may not know every detail, and there may be more to come, but no American citizen can look at these emails and see anything other than an utter lack of respect for our democratic system and the American people.”


Sen. Ben Cardin?, Democrat from Maryland, urged the House to pass the bill that the Senate already passed that would impose more sanctions on Russia for interfering in the US election.


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island, took the opportunity to explain what “collusion” actually is.


Sen. Kamela Harris, Democrat from California, agreed Trump Jr. should testify before Congress.


Sen. Chris Coons, Democrat from Delaware, encouraged his Republican colleagues to pursue the Trump-Russia investigation together.


Sen. Richard Blumenthal?, Democrat from Connecticut: “These emails are a textbook example and evidence of criminal intent.”


Sen. Tom Carper, Democrat from Delaware, expressed his confidence that special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s independent investigation into Trump-Russia ties would get to the bottom of things.


Sen. Tom Udall?, Democrat from New Mexico, doubled down on calls for Trump to release his tax returns.


Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat from Illinois: “Americans of all stripes should be unified against foreign powers seeking to influence our government.”