Following the Russian collusion story is like going to a dentist appointment. Yes, it needs to be done, but nobody enjoys it. I only say that because the woven tapestry of competing narratives and statements makes it near impossible to actually find the solid bottom of this story. The latest chapter in the Russia saga involves Donald Trump, Jr., and a meeting he held with a Russian attorney back in June of last year. The attorney allegedly was to provide some dirt on Hillary Clinton involving her ties to Russian business dealings. The meeting was setup by a concert promoter, whom the Trump’s had worked with on the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow back in 2013. Ultimately, the meeting proved worthless and the information was non-existent, but the email chain of setting up the meeting has now come under scrutiny after it was leaked to the New York Times, and ultimately released in full by Donald Trump, Jr.

Here’s the rest of the background on this from USAToday:

Under fire for his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump Jr. released his emails on Tuesday with entertainment publicist Rob Goldstone in an effort “to be totally transparent.”

In the exchange, Goldstone, who set up the meeting, told Trump Jr. that Russian government officials could provide incriminating information about his father’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton through Russian pop musician Emin Agalarov. The emails, which Trump Jr. released on Twitter, appear to show Trump Jr. welcomed the information and accepted a meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Goldstone wrote, to which Trump Jr. replied: “If it’s what you say I love it.”

The USAToday story also contains the full text of the entire email chain, but here is the most pertinent part getting all the attention:

June 3, 2016 10:36 a.m.

Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr.
Subject: Russia – Clinton – private and confidential

Good morning

Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin. [Emphasis added]

What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

Best

Rob Goldstone

The portion which I emphasized above is drawing the attention since the email’s author, Rob Goldstone, states that the information is coming from somewhere within the Russian government, due to “its support for Mr. Trump.” That line right there has given fuel to the narrative, and it’s being pounced on by Democrats, and some Republicans alike.

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Hillary Clinton’s former running mate in 2016, said the emails appear to be treasonous:

“We are now beyond obstruction of justice,” the Virginia Democrat told CNN Tuesday. “This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, also had a simple statement on the emails:

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said any time you’re in a campaign and you get an offer from a foreign government the answer is “no.”

The New York Post, which has been rather friendly to President Trump, says that Don Jr’s actions make him an idiot, but not a criminal:

We see one truly solid takeaway from the story of the day: Donald Trump Jr. is an idiot.

In the heat of your father’s presidential campaign, a bozo British publicist e-mails you to set up a sitdown with a “Russian government attorney” promising “documents and information” to “incriminate Hillary” courtesy of the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” as “part of” the Russian government’s “support” for dad — and you eagerly take the meeting.
“If it’s what you say I love it,” wrote Junior. As if the government of former KGB spymaster Vladimir Putin would do anything so clumsy. (Our former colleague Kyle Smith put it nicely: “Don Jr. is why Nigerian e-mail scammers keep trying their luck.”)

Worse, he dragged brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chief Paul Manafort into the meeting, which proved to be a bid by a Moscow fixer to undo a US law causing trouble for her clients. (Reportedly, Kushner walked out within 10 minutes while Manafort did work on his phone.)

Oh, and someone was so careless with the e-mail trail that it all wound up being fed to The New York Times, for days of headlines that (at best) undermine President Trump’s agenda as both health and tax reform hang in the balance in Congress.

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. As were Junior’s shifting, incomplete accounts of the meeting under days of Times questioning.

Well, everyone can agree on the “idiot” part, but there still could be some criminality depending on how this changes the Russia investigation. At some point, someone is going to walk into a perjury charge if public statements keep getting disputed by the factual record. Don Jr. said many times he had no meetings, no contact with anyone, etc… then this email bombshell drops, so clearly there is a disconnect between what he’s been saying, and what actually happened, according to the Washington Post:

But the information isn’t just troubling because it suggests the Trump campaign sought out the help of Russians to win the presidency. It also contradicts a number of claims made by the White House, the campaign and Trump Jr. himself — claims made as recently as this weekend. For an administration and campaign that have repeatedly denied contact with Russians and had their denials blow up in their faces, it’s yet another dubious chapter.

Some defenders of Trump are pointing to a story published by Politico in January, which details efforts by associates of Hillary Clinton to work directly with Ukrainian officials in attempts undermine Trump publicly and bolster the Clinton campaign back during 2016. The story details how the whole thing fell apart, but many high level contacts existed between Ukrainian government officials and top people in the Clinton campaign, leaving some to point out that this documented collusion has never been fully investigated.

While the Clinton/Ukraine story needs to be investigated with the same rigor, it doesn’t let Don Jr. off the hook for his seeming acceptance of help directly from the “Russian government,” as illustrated by the emails that her personally released.

This Don Jr. email story is still developing and we’ll continue covering it as the facts unfold.

21 COMMENTS

  1. If the Clinton/Ukraine story should prove to be true, and involve criminal behavior, those involved should be brought to justice. No foreign nation, agency, or agent should be allowed to influence our Democratic process. Period. That said, there are important differences, the most glaring one being that Ukraine is not an adversary of the United States, and I don’t seem to remember hearing that they had plans to undermine the government’s of their neighbors, and reconstitute the old Soviet Union. Shoplifting and bank robbery are both stealing, neither should be unpunished, but innocent bystanders are usually more at risk of they are present at a bank robbery than if they are in a store during a shoplifting event.

    One thing that you can not dispute, Donald Jr was a member of his father’s campaign, as were Kushner and Manafort. All three attended a meeting under the impression that it offered materials obtained by the Russian government in its support of Trump’s candidacy said meeting to be With a Russian government representative. It matters not at all what was or was not obtained at the meeting. Its like the Dateline series that showed a steady stream of men, who should have known better, setting up meetings with girls who said they were underage for the purpose of having sex. They, like Trump Jr claimed that they didn’t have sex with anyone and were innocent. Their crime was already committed when they arranged the meeting with an underage child for sex. While Trump Jr may not have gotten the materials he was looking for, his crime was in soliciting them from a known foreign agent, Kushner and Manafort were likewise guilty just by knowingly attending.

    And finally, THIS IS UNDENIABLE PROOF THAT MEMBERS, MEMBERS PLURAL, OF TRUMP’S CAMPAIGN MET WITH RUSSIANS TO HELP HIS CAMPAIGN AND DAMAGE CLINTON. That is no longer in question!

    • The article is right in saying that they should have known better. Why was it necessary to dig up dirt on this most corrupt, lying, phony POS possibly in the history of the world. Of course I am talking about that sleaze Billary.?

      Having intent to do something illegal and actually committing a crime are in a separate league. No matter how many examples you give of misdeeds, they tend to fall flat. Anyone can walk near an open cash register full of money and fantasize on what they could do if they take that money. As long as the thought just remains a fantasy, no crime is committed.?

      This in essence is what happened to Donald Trump Jr. But I think that the Democrats can actually find that a crime was committed. I have been told by a credible source that while on the way to this clandestine meeting, Jr. committed the unspeakable crime of JAY WALKING.?

        • The article also mentions about the Nigerian Scam. I wonder if the writer was trying to intimate that Democrats are those that have fallen for this scam. After All if anyone is foolish enough to believe in and vote for Hillary Clinton, the biggest MEGLOMANIAC huckster of all time, they would believe anything.?

      • Did you ever watch the Dateline series where they set up a woman to play the part of an underage girl and agree to meet men for sex? When the men arrived for the meeting, they were arrested. Why? Because when the arranged a meeting for sex with someone the knee was a minor, they had already committed a crime. Trump was knowingly soliciting aid for his father’s presidential campaign, he was already committing a crime.
        If you walk by an open cash drawer and fantasize about what you could do with the money, no crime is committed. If you go into a bank with a gun, wearing a mask, and don’t manage to steal the money, you have already committed a crime, and will go to jail.

        Besides all that, this is undeniable proof that the Trump campaign DIRECTLY COLLUDED WITH RUSSIANS. Does that mean nothing to you at all. Are you so much in love with these creeps that you will swallow all the shit that they are dishing out, lick the plate and say may I please have some more.

        What has this administration accomplished that you are so pleased with?

        • There is one monumental thing that this administration has accomplished. That is of course that they aren’t cowardly Democrats willing to sell out the US to the highest bidder. Another, that even you can’t deny, is that President Trump isn’t going around the world like that WEENIE O’Bugger did apologizing for all of the nasty things that the US did in the past. President Trump’s take on the subject is like me or not, it is of little difference to me. ?

          The story has since been updated and it seems that the Democrats in the O’Bugger administration may have set up poor Donald Trump Jr. The plot thickens as the nefarious Democrats will do anything to discredit an opponent. Keep reading and hopefully you won’t weep too hard at the results.??

          • You are right Trump is not apologising for anything, the man is such a pompus ass that he doesn’t understand the concept of an apology. What he is doing is going around the world embarrassing all Americans, all thinking Americans. That, and offending other world leaders, except Putin of course. To Putin he is giving, not selling the US, as Putin is not bidding, he is demanding. And Trump, Putin’s good lapdog is wagging his stumpy tail and complying.

            Did you happen to see him “shake hands”with the French president’s wife by clasping her hand and roughly dragging her toward himself, the way a man does to prove himself ” top dog”. He then had the nerve to comment about her body. This is the first lady of France, not some slut. How would you like to see our first laady treated like this?
            The Russian lawyer was admitted to the US for the purpose of defending a company in the US that was already her client. Do you honestly believe that Loretta Lynch conspired to let her into the country so that she would sucker half the Trump campaign into a compromising meeting?

            During the last abduction did the aliens go a little too hard on the anal probe and scramble your brain? Or was it your friend in the illuminati that slipped you the word about Lynch?

            • You should know about the anal probe. You were the one administering it.?

              As far as the actions of OUR PRESIDENT TRUMP are concerned, what can I say they are uniquely his. You aren’t trying to tell me that you would prefer the sniveling O’Bugger to the MANLY President Trump??

              As far as apologizing for the past, it is worth next to nothing. I learned a long time ago that the past cannot be changed. Apologizing for something that can’t be changed is no more than show. In essence that pretty much should be the way the O’Bugger presidency should be classified, ALL SHOW AND NO ACTION.?

            • We can usually survive a good deal of drama, sometimes Trauma can prove fatal, if not quickly dealt with.

            • FIRST OF ALL, my probe ain’t nowhere near nobody’s anal. From what I hear someone called “Straight Shooter” would probably know all about that kind of thing.

              Secondly, I was no fan of Obama. I did not cast a vote in 08 because I could not support him. Voted for him in 12 because Paul Ryan was on the R ticket. But I would much prefer Obama ( or maybe say Mickey Mouse) over Donald Trump. What you euphemistically call manly is misogyny. A “MANLY” man treats women, all women with respect. For example I have no great admiration for our current first lady but you won’t hear me disparaging her.

              That you also have no concept of the meaning, purpose, or content of a sincere apology is not surprising. And by the way, you apologize, sincerely, for things that can’t be changed. You change things that can be.

              By the way, any new thoughts about Jr’s meeting now that it has been revealed that a former Soviet Intelligennce officer, and another as yet unnamed person attended? After Jr said that he had released absolutely every detail about the meeting.

            • I am really surprised at you. Here you are the true blue Yank and you didn’t even vote in the 2008 presidential election? I understand that you didn’t vote for the WEENIE O’Bugger and apparently can’t get yourself to vote for a Republican, but you could have voted for the Green party candidate. I am flabbergasted at your lack of civic duty!!!?

              Now we get to your euphemism for PROBE. Is this a pet name of yours for something that would be abhorrent to normal people? Am I to understand by this sketchy language that you may be a DOMINATRIX??

              Finally we get to your fascination with the Trump family. You are always finding this or that fault with our GREAT PRESIDENT, but I think that you secretly admire him. After all we all disparage what we can’t have or in this case be like.?

              Now we get to Jr. True he did a foolish thing in meeting with the Russian lawyer. After all who needs to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton. The woman is a walking, talking GARBAGE DUMP. By the way the unnamed person at that clandestine meeting was none other than the EASTER BUNNY!!!?

            • I misspoke about 2008, I voted the rest of the ticket, just as I always do. I requested a paper ballot and wrote in what I knew was not going to be counted. I wrote in a vote for Hillary Clinton. It was my choice to show support for her, and withhold my vote from both Obama and McCain, as I did not support either.

              As to the whole Trump family, you should keep right in those blinders you were wearing. That way when Trump and Pence are both removed from office and the rest of the family goes to jail, you can be surprised.

            • Ah, you are again going off on your flights of fancy. Both President Trump and VP Pence removed from office? Alas they will but that time will come when they both have to relinquish the presidency. Let’s see that will be 8 years for Donald J Trump and 8 years for Mike Pence. 16 consecutive years of Republican rule.?

              Of course followed by yet another Republican.?

            • Will they let him serve 4 terms? I thought after FDR the US put a two term limit on presidents. Are you showing the Republican side of yourself by wishing for a Republican to be president for 4 consecutive terms??

              You will get your wish in that Republicans will hold the presidency for at least 4 terms, perhaps more. But regardless of your desires, it will be President Trump for 8 years and then President Pence for another 8 years.?

            • No, I was going on the fantasies of most liberals. That of course is that the GREAT President Trump will be impeached. Just between you and me, that scenario will NEVER happen.?

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