It should come as no surprise that some of the people trying to defend Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-backed lawyer last year are concocting some rather absurd reasons why they feel that this is no big deal.
That being said, of all the asinine attempts to downplay the significance of this potentially treasonous act, nothing I’ve heard has been as stupid as two of the comments made by Donald Trump Jr. during his “interview” with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Here’s the first one:
In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently. This is before the ‘Russiamania,’ before they were building it up in the press. For me, this was opposition research.
Yeah, because on June 9th, hardly anyone knew Russia had hacked the DNC or John Podesta’s emails. The so-called “Russiamania” began a few weeks later when WikiLeaks began strategically dumping emails specifically meant to hurt Clinton’s campaign.
The date of this meeting was also before people knew his father’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, one of the individuals at this meeting, had worked for pro-Russia groups trying to undermine U.S. policy in Europe. As soon as that story broke — Manafort abruptly resigned.
That June 9th meeting also occurred before his father encouraged Russia to commit espionage against an American and had officials within his campaign remove anti-Russia rhetoric from the GOP’s platform at the party’s presidential convention.
It also occurred before Roger Stone, a longtime ally of his father, sent out a tweet that was obviously a threat aimed at Podesta, seemingly indicating that he knew WikiLeaks had his emails, weeks before anyone knew they had been hacked.
The meeting with the Kremlin-backed lawyer also happened months before WikiLeaks began dumping Podesta’s emails within hours of The Washington Post revealing that his father was caught bragging about being a sexual predator to Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush a while back.
So this excuse that the meeting took place before most people were talking about Russia doesn’t make a damn bit of sense considering, at the time it took place, the vast majority of people had no idea any of this had gone on.
To summarize what took place last year: The eldest son of Donald Trump agreed to meet with an official connected to the Kremlin, and adversary to the United States, under the guise that they were going to provide him “dirt on Clinton” as part of Vladimir Putin’s effort to help his father’s campaign — and he agreed to the meeting.
I don’t care if he claims the information wasn’t what they promised, his intent was to get information on the Clintons, provided by the Russian government, to help influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.
What the media was or wasn’t reporting on at the time has absolutely nothing to do with what was said and promised in these emails by these Russian officials, and that promise — to provide damaging information on the Clintons from Russia’s government — being the reason why Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting.
Then came this ridiculous comment:
Someone sent me an email. I can’t help what someone sends me.
Sure, that’s true, but using it as an excuse makes no damn sense whatsoever.
Had Trump Jr. received the initial email and completely ignored it, or even alerted U.S. intelligence officials about it, then it’s highly unlikely that I’m writing this article right now.
But he didn’t.
Instead, when he was contacted by a Kremlin-backed Russian lawyer promising dirt on an American presidential candidate, after they made it clear that it was part of Russia’s effort to help his father’s campaign, he said he “loved it” if they could provide the information they were promising — and arranged a meeting in Trump Tower with them.
The issue here isn’t a Russian agent working for Vladimir Putin contacting Donald Trump Jr. just after his father had clinched the GOP’s presidential nomination. In that regard, Trump Jr’s right in that he can’t help who emails him. The issue is that when he was sent these emails, he went along with what they were offering, then set up a meeting hoping to get information given to him by the Russian government after they made it clear they were offering “dirt on Clinton” and trying to help his father’s chances of winning the election.
What then followed was weeks of WikiLeaks strategically dumping the information Russia had hacked from the DNC and Podesta’s emails at times clearly meant to hurt or embarrass Clinton; Trump, practically on a daily basis, using the information from those emails to attack Clinton; WikiLeaks seemingly timing the start of one of their biggest dumps of Clinton’s emails to distract people within hours of the infamous Access Hollywood video; Russian and other trolls playing off of the WikiLeaks dumps to concoct all sorts of outlandish and awful fake news aimed at Clinton to spread on social media; Donald Trump frequently praising WikiLeaks, and Trump, to this day, still refusing to be remotely critical of Russia or Putin, while continuing to undermine the credibility of U.S. intelligence reports linking Russian hackers to the cyber attack on last year’s election.
As I’ve asked since this story first broke: If Trump’s oldest son, son-in-law, and campaign manager had no problem meeting with a Kremlin-backed lawyer who admitted that the dirt they had on Clinton was part of Russia’s desire to help his father’s campaign, then why wouldn’t they have been just as eager to work — or dare I say collude — with Russian hackers offering information, provided by the same source (Russia), for the very same goal?
If these are Donald Trump Jr.’s best two excuses he could come up with during a softball interview with one of his father’s biggest cheerleaders, that just proves to me how completely indefensible what he did was. Neither of those excuses made any sense or remotely addressed the real controversies about these emails and this meeting which are:
- The Kremlin-backed lawyer made it aware that they were working for the Russian government.
- It was clearly stated that the information they were promising was part of Russia’s efforts to help his father’s campaign.
- When he set up this meeting, regardless of what information he was given, his primary goal was to get, as initially promised, “dirt on Hillary Clinton.”
- He spent over a year concealing that the meeting took place and only spoke about any of this publicly after the media broke this story and was set to publish the emails.
- His setting up of a secret meeting under the guise of the Russian government providing damaging material on Hillary Clinton to help his father’s campaign is essentially the definition of collusion — one of the main accusations being levied against his father’s campaign and the crux of why many people feel Donald Trump committed treason last year on the way to “winning” the election.
While they’re certainly going to do their best, there’s no way Donald Trump, or anyone else, will be able to spin this as anything other than the most damning piece of evidence (thus far, anyway) that there was almost certainly collusion between his campaign and Russian officials during last year’s election.
Watch his comments below via Fox News:
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