Posted by Curt on 13 July, 2017 at 11:15 am. 1 comment.



President Trump’s critics claim to have uncovered proof, finally, of 2016 collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin. Another reading of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a well-connected Russian lawyer is, well, political farce.

In June 2016, Mr. Trump Jr. arranged an appointment in Trump Tower with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. He said in a statement that he hoped to acquire opposition research about Hillary Clinton, and he even pulled in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and then campaign manager Paul Manafort. By Mr. Trump Jr.’s account, Ms. Veselnitskaya relayed nothing to compromise Mrs. Clinton and then lobbied him about the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 U.S. law that sanctions Russian human-rights abusers.

According to the emails that Mr. Trump Jr. released Tuesday, Mr. Trump Jr. agreed to meet with Ms. Veselnitskaya after he was approached by Rob Goldstone, a publicist who offered to pass along “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” He wrote that this information “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

The appropriate response from a political competent would have been to alert the FBI if a cut-out promised material supplied by a foreign government. Mr. Trump Jr. instead replied that “if it’s what you say I love it.”

Then again, the Trumps knew Mr. Goldstone through the Russian pop star Emin, aka Emin Agalarov, whose father partnered with Donald Trump Sr. in bringing the Miss Universe beauty pageant to Moscow in 2013. Mr. Trump Sr. appeared in a music video with Emin the same year. Mr. Goldstone said that “Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting”—info his father got from the “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” Russia’s “Crown prosecutor” doesn’t exist.

Mr. Trump Jr. responded that “perhaps I just speak to Emin first.” Mr. Goldstone brokered the call, reporting that “Ok he’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 Minutes so I am sure can call.” Subsequent messages show Emin asked Mr. Trump Jr. to meet with Ms. Veselnitskaya, who was well-known as an anti-Magnitsky operative at the time. Mr. Goldstone publicly checked into Trump Tower on Facebook during the meeting, which isn’t how a KGB man would normally conceal the handoff of state secrets.

In the daisy chain from Russian oligarch to singer to PR go-between to lawyer to Trump scion, which is more plausible? That Don Jr. was canny enough to coordinate a global plot to rig the election but not canny enough to notice that this plot was detailed in his personal emails? Or that some Russians took advantage of a political naif named Trump in an unsuccessful bid to undermine the Magnitsky law they hated?

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