July 11th, 2017

The “collusion” story marches on

[See ADDENDA below.]

There’s a lot of news about possible Trump-campaign collusion with the Russians.

Or is should that be “news” as well as “collusion”?

A great deal of it has to do with a NY Times report that Powerline’s Scott Johnson characterizes this way:

In today’s episode the Times reports that before Donald Trump, Jr. arranged a meeting with “a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.” The Times has posted related stories here on the pageant angle to provide context.

In today’s installment of the collusion comedy none of the four Times reporters has seen the email. The Times does not report that anything was delivered in the meeting. So far as we can tell from the story, the thing was some kind of a hoax…

There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer had damaging information to deliver. There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer delivered damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. asked the Russian lawyer to come back with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. would have promised the Russian lawyer anything if she had agreed to return with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. came away from the meeting with anything but disappointed expectations.

Is this some kind of a joke?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. I can assure everyone the Times does not mean it as a joke.

I’m with Jonah Goldberg (not known for his Trump fanship) on this:

…[T]he real reason I don’t write about the [collusion] story much: I just don’t know. There’s an investigation going on. It will produce its findings. Until then, my attitude is purely wait-and-see.

But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t be surprised by almost any finding by Robert Mueller. If he found no truly damning evidence of collusion, that wouldn’t surprise me at all. Nor would I be shocked if he found evidence of collusion. Sure, if he unearthed a videotape of Trump and Putin plotting their strategy over shvitz, I’d find that shocking. But you know what I mean…

It’s the same thing with this Donald Trump Jr. story. There were no meetings with Russians. Well there was that meeting about adoption with that Russian lawyer (attended by the campaign manager). Well, it was a meeting about opposition research that turned into a meeting about adoption, but I had no idea the Russian government was involved. Then the NYT reports last night about an email saying the meeting was pitched as part of a Russian-government operation. Then this morning the Russian lawyer says it was the Trump team that was desperate for Clinton dirt.

Now this story may end up being wrong, because shady Russian lawyers lie and the press screws stuff up a lot on this kind of thing too.

I think Goldberg is too kind to the press there. Some of what the press routinely does is “screwing stuff up,” some of it is knowingly lying, some of it is telling the truth, and a great deal of it is looking for dirt on Trump and being so eager to find it that the MSM will print anything it thinks will damage Trump, and spin it in the worst possible light.

But unfortunately for the Times, an awful lot of people (not just me, although I count myself among them) do not trust the Times and its spins—especially on the subject of Donald Trump.

On the latest Trump-collusion story, Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff (not ordinarily a Trump fan) adds:

So far…no evidence has emerged that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the computer hacking. And “so far” now means about a year.

Instead, we are told that President Trump’s son met with a Russian lawyer who is said to have “Kremlin ties.” Allegedly, he met with her after it was suggested to him that she had information damaging to Hillary Clinton and/or the Democrats. This is, as Scott says, the new meaning of collusion.

The problem is that there’s nothing wrong with a campaign operative meeting with a person, Kremlin ties or not, who may have adverse information on the opposing candidate or her party. You can call such a meaning “collusion” for effect if you like, but that’s taking liberties…

The Trump, Jr. story isn’t about collusion. So far, as Scott [Johnson] says, it’s about collusion comedy.

Ah, but you know what? Surprise, surprise; the anti-Trump forces aren’t laughing. They’re saying the usual this must mean something.

I doubt it—although (as Goldberg said) nothing would surprise me.

[ADDENDUM: I was going to add that I await the comments of Andrew C. McCarthy and Jonathan Turley on this (they’re the legal guys I trust the most on these topics), and sure enough, Turley has weighed in:

…[D]oes any of this constitute a clear crime or even a vague inkblot image of a crime?

No, at least not on these facts.

Richard Painter, an ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, has declared that the meeting “borders on treason.” Article III defines treason as “levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Trump Jr. went to a meeting on the belief that a lawyer had evidence of criminal collusion by Clinton with a foreign power. That is a rather curious basis for a charge of treason and would make traitors of countless campaign operatives…

MSNBC justice and security analyst Matthew Miller said Trump Jr. could now go to jail because “it doesn’t have to be money … it can be, potentially, accepting information. So he’s potentially confessing in his statement to committing a crime.”

Of course, the crux is “other thing of value.” Under this approach, a court would have to include information as a thing of value like money and then declare that Trump Jr. solicited the information by agreeing to go to the meeting. If that were the case, the wide array of meetings by politicians and their aides with foreign nationals would suddenly become possible criminal violations…

Consider the implications of such an unprecedented extension of the criminal code. The sharing of information — even possible criminal conduct by a leading political figure — would be treated the same as accepting cash. It would constitute a major threat to free speech, the free press and the right of association. It would also expose a broad spectrum of political speech to possible criminal prosecution.

Please read the whole thing.

My guess is that McCarthy will say essentially the same—but that won’t stop the baying hounds. There is no dearth of people—legal “experts” and otherwise—who are more than willing to twist the law with “unprecedented extensions of the criminal code” in order to get Donald Trump.]

[ADDENDUM II: More legal experts weigh in and agree that there’s no illegal violation here. See William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, as well as John Hinderaker at Powerline.

Professor Jacobson writes:

The emails [released by Donald Trump Jr.] show no actual evidence of “collusion” or illegality. There is nothing indicating the information to be offered was stolen or otherwise improperly obtained, or that other than being willing to listen, the Trump campaign was involved in how the information was obtained. To the contrary, the promised information was “official records and information.”

This also took place prior to the hack of the DNC being publicly known, so there was no reason to suspect that this was hacked information. Notice how the narrative has changed from the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians to “hack the election” to the Trump campaign being willing to have a meeting with someone who may have damaging oppo research.

And of course, there was no there there. There’s no indication any information actually existed.

Jacobson adds that Trump Jr. showed “incredible amateurishness in how this was handled.” This consisted of not doing it through “surrogates and allies…to provide key players with deniability and distance.” In addition, Professor Jacobson says that Trump Jr. didn’t show enough suspiciousness towards “someone who approaches with such a promise” of a tip. But Trump Jr. had actually written [emphasis mine] “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” That certainly shows some doubt and skepticism.

Jacobson adds:

Don’t think for a second the media or other Trump opponents actually care about the substance of Trump Jr.’s emails or meeting. If they actually cared about collusion with foreign governments, the January 2017 Politico report on actual collusion between Clinton allies and the Ukrainians would not have gone down the media memory hole.

My guess is that this won’t change any minds.

John Hinderaker writes:

…[T]he [released] emails support Trump Jr.’s statement that he attended the meeting because he had been told that the Russian with whom he would meet had negative information about Hillary Clinton…

This would obviously have been of great interest to the Trump campaign, and Trump, Jr. would have been foolish not to schedule the meeting. In one of the emails he says, “if it’s what you say I love it,” an entirely appropriate response that also showed an appropriate degree of skepticism. Trump may have assumed that the incriminating information would relate to the uranium transactions that are described in Clinton Cash, but there is no elaboration in the emails.

Second, someone in this chain is obviously lying, and it isn’t Donald Trump, Jr…Why any of these people would falsely claim to have dirt on Hillary is unclear…

…[O]nce again, the New York Times and the Washington Post have made fools of themselves by trying to fashion an anti-Trump news story out of entirely innocent materials.

I disagree on that last sentence. The papers believe they’ve struck pay dirt (of course, they always believe that, or hope that) and a lot of people concur with them. As I already said, I doubt this news will change many minds (although time will tell). But so far the story certainly hasn’t hurt the Times and the WaPo. They may be spinning the meaning and significance of the events wrongly (not that the left will ever see it that way). But this time they weren’t far off on the actual content of the emails. For the newspapers, this constitutes a rare victory.]

57 Responses to “The “collusion” story marches on”

  1. Oldflyer Says:

    Afraid I am a little dense here. To the best of my limited knowledge, Junior was a private citizen when this all allegedly took place. I know he was active in the campaign, but do not know whether he had a formal role. Does it matter?

    Back to the basic tenet. Private citizen. No one is charging that he divulged classified information, or took any action to undermine the U.S. Government. What is the relevant statue that is causing the heavy breathing on the Left?

    So, the basic question with regards to Junior is “so what?”.

    With regards to Russia and the Trump campaign, I really am not sure that the Democrats want to the electorate to take another look at the matter of dirty tricks to undermine an opponent, and unleash Bernie all over again. For that matter, there is ample evidence of BHO–while in office–sticking his nose into foreign election campaigns in one way or another. So far, there has been little said on that front; but, if this gets serious…

    This farce stinks to high heaven; and has for some time. Really time to bury the carcass.

  2. Richard Saunders Says:

    I’m trying to figure out how far the left can take this. “Donald Trump, Jr. seen eating at a Russian restaurant!” “Donald Trump, Jr. drinking a Stoli martini!” “Donald Trump, Jr. sharing a Charlotte Russ with his children!” “Donald Trump, Jr. ordering blintzes at Ratner’s!” “Donald Trump, Jr. seen on 47th Street shopping for a diamond necklace for his wife! From a Hassidic Jew! And everybody knows they originated in a village in Russia!”

  3. Big Maq Says:

    I like Goldberg’s take on it.

    But let’s not kid ourselves, if it were obama, and his family, would we have the same reaction? Or, would many (most?) of us be out for blood, assuming the worst?
    .

    Why mention this?

    Because there’s been way too much hype and far too much automatic defensive reflex – as Jonah Goldberg also says…

    “And this is why I marvel at the ability of some people to defend the White House every single day on this story. If there is one thing we’ve learned from this president, it’s that going too far out on a limb brings out the saw.

    What I just don’t understand is how conservatives can mock, scoff at, and ridicule the idea there might be some legs to this story when Donald Trump does everything he can to make it look like there might be a there there.”

    It all looks like blue vs red team.

    Eroding Credibility and Trust.
    .

    Even if there wasn’t anything illegal, there is enough factual pieces that, together, sets a rather uncomfortable picture – somewhat too pro putin/russian in stance and a little too loosey goosey with the propriety of communications and relationships.

    All this HAS to make one wonder if trump is really just that naive and sloppy, or if there is really more to it.

    Up to now, I’d have said no.

    BUT, there surely seems intent on JR’s (and his associates) part.

    We’ll see.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    I believe I would have had exactly the same take. I certainly didn’t always take part in anti-Obama feeding frenzies that seemed relatively unimportant. But I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to have any take on it at all, because the MSM wouldn’t be reporting it.

  5. parker Says:

    The premise that Putin wanted djt to win the election makes no sense to me. That is unless he wants our oil and gas boom to continue, our military to become more robust, and a Poland with a missle defence system.

    Clinton on the other is someone who has a history of making nice with the Putin regime. If the Putin regime actually hacked the DNC server, Podesta’s computer, etc it would be a valuable way to gain information to pressure her in the future. She would not favor our current energy abundance, beef up the military, or put a missle system in Poland.

  6. J.J. Says:

    The meme is: President Trump, his family, and his associates committed a crime. The crime has not yet been defined exactly but colluding with Russia will do until something else can be dug up, trotted out, run up the flagpole, or what ever.

    At the top of the progressive line of thought is always – Trump is guilty! This will not change. Even when the economy turns around, new/better healthcare insurance is a reality, and illegal immigration comes under control. Nothing he can do will change their minds. It’s what’s for dinner for the next three and a half years. It will take a strong stomach to endure it.

  7. Bill Says:

    Donald Trump Jr. knew the meeting was with someone representing Russia and that the Russian government had dirt on Hillary and that they wanted his dad to win. According to his own emails.

    Shortly thereafter Trump changes the GOP platform to loosen sanctions on Russia.

    And wikileaks does its part to help Trump win.

    And Trump has continued his support of Putin and publicly trashed his own intelligence agencies recently and declared the whole Russia meddling in our election issue a non-issue.

    Am I surprised that the usual suspects in my former (so, so former) party are now pretending like this is a (wait for it) “nothingburger”?

    No, I am not.

    Many of you may be OK with Russia jacking w our election process – not “hacking”, but meddling. I am not. And if Trump were, say, GWB or a similar man of honor I’d be more willing to give the 5,000th benefit of the doubt.

    But he’s not. He’s proven himself, time and again, to be a dishonest narcissist and I think the only defense he and his dumb progeny have is they’ve been raised in privilege and possibly didn’t realize that colluding w Russia is bad.

    None of this is surprising to me. And I’m just going to let the shills on the right, people I used to respect, keep shilling as they continue to sell their souls to the cult of Trump.

    I’m out. I’m pretty sure, now, that Trump himself was in on this stuff, if DJT Jr (a campaign operative, not just a “private citizen”) was in on it. Good chance DJT will wiggle out of this anyway, but that doesn’t make him innocent. Best case from my point of view is a President Pence.

  8. Dave Says:

    Don Jr sure is naive and sloppy, why did he waste his time on this nobody small potato when his father has a secret back channel to personally reach Putin?

    Don Jr is so amateurish that he didn’t know that He didn’t need to obtain the damning info on Hillary himself, he could just tell his dad to use his secret line to tell Putin to release those through Putin’s news outlet such as wikileaks.

  9. arfldgr Says:

    governmentium
    The heaviest chemical element yet known to science. Governmentium (Gv) has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

    In fact, Governmentium mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

    When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium–an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.
    “Oh my God–Don’t touch that!! It’s Governmentium. My cousin Sal drank some mixed with Tang when he was a kid, and now he’s a lawyer.”

    “Aiiighhhhh!!!!!”

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    I’m curious—where does Trump Jr. indicate that he knew the Russian government “wanted his dad to win”? I didn’t read all the emails, so it’s possible I missed this, but that’s the first allegation I’ve heard of such an admission by Trump Jr.

    By the way, Russia has been meddling in our elections for decades. Not that it’s a good thing—it’s certainly not. But it’s been going on for a long time.

    It is possible that Donald Trump Jr. ran everything he did by his father. It’s also possible that he did not. But what Jr. did is not illegal, although it (like so many many things in politics) is distasteful.

  11. expat Says:

    Putin is trying to work against the US, no matter who is in office. He may have thought he could fool around more easily with Trump, but he knows a lot more about Clinton cash that he could have used against he had she won. I bet he is loving seeing that even the BBC is making the Don Jr story their lead today. How much better to convince the Russians that democracy is isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. He probably considers it payback, not just for the Collapse of the USSR, but also for the treatment the country got during the Sochi Olympics. I bet he is also loving the trannie fad that is now overtaking the US.

  12. AesopFan Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    July 11th, 2017 at 3:44 pm
    Big Maq:

    I believe I would have had exactly the same take. I certainly didn’t always take part in anti-Obama feeding frenzies that seemed relatively unimportant. But I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to have any take on it at all, because the MSM wouldn’t be reporting it.

    * * *
    And, of course, Obama was colluding with Iran on all sorts of nefarious schemes, and much closer. to treason than anything Trump is even accused of.

  13. arfldgr Says:

    Clinton herself got $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation for allowing Russia to take over twenty percent of all uranium production in the U.S.

    John Podesta, is reaping the financial benefits of being on the board of a Russian company, Joule, which he did not disclose.

    look up Hillarycare, the monstrosity she designed behind closed doors when her husband was in the White House. Her plan would dictate who could go to medical school, what specialty they would “choose,” and where they would be compelled to practice. Her plan was the U.K.’s NHS on steroids. Her plan was rationed care and death panels from hell.

    Dr. Ben Carson, Trump’s Secretary of HUD has already uncovered $520 billion in fraud that occurred under Obama.

  14. huxley Says:

    The premise that Putin wanted djt to win the election makes no sense to me.

    parker: I can imagine a scenario in which Putin was not trying to help Trump but intending to damage Hillary in order to weaken her presidency.

    If most American analysts believed Hillary would win, why wouldn’t Putin?

  15. Manju Says:

    Bill:
    I’m curious—where does Trump Jr. indicate that he knew the Russian government “wanted his dad to win”?

    Neo, see here:

    Rob Goldstone: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump…”

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/11/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-email-text.html

  16. parker Says:

    huxley,

    I am certain Putin thought Clinton would win. I thought that right up to the end. Many people all ariund the world thought the same. My point is djt campaigned on on issues that were harmful to Mother Russia. Russia is between a rock and a hard place with the current orice of oil and gas,

    I can easily imagine Putin seeking more leverage over Clinton.

  17. Cornhead Says:

    Senator Tim Kaine alleged treason or something close to it. What a sleaze.

  18. Brian E Says:

    Shortly thereafter Trump changes the GOP platform to loosen sanctions on Russia.- Bill

    Actually, it did no such thing Bill. The platform change had nothing to do with sanctions.

    The wording was changed from “lethal defensive weapons” that was originally in the platform to an open-ended pledge to provide Ukraine with “appropriate assistance” in its fight against pro-Russian separatists.

    The Republican delegate who proposed adding the “lethal defensive weapons” language in an amendment told the Washington Examiner that she was fine with how the platform turned out on Russia.

    In fact, according to the delegate that proposed the original language, “The platform ended up tougher than it started,” said Diana Denman, a Texas delegate.

    The added paragraph from Denman’s amendment does not explicitly rule out providing weaponry to Ukraine.

    “We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored,” the platform declares. “We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.”

    The Obama administration refused to give weapons to the Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian separatists for years.

    In case you’re interested in some actual facts.

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/democrats-change-tune-on-lethal-aide-to-ukraine-to-help-case-against-trump/

  19. Brian E Says:

    Bill, it sounds like you’re spending too much time at the Huffington Post.

  20. Bill Says:

    Neo – some snippets from the emails. Donald Trump Jr. posted this on Twitter.

    Goldstone :”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…”

    DJTJr: “Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

  21. DNW Says:

    When a Democrat shouts “Treason!” the only response is to laugh in its face.

    The very idea! LOL

    As if there were any such thing as real moral or civic solidarity with the same organisms of the left which are existential enemies engaged in a slow motion assault on your freedom and life prospects, every other day of the week.

  22. Bill Says:

    Neo – it won’t matter what the emails say, of course.

    Brian E. I don’t read the Huffington post. I’m not a liberal. One of the cr@ppiest things about being a non Trump supporter is having my conservative bona-fides questioned by people who think Trump is a conservative. But believe what you want.

    You and other supporters keep asking why we would believe Trump colluded with the Russians. I would ask, why wouldn’t you believe that? There’s lots of circumstantial evidence, not least of which is the weird way so many Republican have become Putin fans and fans of Russia as they follow their leader who fawns over the dictator. Now there’s physical evidence.

    Has Trump ever struck you as the kind of guy who wouldn’t cut legal corners to get what he wants? Does he seem like a man driven by ethics? Does he seem like the type to have both understanding and interest in campaign laws?

    I’ve said all along that I didn’t think Trump colluded but that I did think that a) Russia meddled (that is pretty clear), b) that is a big deal and c) it was possible that one of the paragons of virtue working for him, manafort, Lewandewski, Stone, etc. might well have played some ball. I didn’t really expect it to be DJTJr and so now I’m questioning why I was giving Trump a pass.

    Believe what you want. But brace yourself – what I’m suggesting might be true. Look at the evidence.

  23. Richard Saunders Says:

    Richard: Bill, a friend of a friend of mine says that he knows a lawyer who knows somebody in the Martian government has some oppo info on Ming the Merciless! Will you take a meeting?

    Bill: Is she hot?

    Richard: So-so, but this is really good stuff!

    Bill: Okay, I’ll meet her.

    Richard: So, how did the meeting go?

    Bill: Total luuuser, man! All she wanted to talk about was adoptions of Rock People!

    NY Times, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, LA Times: BILL IS COLLUDING WITH MARTIAN GOVERNMENT!

  24. Bill Says:

    It will be interesting to watch the spin evolve. It used to be “there’s no evidence of collusion”. The emerging talking point is “collusion is not a crime”

  25. Big Maq Says:

    @huxley and parker – playing around with the Amercian psyche is all to putin’s advantage. Wouldn’t be surprising if any of these “revelations” come from a russian connected sources. But who knows?

    Maybe putin understood trump better than we did, and figured he could make a deal with him and screw him up at the same time, so it was a case of clinton he wins, trump America loses.

    I’d be very happy with the outcome so far, if I was putin. Looks like opportunity on the horizon, and, hey, what “fun!!!” to see all those “heads explode!”.

  26. Big Maq Says:

    @Neo – yes, you’d probably have a similar take.

    Many of the commenters here, probably not.

  27. Big Maq Says:

    As for the MSM not reporting it, and not having an opportunity to respond…

    Well, we have the “conservative” media who would.

    Heck, even obama’s birth certificate issue got a lot of airplay by the same. Plenty on Benghazi. IRS targeting. clinton emails. etc..

    We don’t seem to any longer be in an era where any controversial “secrets” can be kept under wraps for long.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    No.

    There actually IS no evidence of collusion. The most there is evidence for is an intent to receive perfectly legal information. “Collusion” does not refer to receiving information. Do newspapers “collude” with their sources?

    And “collusion” implies (to the layman, anyway) that there is a crime. There is no evidence of any crime.

    So it’s three things: no evidence of collusion, collusion is not a crime, and no evidence of any other crime. You call facts “spin”?

    I have no interest in spinning for Donald Trump. I have an interest in the truth, and I have some legal knowledge myself and rely on the analyses of people I respect. Both Jonathan Turley and Andrew McCarthy are not Trump supporters. Turley can’t stand Trump, actually. He’s not spinning for him and has no reason to do so.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    For the conservative media to have reported it, they would have to have had a cooperative anti-Obama source who was privy to the information to tell them about it. That source would have been far more difficult to find than the sources on which the MSM relies for its anti-Trump stories.

  30. Richard Saunders Says:

    Bill – just so it’s clear to evewn you:

  31. Richard Saunders Says:

    Bill – just so it’s clear to even you:

    THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION! THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    Those excerpts from the emails you posted express Goldstone’s belief that there would be some information forthcoming from the Russians to that effect. They do not indicate that Donald Jr. knew it was true that the Russians “wanted his dad to win,” or even that such information would be forthcoming. They mean he was interested in hearing it, IF it was as Goldstone reported.

    What’s more, Trump Jr’s words “if it’s what you say” are ambiguous. What is he referring to? Could be Russian support of Trump Sr., but it could just as easily refer to Hillary dirt. I happen to think the most logical conclusion is that he meant he’d “love” to hear some dirt on Hillary.

    Anyway, that’s all speculation. My point is that at no time in those emails does Donald Jr. indicate agreement with the idea that Russia favored his father. He doesn’t challenge it, either (except with that word “if”). He pretty much ignores it.

  33. n.n Says:

    So, the coup d’etat in Ukraine was a consensus effort, and the refugees… I mean, separatists, really? from the deposed democratically elected government were under a bipartisan threat. If anything, Obama acted to oppose escalation of this gratuitous violence, and the Russians were, as in Syria, in the right place at the right time.

    Well, that’s one reason for the acutely phobic opposition to what was effectively a second party candidate. I suppose the refugee crises were also a bipartisan effort to create an illusion of a clean war. And Obamacare? There is no way to control runaway costs of products and services. There is only progressive debt. At least until the Spanish, or Muslim, or perhaps Chinese fat lady sings.

  34. Manju Says:

    Mueller needs to ferret-out this “I love it especially later in the summer” line by DT Jr.

    For context, DT Jr is informed that there is “high level and sensitive information” about Hillary that “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump…”

    He is then asked: “What do you think is the best way to handle this information.”

    So “later in the summer” sounds like a suggestion as to when to release said info. Alternatively, it could be in reference to the meeting, but that appears to take place rather soon after.

    So was there a wikileak drop or something later in the summer?

  35. Bill Says:

    Neo

    I’m interested in the truth too. I’m keenly interested in the truth in a world where now it’s really hard to get to.

    Is it normal for a campaign to meet with representatives of a foreign government to get oppo research? Honest questionm

    Here’s what I call Collusion. I don’t know if this is legal or not, but I don’t like it: a foreign government is hacking one of the parties servers and providing oppo research via Twitter bots and trolls and leaks and etc for the express purpose of, at the minimum, reducing confidence in the American electoral system and introducing mayhem into the Aftermath. By all appearances they appear to be trying to help one of the candidates and he certainly seems to be returning the favor. Ironically, in the past it was the other party that was usually the apologists for this particular foreign government. Weird. The son of the candidate who stands to benefit meets with representatives of this foreign government in order to gain advantage over their adversary. The conversation over email seems to indicate at leaat the opinion of one party that this govt intends to help his dad get elected. Rather than, say, notify the FBI he says “I love it!” and goes to the meeting.

    It certainly appears that something like that happened. But, as I said up thread, it won’t matter to most and I realize most of you disagree with me. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

    The shoe being on the other foot (say Podesta met with Russians to discuss dirt they had on Trump) most Republicans would have lost their minds, especially if he lost.

    But that also is neither here nor there. Trump isn’t the victim here. He’s guilty, at the least, of peeing away any electoral advantage he had on stupid controversies, being Incredibly unskilled in media management (contrary to all the 4D chess people), and I think it’s more and more apparent that most of you can kiss your favored legislative wins goodbye if he doesn’t turn things around enough for a congressional hold in 2018. I don’t think he’s got enough political capital to make that happen, but I suck at political prognostication. The judicial appointments are nice at least.

  36. Oldflyer Says:

    I would just like to go on the record with Bill, that I support Donald Trump because he is the elected President of the United States. I will not label him as Conservative, Liberal, or anything else. I do believe that his policies so far support the same agenda that I would support. I also believe that his Judge and Justice appointments are extremely important, and so far, they have been stellar.

    So, why not talking about Trump supporters as though we were all a bunch of ignorant deplorables?

    Big Maq, as usual, you seem ready to jump on anything negative, whether it is supported by fact, or is even relevant.

    I would like to suggest something. The fact that Trump Jr is publicly releasing the contents of his emails, seems to suggest that the does not think there is a serious issue. I say that while also assuming that he has the best legal advice that money can buy.

    But, back to my original post. Can anyone verify the status of Trump Jr when this took place? We know he was a private citizen, and presumably had the right to speak to anyone, unless he was an official in the campaign. In that case there may–or may not– be issues; but, no one has clarified that point.

  37. Manju Says:

    I would like to suggest something. The fact that Trump Jr is publicly releasing the contents of his emails, seems to suggest that the does not think there is a serious issue.

    He released them only after learning that the NYTimes was about to release them. This suggests that he wanted to create the appearance that he was being transparent, when in reality his hand was forced.

    The emails also contradict his original story (that the meeting was about orphans / adoptions) not to mention the larger story that the Trump Campaign had not met with any Russian government representatives during the election. Add the fact that Kushner was present but did not disclose the meeting as legally required until recently and it looks like they have something to hide.

  38. Big Maq Says:

    “The fact that Trump Jr is publicly releasing the contents of his emails, seems to suggest that the does not think there is a serious issue.” – Oldflyer

    Might be a credible argument if he didn’t lie to begin with. Why would he, if he truly didn’t think there was a serious issue?
    .

    “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.”
    https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/transcript-trump-jr-russia-meeting-190256836.html

    If he didn’t see a bright line here that is being crossed, then he is either foolish or is so ethically challenged that it never registers that it could be an issue.

    Bringing the campaign manager and another campaign advisor with him, really challenges the “private citizen” narrative.

    Nothing illegal may have transpired, or may not be provable, but why get that close to begin with?
    .

    I still cannot get around the sense that if this were obama, commenters here would be apoplectic about it.

    Would any of us buy the line of argumentation being proferred if it was obama?

    If not, why do we now?

    Nobody is an “ignorant deplorable”, but there is something we call people who get their panties in a twist when someone we don’t favor does something we don’t like, but don’t hold their own to the same standard.

    Then we wonder why the “left won’t listen or won’t debate”.

    We don’t even walk our talk!
    .

    What I advocate is to quit with the automatic “no there there” defense, and let the investigation take its course.

    Let the chips fall where they may.

    If there really is nothing there, the dems and the msm hyping it all will look the fools and lose their credibility.

    Unless, of course, the truth is otherwise.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    I think you may be misinterpreting people’s attitudes on the right.

    I don’t think anyone is happy or approving, or a big fan of Donald Jr. And if Obama had done the same, I don’t think they’d be happy or approving, either.

    But I don’t think most people would be imagining there was a crime when none existed. And the MSM wouldn’t be even covering the case, and if they were they’d be excusing Obama (or Obama’s associate and/or relative, because that would be a better analogy, because although Trump Jr. certainly campaigned for his father I don’t think he had any official position or title). So the right might be fuming, but it would be impotent fuming.

    I would chalk it up to nasty politics, just as I do the Trump Jr. episode, but no crime and not even “collusion.”

    But the situation now is that the MSM is treating this as a terrible crime, trying to trap both Donald Jr. and Donald Sr. in collusion or treason. Preposterous. People are defending Trump from that, for the most part.

    Of course, if Obama’s relative or aides had done what Trump Jr. did, (or, to use a better analogy, if Chelsea Clinton had done it), there would probably be some subset of people on the right thinking it was a crime. But I don’t think that would be true of the majority of people here.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    Big Maq:

    By the way, there is no “crown prosecutor” in Russia. Goldstone is originally from Britain, and there is one in Britain. But no one knows who he’s referring to here.

  41. Bill Says:

    Oldflyer,

    I don’t think you are ignorant or deplorable (I hate that term.)

    I think you’re the salt of the earth and our country could use more people like you.

    Seriously. I express my frustration at times because I’m pretty frustrated. But I apologize if it came across as personal. That’s not my intent.

    If we were all in a bar drinking our favorite beverage and eating bacon wrapped jalapeños instead of on the internet I think a lot more communication would happen.

    Then again, some of you might enjoy punching me in the face 🙂

    Peace.

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    Manju:

    The emails do not contradict Trump’s story that the meeting was about orphans. That was indeed the main topic of the meeting:

    Trump Jr. said that he agreed to meet the lawyer at Trump Tower after she promised damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton but that it quickly became clear she had no useful information and really was there to lobby against the Magnitsky Act (which concerned the orphans).

    The Kremlin denied knowing Veselnitskaya.

    “We cannot track down all movements of all Russian lawyers, both within Russia and abroad,” said Dmitry Peskov, the official Kremlin spokesman.

    Veselnitskaya spoke to NBC News about the meeting, saying it was never her intention to hand over damaging information about Clinton.

  43. Dave Says:

    Imagine if a precedent has established that a president is impeachable because the email account of an associate of his/her opponent was hacked during the general election, imagine the implications: in the next election all candidates would race to fabricate a fake hacking incident against themselves to be the first to establish themselves as a victim of foreign hacking to establish a cause to impeach whoever would win the next election.

    The collusion in the next election would be whoever colluding with putin would ask putin to hack his/her account to establish a cause to disqualify the other candidate.

    It is stupid to reward someone just because she claimed she was a victim of a hacking incident since a meticulous hacking by the Russians had not even been proven, she refused to hand over the server to the FBI for further examination (what did they have to hide?), and faking an email leak is so easy (what if it was the Hillary camp who leaked their emails to establish a trump/putin connection?)

  44. parker Says:

    Not a Trump fan. His character is indeed questionable, his behavior is often boorish. So what? Is djt the first time we’ve had a POTUS with a questionable character or of boorish behavior? Seriously, are those of you who rush to support the Russian meme so ignorant of history? So ill informed of the ‘progressive’ MO to not realize we have all been here before?

    Please provide evidence, not msm talking points. And stop following the McCain agenda if you want to be considered ‘conservative’.

  45. Ann Says:

    Here’s The Atlantic on that “Crown prosecutor”:

    Goldstone seems to have garbled things a bit; in the United Kingdom a Crown prosecutor is one that works for the Crown, i.e., a federal prosecutor. There’s no such position in Russia technically, but the analogue would be the top federal prosecutor of Russia, and that is Yury Chaika, the prosecutor-general of the Russian Federation. Goldstone was likely translating a foreign title into its local equivalent. Translated into American titles, Chaika could be referred to as Russia’s attorney general.

    Like the U.S. attorney general, the Russian prosecutor general is a figure politically close to the president. In Russia, that is especially true. Chaika has been extremely loyal to Putin, and stayed that way even as Putin reduced the power of the prosecutor’s office in the late aughts.

  46. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann:

    But no one is alleged to have met with that person or have planned to meet with that person, so I don’t think it’s relevant. I don’t think Trump Jr. knew any of those facts, and I haven’t seen anything explaining whether he knew the identity of the person he was to actually meet, who turned out to be a woman named Veselnitskaya, who was certainly not a Crown Prosecutor or in any official position even remotely like that.

    You know, we’re parsing these emails very carefully looking for clues. But my guess is that Trump Jr. found them to be among many thousands he was fielding at the time, and just thought something like, “Oh, Goldstone is saying there might be some Russian lawyer with dirt on Hillary.” That may have been the sum total of the details he knew about the meeting he agreed to. If so, that’s one of the ways in which he was careless. It’s also not at all clear he ran any of this by his father. He may have, or he may not have. No one has addressed that issue.

  47. Dave Says:

    Many of these so called crimes committed by trump and his relatives were mostly political amateurish careless mistakes. People wanted a non politician outsider for president and voted for djt for exactly that, then of course a non-politician is going to make non politician mistakes due to not fully understanding the taboos of politics. doesn’t going after an outsider president’s amateur mistakes equivalent to punishing trump for being an outsider which is directly against the people’s wish to have an outsider president?

  48. Dave Says:

    Trump needs to go on offense, how about making a suggestion through twitter that any politician who had met with a Russian in the last two years must resign, see how many democrats and rino left in the congress after that

  49. Manju Says:

    The emails do not contradict Trump’s story that the meeting was about orphans. That was indeed the main topic of the meeting:

    Neo…his first version of events left out material facts: that the purported reason for the meeting was to share “high level and sensitive information” about Hillary that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump…”

    Any investigator would see deception here.

    We also don’t know that orphans were the main topic. We only know that Trump Jr said they were. After all, he’s not exactly being transparent unless his hand is forced.

    I wonder who gave the NYTimes the e-mails. Bannon? Kelly-Anne?

  50. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I thought Trum’s tweets distracted the media from attacking.

  51. Bill Says:

    Well, one of the really frustrating things about the Trump era is everything is a distraction. Remember North Korea? They may have ICBM capabilities. So last week… Remember Ukraine? The issue of Russia having tanks in Crimea hasn’t gone away. Terrorism? Deteriorating race relations?

    None of these things have gone away. They are just continuously pushed off the front page by Trump’s Twitter squirrels or stories like this (I happen to think this is an important story. But still)

  52. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Everything is a distraction when people pay attention to the journo list aristos they call “the press” or the media or the main sewer propaganda or tv or newspapers like the NYTimes.

    When people firewall off it all, go to the wilderness and meditate/pray under a waterfall, that isn’t really a distraction any more.

  53. Brian E Says:

    Bill,

    Just because the MSM isn’t covering issues, doesn’t mean they aren’t being dealt with.

    And if the MSM were talking about Crimea or Ukraine, would you be able to believe what they write?

    President Trump has assembled, for the most part, a very competent administration. EPA, HUD, Education, State, Energy, the list goes on.

    What, we’re going to use our energy resources as a strategic weapon? What a clever idea. I wonder why the party that tried to destroy fossil fuel production didn’t think of that!

    Our energy policy of offering Europe cheap LNG will do much to contain Russia and other oligarchs, more so than just projecting military strength.

    Your initial post in this thread, read like the talking points from a liberal site– hence the reference to Huff Post.

    I showed you how you were mistaken about the GOP platform and the insinuation that it was quid pro quo.

    Quite the opposite, it was a sign of leadership. No president wants to be locked into a specific policy in foreign affairs, especially militarily. Remember, President Trump follows the adage of Teddy Roosevelt, “speak softly and carry a big stick”.

    Go ahead and be critical of President Trump if you must, but for the most part, his agenda has been conservative and so far the results pretty impressive.

  54. Big Maq Says:

    “Of course, if Obama’s relative or aides had done what Trump Jr. did, (or, to use a better analogy, if Chelsea Clinton had done it), there would probably be some subset of people on the right thinking it was a crime. But I don’t think that would be true of the majority of people here.” – Neo

    This is where we disagree. There are plenty of people here who see nothing wrong with this.

    Nothing illegal here, some say. Well, we know very well that many of the same folks are frustrated with the the same kind of “legal” reasoning of right and wrong on the left.

    Nothing illegal with the AG meeting with bill clinton on the tar mac. Hey, “where’s the proof?”

    These are the same people who probably chant “drain the swamp!”.

  55. Big Maq Says:

    At the end of the day, it is not merely that trump is of questionable character or acting boorish.

    We don’t have to agree with the left’s hyped up take (gosh NO!), but are we really helping ourselves by automatically backing trump for all that is questionable to begin with, by pretending there is “nothing there”, relying on trump / WH legalese to worm out of any consequence?

    Seems to me throwing this kind of blind support time after time behind trump is feeding into the frenzy, rather than calming it down. It adds to a cumulative effect.

    The harder the addict denys any problem, the harder interested folks try to make them see it.

    Is this true for everyone here? NO. But it is for many.

    In the end, we get frustrated with “the left” and their behavior, yet, we cannot even walk or own talk.

    What are we really “winning!!!” by going this route?

  56. AesopFan Says:

    Big Maq Says:
    July 12th, 2017 at 11:47 am
    “Is this true for everyone here? NO. But it is for many.”
    * *
    Maybe we should take a poll.
    Or, Neo could add something to the submit button like the “I am not a robot” thingies. No one would be allowed to comment unless they checked off their position on the topic.
    IF you could make a comprehensive all-inclusive list of said positions on every topic.
    AND if she monitored to make sure no one made remarks about a different topic.

    Then we would know exactly how many is “many” – except for the lurkers. And the liars. And the ornery blokes who would check the wrong box just for the hell of it.

    Other than that, it would work.

  57. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Nothing illegal with the AG meeting with bill clinton on the tar mac. Hey, “where’s the proof?”

    Benghazi, Waco 2, IRS targeting civilians, are more like conspiracy theories than people want to think.

    The conspiracy guys always reply to the accusation “So if there is this grand conspiracy of elites that are so numerous everybody and their uncle would have found out, then where is the proof?”

    The reply is usually “they deleted the proof or they killed off the witnesses or they deleted the phones or they hijacked and fired the servers”

    Coincidentally, that happens to be the same excuse people have for why Trum hasn’t put HRC in jail yet. There is no proof.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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