July 14th, 2017

How did the NY Times obtain Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?

The leak is assumed to have been a Trump insider. That makes a certain amount of sense, but I’m not at all sure.

The Times itself has given us a hint in its coverage, according to this:

The story — which the [Times] broke Sunday and reverberated Tuesday when Trump Jr. himself published the emails on Twitter — leaned on five unnamed sources confirming the existence of those emails. At least two of those came from inside the White House.

Speculation about the sources, especially if they are inside President Donald Trump’s close circle of advisers, added another element of drama to an already-frenzied political environment.

The article goes on to list some possibilities, but admits that none of them make a lot of sense because those with the motive didn’t have the opportunity and those with the opportunity didn’t have the motive. They range from Jared Kushner to Steve Bannon to the Russians to Mike Pence to Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski makes the most sense to me, because he was fired not long after those meetings and the scuttlebutt is that Trump Jr. didn’t like him and was instrumental in the firing. Corey strikes me as a possibly vindictive sort, but would he really want to take the chance of bringing Trump Sr. down, too? And how exactly would he have gained access to the emails? Did he go to Hire-a-Hacker?

The Times actually said more specific things about its sources, describing them as “three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.” The paper didn’t say whether one of those five actually showed them they emails, or whether they got them from another source. But this description indicates to me that the sources most likely were not actually present at the meeting, which would rule out Kushner and Manafort (neither of whom I thought were the sources anyway).

Of course, the Times could be lying about the description of its sources, but I think the words were vague enough that there would be no need to lie. For example, “two others with knowledge of it” could be just about anyone, including the Russians. The “two others” could even be hackers hired by the Times to get the emails at the Times’ request (so they might have gained their “knowledge” of it from the Times itself, if the Times is really trying to be cagey here). It’s those three “advisors” who had been “briefed” on the meeting whom I find more intriguing. Note that it doesn’t say “advisors at the White House,” so it seems to me they aren’t necessarily part of the staff there and may even be somewhat distant from the administration. “Advisors” covers a lot of possible territory and a lot of people. But it may not include Corey Lewandowski, who lost his “advising” position long before Trump ever got to the White House and should therefore have been designated as a “former advisor to Donald Trump.”

The wording of the Times’ description of the leakers is actually a bit odd. Why would advisors to the White House be briefed on the Trump Jr. meeting? It’s been a year since the meeting occurred; what possible reason could they have had to be briefed recently, before the story broke? Or were they briefed a long time ago—and if so, what reason would they have to disclose the information to the Times now?

I’ve come up with a theory. It’s not a great one, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment. I think the “advisors” may not be particularly close to the president. They may even be people who are in the positions they’re in as holdovers from a previous administration (such as the head of the FBI, who may or may not count as an “advisor” but after all he does report to the president). The context in which these people might have been “briefed” could have been as a result of the process of some of Trump’s aides getting security clearances.

This is what I’m talking about:

Manafort and Jared Kushner…each recently had to disclose the meeting to the feds, Kushner as a condition of his security clearance and Manafort to federal investigators probing the Russia matter.

If they did disclose the meeting to “the feds” (and which feds?) that opens up a lot of possible names of people who had been “briefed” on the fact that there was such a meeting, and many of those people wouldn’t have been Trump-friendly and could tell the Times. I’m not sure whether any of those people could be called “advisors to the White House,” but they’d certainly fall under the heading of “others with knowledge” of the meeting. Then, after the Times is informed of the existence of the meeting and the emails, the Times (or someone else at the behest of the Times or the of leakers) hacks the emails or gets access to them through intelligence sources friendly to the “Resistance.”

That last bit—gaining access to the emails once they were known to exist—may have taken some time. That could have accounted for the delay in the story.

If you have a better theory, feel free to offer it.

26 Responses to “How did the NY Times obtain Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?”

  1. Ray Says:

    Rush Limbaugh thinks it was the FBI because that would be who would receive the revised security clearance information.

  2. Yancey Ward Says:

    I think, by far, the most likely source will the one direction the NYTimes deliberately omits discussing in the articles- the special counsel’s office. It is possible that Comey is the leak here, too. It has been claimed that the reporters have had this information for almost a year and only now chose to write about it- if so, the Lewandowski does move to the top of the list.

  3. Paul in Boston Says:

    Unmasking! The Russian lawyer lady was in the US via some dodgy visa waiver provided by Loretta Lynch. She was also reported to be in contact with a number of Democrats. All that was required was to listen to her cell phone calls and later Don Jr. and whomever else was at the meeting. Voila, you can leak the secret recordings to the press if and when they become needed.

  4. Lizzy Says:

    Think it’s Obama holdovers, too.

    The journalist who wrote the story tweeted that he had been working on it for a year, so someone had leaked details to him about the meeting a year ago (i.e. could not be attributed to recent disclosures to the FBI). However, the journalist was crushed when Don Jr. tweeted the emails since he himself had been working so hard to get copies for his story.

  5. arfldgrs Says:

    Trump JR released the emails chain himself on teusday
    there is no there there..

    in fact he released them which ended anykind of game rom not seeing them

    and as far as having them from BEFORE he released it, well thats not to hard given the players involved. the whitehouse didnt have them, but one person did that had no problem doing it as an operative playing both sides agianst the middle

    the man who first contacted
    but do we forget that the lady involved did work with the same companies that did PEE Gate? and other things? or my post was missed on the details connecting the organizations and woman and MR. G

    I just find it hysterical that we ignore the spycraft as if it does nothing, doesnt work, sucks money and has no effect.

    THEN… 🙂

    Rinat Akhmetshin

    you guys are silly wondering how it leaked when there was a professional or few involved…

    Akhmetshin is a former Soviet counterintelligence officer

    Agalarov is a Russian pop star and the son of real estate billionaire Aras Agalarov, whose family is friendly with Trump’s. Emin Agalarov’s publicist, Rob Goldstone, set up the meeting with Trump Jr.

    [this not completely true, they are friendly since the beauty pageant, but professionals can hate each other and want to kill each other and the public will think their friends cause the public has lower executive functions on their self control and so, they dont believe others who have more can be like tht!]

  6. arfldgrs Says:

    on another note, our borders are just fine

    Two cartel gunmen fleeing from a raging gun battle with Mexican authorities ran through U.S. border security measures twice as they crossed into Texas and back; using their vehicle to ram barriers.

    The cartel gunmen were able to cross into Eagle Pass through International Bridge #2 by running the security checkpoints. Shortly after they crossed back through a second bridge that was closed at the time. The gunmen used their vehicle to ram security barriers and later ditched it escape on foot.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    As is obvious, the continued leaks from the W.H. are an indication that Trump has brought on board people whose world views fall generally into camps opposed and even hostile to each other.

    Broadly speaking, the internal struggle going on for dominance in influencing Trump has three components; his personal circle of relations, his professional establishment appointees and his civilian ‘experts’.

    What expertise do Kushner, Don Jr. and Ivanka bring to the table? None of course but presumably they do have Trump’s back, while most of the others have their own agenda.

    How effective can Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster be when they base their recommendations to Trump upon the premise that Islam is a religion of peace?

    How influential can Phares, Kelly and Bannon be when their advise is contradicted by Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster?

    Trump needs unanimity at the top but since Trump’s world view is instinctual rather than principled, it has resulted in a chaotic, unsustainable situation.

    This is NOT a business where everyone is oriented toward the bottom line.

    But what can’t go on, won’t go on. So at some point, there will be a house cleaning. However, it’s bound to be very messy with long term, negative effects.

    And all of this; the internal divisions around Trump, the media attacks, leftist ‘resistance’, GOPe passive-aggressive foot dragging… is reflective of a fractured electorate.

  8. J.J. Says:

    I’m beginning to think that the NYT’s sources may well be Russian influenced agents who are pushing the Russia collusion story. They have sources because they arranged any and all meetings that may have taken place, such as the Russian lawyer and Donald Jr. Using cutouts like Goldstone and other people who are willing to pass on “tips” sounds very much like old Soviet disinformation campaigns.

    When you get into a house of mirrors like this, it’s hard to tell who’s on what team.

    I’m convinced that the Steele dossier put the Obama White House into a frame of mind that they were onto something that they could use to destroy the GOP for a long time. That’s why they stepped up FISA warrants and unmasking on Trump’s campaign staff. That’s why they didn’t do much or say much about the Russian interference until after Trump won the election.

    Now the Russians are stirring the pot by leaks, which create more frenzy on the Democrat side. The media and the GOPe are both hoping something solid can be turned up that will take Trump down. It may well be much ado about nothing. Except that it is hamstringing the much needed work that needs to be done to get this country out of its economic malaise and on top of our international relationships.

    At least that’s my theory at this time. Awaiting more information.

  9. Dave Says:

    So basically Bill’s accusation of Kirshner and manafort never have had disclosed the meetings in any form was false. The meeting was never a secret.

    Does anyone has the same feeling as I do that this whole Russian collusion freakshow is one big game of gotchas. Someone in the Trump camp has once said he/she has never privately make contact with a russian, simply a quick denial that he/she has ever met a Russian official to discuss ways they can exchange favors. the liberals take the “has never met a russian” literally and accusing them of lying and proof of a coverup by producing some evident that this person of interest had in fact met with a Russian under normal circumstance so trivial and uneventful that anyone as busy as them would easily have forgotten. not exactly the case with Junior because this one is in fact a bit shady, but most of the other ones were kind of like that.

  10. AesopFan Says:

    J.J. Says:
    July 14th, 2017 at 4:31 pm
    I’m beginning to think that the NYT’s sources may well be Russian influenced agents who are pushing the Russia collusion story.
    * * *
    You mean the Times reporters may be talking to foreign nationals who have information that might be damaging to one of the parties in a US election, and haven’t taken it to the FBI to be investigated – that is the new bar isn’t it?

  11. Sean Says:

    Courtesy of gatewaypundit:


    As TGP reported earlier, the pro-Russian hacker site “Cyber Berkut” published links between the Ukrainian government and the Hillary Clinton Campaign Thursday.

    According to Cyber Berkut the Ukrainian foundation transferred 10 to 25 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

    A whistleblower provided a very damaging email showing that the Democrats were plotting to ‘manufacture false evidence of the Russian security services’ involvement in cyber attacks during the U.S. presidential elections 2016′.

  12. Sean Says:

    Cyber Berkut stated that they redacted the names in order not to expose their sources:

    “We cover the names of the provocation facilitators in order not to expose our sources. It is worth saying, a famous American politician and major financier took part in the plot.”

    Talk about foreign governments trying to undermine our democracy, Sessions needs to establish a department in the DOJ tasked specifically with bringing Soros down.

  13. AesopFan Says:

    An interesting idea from a kindred spirit among Steyn’s commenters.

    JasonC • Jul 10, 2017 at 00:24
    Let’s investigate every time any Democrat, ever, in any capacity, met with more than 15 minutes with any Mexican. Not Mexican officials, just any Mexican. Then let’s do the same for an Saudi, and any Iranian, and so on. Let’s track down every foreign national who ever talked to Hillary Clinton or John Podesta, on the phone or in person, about the weather or sports or the latest leading editorial, or anything else.

    Let’s criminalize talking to foreigners in the name of open borders and tolerance, shall we?

    * * *
    Works for me.

  14. J.J. Says:

    Aersopfan: “You mean the Times reporters may be talking to foreign nationals who have information that might be damaging to one of the parties in a US election,”

    I’m not accusing them of talking to foreign nationals. There are many pro-Russian actors in our government and media. In fact, as recently as 2014, one could claim that Barack Obama was a pro-Russian agent of influence as he did very little to push back against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, overt moves against eastern Ukraine, outright incursion into Syria, etc. Obama was most emphatic in his debate with Romney that Russia was no threat, when it seemed clear that Putin’s intentions were not exactly that of a partner in peace and cooperation.

    John Podesta has had quite a few business dealings in Russia. Hillary and Bill have done deals in Russia. There are many “friends of Russia” carrying American passports.

    It appears to me that the original intent was to bring Trump down. First by the GOPe and then the DNC. The narrative was that Trump was coopted by the Russians. When Trump won, they decided to go full bore on that narrative. The NYTs sources may be a bit like Comey’s friend who leaked his memos about conversations with Trump. They would be friends of people who are in the intel communities or Obama holdovers who are still hanging around in the administration.

    The Russian disinformation that Steele was fed for his dossier on Trump was probably intended to bring Trump down, but failed. So, the next best thing for Russia, and those who favor it, is to paralyze the government with an endless, fruitless fox hunt.

    I could be completely wrong, but why is this investigation going on endlessly? If Trump and company are truly colluders with Russia, why haven’t they (FBI, CIA, Justice Dept.) found something? They have unmasked phone calls between Russians and Trump people, they have e-mails, they have seemingly a lot of evidence but nothing that allows them to actually take any action against Trump. If Trump is coopted, we need to know it as quickly as possible. If not, this witch hunt needs to be terminated post haste so things can get back to normal.

  15. J.J. Says:

    Here’s a link to an essay by Scott McKay (American Spectator) who is thinking along the same lines as I am.

  16. Ymar Sakar Says:

    If the media are full idiots the Alt Right can stomp over like SJW butter cream, then what are they going to do about the Deep State, more tweets and EOs, is that going to kill off the masterminds.

    This war was always beyond the expectations and imaginations of the Alt Right, even back when it was just a bunch of community groups centered around pick up artists, Neural Linguistic Programming, and Alpha-Beta hierarchies.

  17. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The FBI took down Nixon. Trum’s going to have a slightly tougher task at hand “fighting” the Left than the “build the wall” bandwagon victory ride that people bought into, given how DC is the capital of evil in the Eastern seaboard of the US. And probably this entire continent.

  18. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    July 14th, 2017 at 4:07 pm
    As is obvious, the continued leaks from the W.H. are an indication that Trump has brought on board people whose world views fall generally into camps opposed and even hostile to each other.

    I told people that Trum could only trust his inner circle, his clan. Nobody else was safe enough, which is why I never guaranteed Trum would get to the White House to take power, alive. Nor that he would leave the White House alive. That wasn’t in the predictions I made.

  19. Ymar Sakar Says:

    When you get into a house of mirrors like this, it’s hard to tell who’s on what team.

    Might as well join the theorists that claim the Illuminati are controlling the Russians via the KGB connection, and had them assassinate various popes.

    The theory is always possibly true, but nobody can believe it, because that’s not part of the game.

  20. Dave Says:

    There was a strategy used by sun tzu’s grandson during the warring period of China that went like that – if your country is under attack by a foreign power, instead of sending all your troops to the borders to defend the invasion, send the force along with your allies’ to directly counter attack the capital of your enemy state, that will reduce the pressure at the borders by forcing the opposition to withdraw back to defend their own capital now it’s under siege. Attack Obama 24/7, that will force the msm to back off trump since now they need to defend Obama now.

  21. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Dave Says:
    July 15th, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Someone that actually understands Sun Tzu’s the Art of War enough to apply it to out of the box and out of the book practices. That is rare.

    Such mental flexibility is usually found in what Neo Neo calls “changers”. Those who have had to reject social world status quo beliefs in favor of some internal belief that changed, and yet did not change, their world view.

    The Russians and Communists, instead of directly defending against the invasion of Vietnam by the Republic of Vietnam + US forces, they directly attacked the heart and center of gravity of the US military system. The Capital.

  22. Ymar Sakar Says:

    JasonC • Jul 10, 2017 at 00:24
    Let’s investigate every time any Democrat, ever, in any capacity, met with more than 15 minutes with any Mexican.

    If wishes were fishes, then Americans would never have had to kneel down in front of King Hussein.

    It is because the Leftist alliance exists and Lucifer exists, that there is no such investigation, and never will be so, so long as the blocking armies exist. Destroy the armies first, if you wish to be free to maneuver. Otherwise, just talk and tweet and issue EOs. Which will never be carried out by the Deep State in DC, and anyone that tries, will end up in a body bag like Clinton’s bodyguard.

  23. The Other Chuck Says:

    For the average person out in the hinterlands of America, the ones struggling to make the rent or mortgage, car payments, buying cheap Walmart food, hoping like hell the price of gasoline doesn’t skyrocket, to that guy all this court intrigue about Russian influence and the focus on Europe and elsewhere is one big who the f*** cares nonsense get back to running the country and I don’t give a s*** what Trump’s trophy wife wears to the ball!

    Sorry, but like the rest of the people I interact with, I’ve turned off to the charade. What a farce, and what a farce of a president we have. As he would say, sad, very very sad.

  24. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The United States of America is already under a deep delusion of brain washing.

    There is no gateway out of this matrix, other than one path. It was always the Truth that was supposed to set you free, the 4th dimensional hypercube unfolded into 3 dimensions, making the cross.

  25. Frog Says:

    Clearly the Dem Resistance has established that to be Russian is to be evil, the Russian immigrants, Dem donors, on the Left Coast notwithstanding. It is a nice cover-up distraction, and it’s working. The very self-righteous and all-knowing Fox News dude, Shep Smith, is on board.

    I very much doubt our new FBI director will do any investigation of leaks. He is also self-righteous, and “independent” though in the chain of command of which Trump is the boss.

    We had a brief chance. That chance was blown to Hell. Thanks be to Ryan and the other lukewarm GOPers who are essentially globalist liberals depite the American flags in their lapels.

    It’s all downhill from here, baby.

  26. Ymar Sakar Says:

    It’s all downhill from here, baby.

    The idea that Trum was going to save the Republic was always pretty far fetched a fairy tale. It could happen, then again, Russia could beat the US in a war too.

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.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge