Sunday’s New York Times delivered a fatal blow to the Trump campaign’s denials of collusion with Russia. Donald Trump’s namesake, Donald Jr, confirmed in a statement Saturday that he had met in June 2016 with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a laywer for the Kremlin. Accompanying him in the meeting were Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. Kushner, through his lawyer, corroborated the meeting while insisting he had previously disclosed it on security clearance applications. But he joined Manafort in refusing to comment on the latest revelation from the Times:
President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”
The news comes on the heels of the startling discovery that the trio had, during the meeting with Veselnitskaya, discussed lifting sanctions on Russia prior to the election. Everyone involved in the Trump campaign had previously denied ever having discussed sanctions. Whether it was intentional or not, Trump’s son revealed that this was not the case.
The divulging of the Trump campaign’s search for damaging information on Clinton is the first confirmation that not only were opposition leaks coming from Russia, but that Team Trump was willing to accept help from the Russians in their race for the White House. Whether Veselnitskaya delivered the damaging info or not is not known. From the Times:
It is unclear whether the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, actually produced the promised compromising information about Mrs. Clinton. But the people interviewed by The Times about the meeting said the expectation was that she would do so.”
In his own additional statement to the Times, Trump Jr confirmed that Veselnitskaya brought up Mrs. Clinton in the meeting, but that the conversation turned to the adoption program canceled by Vladimir Putin after the passage of sanctions against Russia.
It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.“
The Times reports that when the issue of the meeting was first raised, and indeed when Trump’s statement was reported, he made no mention of Hillary Clinton at all.
At this point, Donald Trump Jr. is either covering his ass or leaking like a sieve.
Maybe it’s both.
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