I’m warning you now: If you don’t want to stay abreast of what went on with Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, now would be the time to avert your attention, because there are new details to discuss.
To begin with, Trump Jr. has hired attorney Alan Futerfas, as the story of his Trump Tower meeting has grown legs.
The latest revelation that came about Monday evening is that before setting up the meeting with Veselnitskaya, himself, Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, Trump Jr. received an email, informing him that the damaging information on Hillary Clinton that the lawyer had was coming straight from the Russian government, with the intent being to help Trump win.
That information came from three sources with knowledge of the email.
From the New York Times:
The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, but gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.
Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign. There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails.
This would go in line with other information received about a preference by Russia for Trump over Clinton.
At the time this all went down, Trump the Younger was an active surrogate for his dad. It was just after Trump had secured the Republican nomination.
This is been a quickly evolving picture of what went on in the earliest days of Trump’s candidacy.
Speaking of evolving, so has Trump Jr’s explanation.
He began by answering Saturday’s first breaking of the story saying he didn’t know who he’d be meeting, but it was about an adoption program. An adoption program that he needed Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort to be a part of, apparently.
By Sunday, he was meeting to get damaging intel on Hillary Clinton, but the meeting yielded nothing.
And by Monday, this.
Do you want to know how serious it is?
President Trump hasn’t tweeted about it. It’s apparently concerning enough that he doesn’t want to touch it. That’s saying something.
Trump Jr’s lawyer, however, has issued a statement:
“In my view, this is much ado about nothing. During this busy period, Robert Goldstone contacted Don Jr. in an email and suggested that people had information concerning alleged wrongdoing by Democratic Party front-runner, Hillary Clinton, in her dealings with Russia,” he told The Times in an email on Monday. “Don Jr.’s takeaway from this communication was that someone had information potentially helpful to the campaign and it was coming from someone he knew. Don Jr. had no knowledge as to what specific information, if any, would be discussed.”
It is unclear whether Mr. Goldstone had direct knowledge of the origin of the damaging material. One person who was briefed on the emails said it appeared that he was passing along information that had been passed through several others.
And let’s be clear: None of this is directly damaging to President Trump. This rests with those surrounding him.
The Senate Intelligence Committee have expressed an interest in interviewing Trump Jr., and it looks like that’s going to happen.
In the future, perhaps it should be common practice among those running for office, that when someone from a foreign government comes to them and says they have damaging information on an opponent, rather than set up a meeting – ALERT THE AUTHORITIES.
Just a thought.