And now, the Trump Tower transcripts

This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee released 2500 pages of hearing transcripts and related material on the infamous Trump Tower meeting of the Trump braintrust with Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. The material is all accessible online here.

I haven’t read the documents. Based on the first-take news accounts, however, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I infer there is nothing in them to refute President Trump’s denial of “collusion” in purported Russian efforts to assist in his election. I should think that would be the lede in the stories, but one must extract the point from reading between the lines…like readers of Pravda in the old Soviet Union, as a matter of fact.

The Wall Street Journal story on the release of the transcripts offers no news other than the release of the transcripts and an ominous statement of the meeting’s alleged purpose (“A Senate committee on Wednesday released thousands of pages of testimony concerning a 2016 meeting between representatives of Donald Trump and a group of Russians who promised incriminating information about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton”).

Politico extracts the botched public relations about the meeting once revealed (“Attorneys for Donald Trump Jr. sought to coordinate public statements for attendees of a June 2016 meeting between a Kremlin-connected lawyer and top Trump campaign aides after news broke of the controversial sitdown, according to transcripts released Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee”).

Perhaps these stories are just placeholders for the reporters until they are able to take a closer look at the transcripts, but I find my inference confirmed by the committee Democrats’ statement on the release (summarized and quoted by Politico):

The judiciary panel’s 10 Democrats, in their joint response to the transcript release, noted that interviews turned up signs of dejection among the Trump allies present about the meeting’s lack of more coherent negative material on Clinton. Goldstone described Kushner as “somewhat agitated” and “infuriate[d]” during the meeting’s presentation by Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

“The committee’s staff interviews reveal that top Trump campaign officials were frustrated and angry that the meeting did not produce enough damaging information on their opponent,” the 10 Judiciary Committee Democrats, led by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, wrote in their statement. “Their efforts to conceal the meeting and its true purpose are consistent with a larger pattern of false statements about the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia.”

Feinstein’s statement also has to be read as we might that of a muckety-muck of the old Soviet Union.

UPDATE: The New York Times has now posted its story on the documents and related 22-page report. I’m embedding the report below via Scribd so that readers can see it for themselves. It appears to me that one also needs to read between the lines of this document to understand it properly.

Preliminary Findings by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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