It’s my view that the stories about Donald Trump, Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer in the hope of obtaining negative information about Hillary Clinton or the Democratic party do not state a case of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Nor do they suggest wrongdoing on the part of Trump, Jr.
However, the stories do raise concerns of a different type. The first concern arises from Trump, Jr.’s shifting versions of what happened. First, he had no meetings with any Russians in connection with the campaign. Next, there was a meeting, but the purpose was to discuss adoption issues. Then, finally, there was a discussion about negative information regarding on Clinton or the Dems and this is what induced Trump, Jr. to have the meeting.
There might be an innocent explanation for the way the facts dribbled out, but it’s never a good thing when that happens. We were all over Hillary Clinton when her stories regarding the email server kept shifting.
It’s also concerning that in July of last year, Trump, Jr. dismissed suggestions that the Russians were attempting to aid his father’s campaign. He called them “disgusting” and “phony.”
Yet, a month earlier, he received, and acted upon, an email informing him that the “Crown Prosecutor of Russia” and his father had offered to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton, and that this was “part of the Russia government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
This email led to a meeting between Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer that occurred on June 9. At that meeting, according to Trump, Jr.’s account, the Russian lawyer had no coherent information to provide about Clinton or the Democrats.
If so, then in July, when Trump, Jr. ridiculed the Russian aid story, he could reasonably have believed that Russia wasn’t aiding the Trump campaign. But the fact that he had attended a meeting in the hope of obtaining Russian aid makes his characterization of the Russian aid story as “disgusting” seem disingenuous.
Evidently, the idea of Russia helping his father wasn’t disgusting enough to keep Trump, Jr. from fishing for Russian aid.
Again, based on the facts reported thus far, Trump, Jr. did nothing wrong, and certainly nothing criminal. However, Team Trump’s seeming lack of candor is troubling, and not just because it keeps the pot boiling.