I want to add a few thoughts to Scott’s post about the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer who said she had damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The damaging information reportedly had to do with Russian funding of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton.
The main point I want to make is that there is nothing wrong with such a meeting and such discussions, though in this case the discussion is said never to have gotten off the ground because the Russian lawyer had nothing to offer. A campaign should never turn down the opportunity to be presented with adverse information about an opponent from any source, within the bounds of the law.
(Of course, if the Trump campaign had actually been colluding with the Russian government, it’s highly doubtful that it would have met with this lawyer in the hope of obtaining adverse information about Clinton. Russian intelligence presumably would have been supplying whatever info Russia had that Team Trump could use.)
A campaign’s only obligation is to view adverse information offered to it with skepticism and to reject the information if it can’t be verified or deals with matters that are not fair game. Evidence that the DNC and Hillary Clinton were taking money from the Russians — had such evidence existed — would have been fair game and then some. Indeed, evidence of this nature is the holy grail of the anti-Trump media crusade and the growing team of anti-Trumpers who work for Robert Mueller.
CNN would kill for such evidence. So would members of Clinton’s campaign team — in 2016 and even today.
Donald Trump, Jr. should have been all ears when the Russian lawyer made her claim. If she had been able to back it up, he should have used the information.
A problem would have arisen if the Trump team had promised to implement certain policies in exchange for the anti-Clinton information. But from all that appears at this point, the woman had no information helpful to the Trump campaign. Her claim that she did appears to have been designed to bring Trump, Jr. to the table to discuss something entirely different. Thus, there could not have been a deal, even assuming the Trump campaign might have been willing to make one.
The Trump-resisting media can’t have it both ways. It can’t be the case both that Russia interfering in our election is terrible and that Donald Trump, Jr. should not have listened to claims that Russia was interfering in our election.