Today in collusion

It’s been all quiet on the mainstream media’s “collusion” front since Shane Harris’s laughable Wall Street Journal’s articles last Friday and Saturday. Andrew McCarthy took up Harris’s contribution in “‘Collusion’ as farce: The hunt for Hillary’s hackers.” You have to wonder if anyone on the news side of the Journal is capable of embarrassment.

Today, however, the New York Times mounts another offensive on the “collusion” front. Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman report: “Trump Team met with lawyer linked to Kremlin during campaign.” The inanity of the article is difficult to capture without full immersion.

On June 9, 2016, a meeting was held in Trump Tower. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attended the meetng. They met “with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.” The Russian lawyer is identified as Natalia Veselnitskaya, “best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act[.]”

So what did they talk about? As described to the Times, the confidential government records apparently don’t say. The article also transforms those “confidential government records” into “documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.” So where is the good stuff? “People familiar with [the documents” didn’t have any.

“In a statement,” however, “Donald Jr. described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program. The statement did not address whether the presidential campaign was discussed.” As I say, neither did the Times’s friends with confidential records.

The Times would really have a story here if they had a story. As it is, they are like geezers masticating their gums with their dentures removed. At great length. They won’t shut up. They want to review the greatest hits of days gone by. It’s almost funny.

In his statement, Donald Trump, Jr. said: “It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.”

He added: “I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”

After the story was first posted online yesterday, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer noted that the Times may not have gotten the full story from its friends familiar with documents. The story now adds an unfunny complication:

Late Saturday, Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the president’s lawyer, issued a statement implying that the meeting was a setup. Ms. Veselnitskaya and the translator who accompanied her to the meeting “misrepresented who they were,” it said.

In an interview, Mr. Corallo explained that Ms. Veselnitskaya, in her anti-Magnitsky campaign, employs a private investigator whose firm, Fusion GPS, produced an intelligence dossier that contained unproven allegations against the president. In a statement, the firm said, “Fusion GPS learned about this meeting from news reports and had no prior knowledge of it. Any claim that Fusion GPS arranged or facilitated this meeting in any way is false.”

Sara Carter and John Solomon expand on the backstory here at Circa. They write:

The president’s legal team said Saturday they believe the entire meeting may have been part of a larger election-year opposition effort aimed at creating the appearance of improper connections between Trump family members and Russia that also included a now-discredited intelligence dossier produced by a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele who worked for a U.S. political firm known as Fusion GPS.

“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team. “Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the President and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier. ”

“These developments raise serious issues as to exactly who authorized and participated in any effort by Russian nationals to influence our election in any manner,” Corallo said.

Who sought the meeting? Someone is apparently saving that for tomorrow in “collusion.”

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