We’ve written frequently about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting of Donald Trump, Jr. and campaign officials with the connected Russian lawyer Natalia V. Anyone who bothered to read the transcript of Glenn Simpson’s testimony and absorb its contents would have been left with deep suspicions about the meeting. The Russian lawyer met with Simpson before and after the meeting for some reason or other. Lee Smith put the pieces of the puzzle together in an excellent RealClearPolitics investigative piece suggesting that the meeting was a setup.
Eric Felten took a close look at the public statements about the meeting by the Trump team once it became public. He asked: “Will Don Jr. be left holding the bag?” Read together with Lee Smith’s piece, we might infer that what we have here is a case study in the coverup aggravating the non-crime (and distracting attention from the real perpetrators).
With timely contributions by Rep. Adam Schiff, CNN has contributed enough heavy breathing on the meeting to warm the planet. Now comes word via the Center on National Security/Soufan Group Morning Brief, however, that phone records have clarified the mystery calls around Trump Tower meeting. Senate investigators have records indicating that Trump, Jr.’s phone calls ahead of the meeting were not with his father. Records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee show the calls were between Trump Jr. and two of his business associates; they contradict Schiff’s frequently voiced assertion that a call with a number blocked likely came from then-candidate Donald Trump.
Trump Jr. has testified privately that he could not recall who had used the blocked numbers. Senate investigators reportedly have phone records showing that he spoke with two family friends—Brian France, the chief executive of Nascar, and Howard Lorber, who had significant investments in Russia and traveled to Moscow in 1996 with President Trump as they considered building a Trump Tower there—as the meeting was set up.
Has anyone heard from Adam Schiff?
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 1, 2019
NewsBusters observes that CNN is devastated by this particular development in the investigation (video below). You can rest assured, however, that the setback is only temporary.