The Jury Talks Back

7/11/2017

Confirmed: Trump Jr. Was Told Hoped-for Dirt Was Coming from Russian Government

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 4:45 pm

Well, well. The recent @FAKENEWS!! from the New York Times — claiming that Trump Jr. was told that the hoped-for dirt on Hillary was coming from the Russian government — turns out to be more accurate than the denials by people with names. How do we know? Because Jr. himself tweeted out the emails telling him that. His response to the claim that the Russian government had dirt on Hillary? “I love it.”

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If the future president’s eldest son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.

He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

The emails can be read in their entirety here.

This does not show collusion, of course. It appears to remain true that the meeting did not immediately result in usable information. It may, however, have been a feeler put out by the Russians to see if the Trump campaign was interested in getting dirt on Hillary from the Russian government. Jr.’s “I love it” response suggests that the message was a loud and clear “yes.”

The Trump administration and its hack defenders are now claiming that Trump Jr. was “transparent” in releasing the emails himself. Um, except that the New York Times was about to release them and he knew it. “Since you’re about to release it, I guess I will” is the New Model of Transparency in Trump Propagandaland.

Andrew Breitbart used to dribble out damaging information a little bit at a time, to see if his targets would lie, based on a false assumption that he had nothing else. It was a great technique — and Andrew used it to catch liars like Anthony Weiner with their pants down, both figuratively and sometimes literally.

I wonder if the New York Times learned something from him.

17 Comments »

  1. Hillary wasn’t just a women running for President, she was a former Secretary of State, US Senator, and First Lady. Upon learning that an enemy state has information that could be used to blackmail or even just derail her candidacy the true patriot would have informed the FBI, not knowingly setup a meeting to become an accessory.

    I’m unsure about the illegality of such a meeting, or the information promised, but at the very least this whole episode underscores how this family, like the Clintons, care only about winning at all costs. They, again like the Clintons, can not be trusted.

    Comment by Sean — 7/11/2017 @ 5:41 pm

  2. I agree, Sean. Politics is a dirty business and it attracts people who like to play dirty.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/11/2017 @ 6:48 pm

  3. So Trump, Jr., was willing to go hear what somebody he thought (assuming he did) was speaking for the Russians had to say about dirt on Hillary.

    And got nothing.

    So far, aside from exposing Trump Jr. as inept, and perhaps incompetent, what exactly is the big deal here? Even if he’d been given actual dirt and used it, and the lawyer turned out to be Putin in drag, that’s not a crime.

    What would be a crime (or at least collusion) is if something had been offered in exchange.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/11/2017 @ 7:46 pm

  4. Can you give me a definition of “collusion” that requires a quid pro quo and excludes a secret meeting with a foreign power most consider an enemy or our biggest threat (as Mattis says) to get information for a political campaign?

    I see a lot of people say what you are saying but litte analysis to back it up, so I am challenging you.

    Comment by Patterico — 7/11/2017 @ 7:49 pm

  5. Most American politicians are careful about foreign contacts because election laws prohivit foreign contributions to campaigns. There is some evidence that Trump was careless about those rules during his campaign. In addition, is providing opposition research a campaign contribution? If so, that might violate election laws:

    The Prohibition

    The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

    Who is a Foreign National?

    The following groups and individuals are considered “foreign nationals” and are, therefore, subject to the prohibition:
    Foreign governments;
    Foreign political parties;
    Foreign corporations;
    Foreign associations;
    Foreign partnerships;
    Individuals with foreign citizenship; and
    Immigrants who do not have a “green card.”

    Comment by DRJ — 7/11/2017 @ 8:01 pm

  6. It looks like the contributions must be monetary.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/11/2017 @ 8:19 pm

  7. On the other hand, in kind contributions are prohibited so a foreign national can’t pay for a campaign event. Wouldn’t that also apply if a foreigner paid for an opposition research investigation and donated the results to a campaign?

    Comment by DRJ — 7/11/2017 @ 8:26 pm

  8. @ Patterico;

    “Can you give me a definition of “collusion” that requires a quid pro quo and excludes a secret meeting with a foreign power most consider an enemy or our biggest threat (as Mattis says) to get information for a political campaign?”

    I’m not a lawyer, so I was going by the definition I found at
    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/collusion

    “An agreement between two or more people to defraud a person of his or her rights or to obtain something that is prohibited by law.”

    The key part IMHO is “Prohibited by law”. It wouldn’t be collusion if she’d just promised to give them a recipe for borcht, because borcht recipes aren’t illegal. And, so far as I know, neither is political dirt freely offered. But, if the Trump team had offered something for that recipe (official actions of any sort) that’d be criminal collusion (specifically, fraud) because officials can’t legally offer official actions for personal or political gain.

    I’m fully aware I may be quite wrong on the legal stuff.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/12/2017 @ 12:17 am

  9. Arizona CJ,

    I don’t think Patterico is using collusion in a legal sense. Collusion does have a legal meaning but it is also a general concept that means “a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes.”

    Comment by DRJ — 7/12/2017 @ 7:31 am

  10. If all talk of “collusion” is ultimately directed to the viability of an impeachment effort, and impeachment is ultimately a political (rather than legal) exercise, it seems that we should be talking of “collusion” in a political sense rather than a legal sense.

    The arguments about “the legal definition of collusion” are, in my opinion, something of red herring.

    Comment by Leviticus — 7/12/2017 @ 8:31 am

  11. @ DRJ,

    If we’re talking the definition you cited,
    “a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes.”
    then IMHO that’s a very easy exoneration for Trump Jr. My reasoning (as always, I may be totally wrong) is that there was little effort at secrecy (Trump Jr. was talking to, amongst others, a journalist) plus he held the meeting in Trump Tower (which the media was already obsessively watching).
    And, there was nothing fraudulent or treacherous about it (Except quite possibly on the part of the lawyer) even if the lawyer had provided real dirt on Hillary (say, proof she’d intervened on the Rosatom deal in return for money). Actually, the only way I see Trump Jr. could have been in the legal or ethical wrong is if he’d gotten such info and not made it available to the public, and/or offered the Russians something in return.

    So, my take is that Trump Jr. did nothing legally wrong, but did show himself as inept and incompetent. The silver lining in this mess, though, is that this incident finally lays to rest the accusations of Trump/Russia connections, at least until after this incident, because had those actually existed, this incident would have never occurred.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/12/2017 @ 10:14 am

  12. But this is politics, not law, and many people will view any political dealings with Russia (outside of summits and other official diplomacy) as treacherous. American politicians running for office don’t need to be talking to foreign agents about domestic issues.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/12/2017 @ 1:39 pm

  13. @ DRJ,

    I personally rank Russia as our #2 threat (after China) so I’m absolutely no fan of politicians dealing with their agents. The same applies to any foreign meddling in US elections.

    However, even if I assume for the sake of argument that there was real collusion, I’m not inclined to care what the Democrats think about this, because their side has done vastly worse for far longer, ranging from the Clinton campaign’s collusions with foreign powers (Ukraine, for one) to Ted Kennedy’s secret offer to help the KGB undermine both Reagan and the US while a sitting US senator. Things like that met with a yawn from them then, and the ugly fact is that when one side plays dirty, the other has to as well, or lose.

    I hate that it has come to this – but come to this it has.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/12/2017 @ 9:16 pm

  14. Regarding my above comment, I should have been clear; my outburst and exasperation is not directed at anyone on this blog.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/12/2017 @ 10:05 pm

  15. I agree with you about China and Russia, CJ.

    Returning for a moment to the issue of secrecy, I think it’s fair to call it a secret meeting. First, no one knew about it until Kushner’s lawyers disclosed it. Second, no one suspected it or it would have been discovered months ago, in all the media frenzy to link Trump to Russia. And, third, the fact it was at Trump Tower is what made the secrecy possible.

    By June 1, 2016, the Secret Service had sealed off access to Trump Tower. High profile visitors were recognizable, but even then it wasn’t clear where in the building some of them were going. It would have been impossible to figure out whether less recognizable visitors were visiting Trump (as opposed to the other tenants in the building) unless the Trump campaign made their names public, and it didn’t with this meeting.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/13/2017 @ 7:00 am

  16. Remember the honey trap whern American politicians’ greatest temptation was that they might be seduced by foreign women? Russians were particularly good at it.

    This is still seduction but with a different kind of bait.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/13/2017 @ 7:40 am

  17. @ DRJ,

    The “honey trap” was indeed one of KGB’s favorite tools, one now used by FSB. The Russians even have a word for such compromising material; Kompromat.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/13/2017 @ 5:23 pm

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