Since the election, its been Donald Trump versus the media, and in that battle, Russia has been Topic A. It’s peddled so much abject nonsense about nefarious post-KGB forces meddling with the election process that Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway chided CNN for talking more about Russia than America.
But while press throws almost any Russian-themed accusation against the wall, few of them – if any –have stuck.
But the accusations against Donald Trump Jr. are starting to look pretty sticky.
But now Donald Trump, Jr., enters the picture. A June 3, 2016, e-mail to the younger Donald offered documents that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” This info was described to Trump Jr. as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Junior quickly e-mailed back, “I love it.”
It’s as if the Clintons hacked the Trump servers and wrote the exchange themselves.
But while the Trumps, and the Trump administration, is insisting that the meeting amounted to nothing.
Not so fast. While the meeting centered around this e-mail exchange appears devoid of drama, that’s almost beside the point. The point is that Trump Jr. went into a meeting with the expectation that it would include helpful information – provided by the Russian government –and that the Putin regime was acting because of its “support for Mr. Trump.”
Trump Jr.’s response was not, “Wouldn’t such information constitute illegal collusion with a foreign power in an American election?” But, rather, “I love it.”
What would stronger evidence of a Trump-Kremlin connection?
Had the meeting included a personal audience with Putin himself, rather than a woman whose ostensible goal was to address issues surrounding international adoption, would there be any doubt of Russian collusion? If Putin had handed over a dossier of classified information collected by his government in order to destroy Hillary Clinton, is there any question in anyone’s mind that Trump Jr. would have accepted said information with unbridled glee? He expression, “I love it,” doesn’t leave much wiggle room for multiple interpretations.
Of course, in practical terms, leveraging this exchange in a legal context could well prove problematic. The fact is that Trump Jr. didn’t actually collude, and that ; he only had the intent to collude. Is it a crime to intend to collude? Furthermore, is it even a crime to collude?
We’ll be learning more about the legalities, but this does finally seem politically damaging. It manifests a fire at the source of all the Russian smoke since last November.