Monday, July 10, 2017

Like Father, Like Son: Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. in Their Own Words

Christopher Jon Bjerknes

On 27 July 2016, US President Donald Trump publicly conspired with the Russians to release 30,000 hacked Hillary Clinton emails:

see:

Ashley Parker and David E. Sanger, "Donald Trump Calls on Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails", The New York Times, (27 July 2016).

Donald Trump, Sr. said,

"Russia, , if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That'll be next."

When Trump, Sr. issued that request to the Russians, Donald Trump, Jr. had already met with a Russian lawyer tied to the Kremlin on 9 June 2016 hoping to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton, as he, himself, has now publicly admitted. Not only did Trump, Jr. meet with the this Russian lawyer proffering Clinton dirt, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump, Senior's son in law Jared Kushner also attended the meeting. But Trump, Jr. was befuddled by the accusation that Russia was funding Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Did he know that Russians were backing his father, and found it confusing that they might have double crossed Trump, Sr. by backing not only him, but Clinton, as well? Did he fear that the Democrats and the Clinton campaign had received dirt on Trump collusion with the Russians, just as he expected to receive dirt on them?

"In a statement provided to NPR by the Trump Organization" Trump, Jr. stated,

"We had a meeting in June 2016. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered."Donald Trump, Jr. as quoted by Jessica Taylor , "Trump Son Admits To Meeting Russian Lawyer With Offer Of 'Helpful' Info For Campaign", NPR, (9 July 2017).

See also:

Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman "Trump's Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton", The New York Times, (9 July 2017).

Trump, Jr. then went on to state that the offer had been made as bait to lure him into a conversation about "the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act" which sanctions certain Russians. Was this a quid pro quo offer, whereby the Trumps would be given dirt on Clinton in exchange for dropping sanctions on the Russians? Were they worried some similar offer had been given to Clinton? Is that why it made no sense, that the Russian were playing both sides? Or, as is more likely, were the Russians showing the Trumps what they could do to the Trumps if they did not lift sanctions, by giving an example of how they could hurt Clinton if she had done what they had done, and thereby warned the Trumps what would happen to them if they did not play along? Trump, Jr. ought to explain why the offer made no sense to him, so that there is no need to speculate on the matter.

Could he have been confused that the Russians were sponsoring Trump and Clinton, and would have found it hard to believe, unless it was a set up to defeat Clinton in favor of Trump by exposing her as a Russian puppet, but not Trump? Or was it a subtle threat demonstrating what they could do to Trump by pretending to do it to Clinton? He has the opportunity to explain exactly what he meant when he stated that the lawyer's words made no sense.