The so-called president’s namesake son has changed his story on three consecutive days as The New York Times reports on his campaign meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. But if he has destroyed his own credibility, Donald Trump Jr did so at his father’s instigation.
According to another Times story posted last night, Trump’s White House staff wrote his the initial statement on the matter for his son aboard Air Force One as it returned from his own meeting with Vladimir Putin in Germany.
Ultimately, the people said, the president signed off on a statement from Donald Trump Jr. for The Times that was so incomplete that it required day after day of follow-up statements, each more revealing than the last. It culminated on Tuesday with a release of emails making clear that Mr. Trump’s son believed the Russian lawyer was seeking to meet with him to provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Notably, Trump’s legal team was not aboard the plane. Don Jr. is in a hell that his father partly made:
The Russia story has become the brier patch from which the president seemingly cannot escape. It dominated his trip to Europe last week and, after he leaves on Wednesday night for a couple of days in France, it may dominate that trip as well. Every time Mr. Trump tries to put the furor behind him, more disclosures thrust it back onto the Washington agenda.
Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman describe chaos in the White House as “people close to the president and to his legal effort are engaged in a circular firing squad, anonymously blaming one another for the decisions of the last few days.”
As always, the problem is a malignant narcissist president who can never admit the slightest error and surrounds himself with yes men. One of those is Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner, who failed to disclose his attendance at the meeting on his SF-86 when he applied for his security clearance.
Kushner still has that clearance — along with his amazing portfolio, untitled office, and Oval Office access — even though his terrible advice to fire FBI Director James Comey led the president to pour gasoline on the smoldering fires of the Trump-Russia collusion scandal by obstructing justice.
As always, since there can be no accountability for this president or his family, everyone who works for Donald Trump Sr. is pointing fingers at each other instead. As always, none of them is actually being fired.
Don Jr. bears some personal responsibility here, of course. His decision to release the full email chain in which the meeting was arranged, thus getting it out slightly faster than the Times, seems to have been spurred by a different, very interesting adviser.
Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us). Two hours later, does it himself: https://t.co/FzCttGSyr6
— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) July 11, 2017
Nevertheless, this is another fine example of how the elder Donald Trump keeps creating new problems for himself and his family. He ignored the warnings of his own transition team that Flynn should not serve in his administration. Then Trump ignored the warning from Sally Yates that Michael Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail, only firing Flynn after that fact emerged in the Times. Then he fired Comey to stifle the Flynn investigation — and admitted his purpose to Lester Holt in prime time.
Now Donald Trump has turned the revelation of his son’s June 2016 meeting into a PR disaster. His son and his son in law will have to testify before congressional committees and likely face criminal charges. Bear this in mind when he whines about a “witch hunt” on Twitter.
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