Contrary to his previous statements, Donald Trump, Jr. knew that he would be meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and that her information about Clinton would come from the Kremlin.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Donald Jr. said in response to a proffer of “high level and sensitive information” from “the Crown prosecutor of Russia” — a mistaken reference to the Russian prosecutor general, a “close” associate of Veselnitskaya who was appointed by Vladimir Putin.
Donald Jr. made the explosive disclosure himself today in a series of tweets containing images of his email chain with music producer Rob Goldstone to set up the meeting. Hired only yesterday, attorney Alan Futerfas cannot be happy with his new client.
Legal experts say this was an open admission to criminal acts, and because Donald Jr. included them in their plans for the meeting, his brother in law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort are likewise implicated in crimes.
Basically, Donald Jr. pointed the proverbial “smoking gun” of collusion at his own head and pulled the trigger. Perhaps he aimed to take a prosecutorial bullet for his family. If so, he has mis-aimed — and put every adult in his family in legal jeopardy as a result.
Make no mistake, the jeopardy is deep here. At Goldstone’s request, Don Jr. was only too happy to talk on the phone with Kremlin associate Emin Agalarov, a person who would likely be under constant American surveillance.
If audio and transcripts of Don Jr. committing treason on the phone exist, then their emergence would be devastating — and could very easily implicate more members of the Trump crime family.
Ms. Veselnitskaya is also someone who ought to be under constant surveillance, and since the art of kompromat is creating leverage over people, she may have recorded the meeting. So it is indeed very possible that the National Security Agency has audio and transcripts of the actual conversation.
Rumors to that effect have abounded for months. In late May, former NSA spook and counterintelligence officer John Schindler wrote about the existence of “a series of SIGINT reports from 2016 based on intercepts of communications between known Russian intelligence officials and key members of Trump’s campaign, in which they discussed methods of damaging Hillary Clinton.”
Just getting this. A source is telling me that two countries’ Intel agencies have handed over audio of Trump kids-criminal acts on tape.
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) April 13, 2017
Confirmed; British and German Intel have handed over electronic evidence on Trump kid’s criminal wrongdoing. Qatar delivered additional. https://t.co/rYXiUvHJQ9
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) April 13, 2017
“This is sum of all fears stuff. It’s what we’ve all been dreading,” one anonymous White House staffer tells The Daily Beast of Don Jr’s email chain. But if this is just the first of many secrets to be unsealed before the reality show presidency of Donald Trump reaches a climactic conclusion, then their nightmare (American Horror Show?) has only just begun.
At TPM, Josh Marshall has put together a detailed timeline, and notes that the meeting with Veselnitskaya “fits right into a critical period when what we understand were Russian intelligence operatives were trying various vehicles to surface emails that were stolen during the spring.”
There is simply no way that Donald Trump can pretend forever that he never know any of this was going on. His public statements are just too revealing of knowledge and intentions, too coincidental in their timing.
The president has yet to comment on today’s revelations, saying only by way of Sarah Huckabee Sanders that “my son is a high quality person and I applaud his transparency.” However, in such a tightly-held concern as the Trump crime family, further “transparency” will inevitably spread the damage to Ivanka and Eric Trump as well as their father.
So the president may be planning preemptive pardons, while Don Jr. and his siblings may be counting on that to save their bacon. But an endless chain of damaging news stories like this could very well push congressional Republicans past the tipping point into impeachment first. It is still possible for the political process to move faster than the criminal process, in which case most of the Trump crime family could potentially go to prison.
Will their gambit succeed? Or will a steady rain of bombshells evict the Trump crime family from Washington before the patriarch can secure their freedom? Like any good crime family drama, this will have us glued to our televisions — and then have us talking about the finale forever afterward.
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