August 8, 2017    9 minute read

The Trump-Russia Saga Continues

No Smoke without Fire    August 8, 2017    9 minute read

The Trump-Russia Saga Continues

Donald Trump Jr’s troubles with the FBI’s investigation into his father’s presidential campaign’s collusion and ties are no longer matters discussed behind closed doors in hushed tones. In June 2016, Trump Jr. received an email from an acquaintance to offer help for his father’s impending presidential election. In the mail, Trump was told that a Russian government attorney, who goes by the name of Natalia Veselnitskaya, with ties to the Crown prosecutor of Russia would like to meet him and provide him dirt that she had on Hillary Clinton – his father’s pivotal opponent in the race to the White House.

Not only did Trump Jr accept the invitation to the meeting but he also invited over his brother-in-law and senior white house advisor Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort to become a part of this crucial meeting that could help tip the scales in favour of Trump in the forthcoming presidential race. The meeting which was kept under wraps has now become public, opening a can of worms for the Trumps.

Russia Meeting

The meeting, its purpose, its attendees and their explanations for what could be termed perjury and treason have garnered significant attention with the details of the rendezvous going public. Jared Kushner has testified already and has carefully placed the entire blame for the disastrous affair on Trump Jr. Trump Jr and Paul Manafort are to testify soon. Easy to say, this is just the beginning of the end for imperishable Trump brood. The Trump’s troubles run deep. Donald Trump Sr.’s defense for his son’s actions is as questionable as the actions themselves.

The POTUS’ only defense EVER for all the dubious actions of his children happens to be that they are good human beings with no intent whatsoever to do anyone any harm. Now this argument isn’t strong enough to stand the turbulent times the Trump administration and family seems to be facing. Given that the meeting was set up to do more harm than good to the Democratic Party’s nominee, this argument doesn’t seem to add up. Another argument forwarded by the champion of the idea of making the United States of America great again is that anybody would have taken that meeting being in his son’s place and that everybody tries to dig up dirt on their political rivals, which President Trump conveniently tried to disguise as “opposition research”.

Unsatisfactory Explanation

The first big assumption made in the argument here is that anyone in place of Trump Jr would have taken the meeting. Now most of the senators happen to be a) government officials with some past experience that had helped build their diplomatic acumen & b) politically aware with an understanding of how things work in the American government. This chain of emails even puts Trump’s calling the FBI Investigation into RussiaGate as the biggest witch hunt in America in question. This idea seems to have lost its charm on the day when Mr. Trump while delivering his victory speech declared his intent to deliver a major speech on Monday of the subsequent week to discuss “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons” which his audience should have found “very informative and very, very interesting.”

Now, on 9th June, Trump Jr seems to have attended the meeting with the intent of catching air of the dirt on Clinton but since no good whatsoever came of this meeting for any of the involved parties (pun definitely intended), President Trump did not deliver the promised goods on Clinton the following Monday. A big fact to be noted here which doesn’t add up and doesn’t seem so coincidental, now that we know what exactly was happening behind the closed doors of the Trump Tower, is that on 15th June, a hacker calling himself “Guccifer 2.0” released files stolen from the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) server.

Russian Hacking

US intelligence agencies concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin was responsible for the hack. Of interest here is the fact that Trump Jr. changed his defense regarding this meeting in a single day when three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it told The Times that Mr. Trump met Ms. Veselnitskaya after she promised to provide damaging information on Mrs. Clinton.

From labelling it as an introductory meeting to discuss a program about the adoption of Russian children by American families and the Magnitsky Act to admitting that he agreed to attend the meeting on condition of getting incriminating evidence on Ms. Clinton from a Russian attorney, whose government attorney credentials were not communicated to him in advance, Trump Jr tried to play all positions. This, however, couldn’t be true given the subject line of the emails was “Russia and Hillary – Private and Confidential”. Within the mails as well, it was quite clearly mentioned that the meeting was to be scheduled with a Russian government attorney.

The involvement of a person with close ties to the Kremlin certainly couldn’t have been the harbinger of good news. This, however, couldn’t be true given the subject line of the emails was “Russia and Hillary – Private and Confidential”. Within the emails as well, it was quite clearly mentioned that the meeting was to be scheduled with a Russian government attorney. The involvement of a person with close ties to the Kremlin certainly couldn’t have been the harbinger of good new. The line of defense adopted by the eldest in line has, therefore, been unconvincing. The “victim’s” alibi makes three major points. The first point sees Trump Jr claiming to have agreed to attend the meeting by specifying that the credentials of his guest were not known to him.

Trump’s Naivety?

The second point argues that the meeting was futile since its objective was never achieved, and hence irrelevant. The last point makes a case for the victim’s inexperience in politics as the gravest error on his part in the entire fiasco. The fact that the lawyer did not produce the dirt in the meeting does not deny or refute that the meeting took place or the intentions with which this meeting was set up. Taking help from agents of hostile governments especially in such sensitive matters is a punishable offence. The question remains – what if the lawyer had provided the campaign the promised information? Would this meeting have ever been reported had the NY Times not gotten an air of the matter and the emails? Making the emails public a day before the NY Times goes public with it isn’t precisely a sign of a transparent and honest person.

Why did this matter never see the light of the day until now given that it’s been a year since this exchange transpired? It’s sad that Trump Jr. decided to go ahead with his meeting and involved the campaign manager and his brother-in-law before consulting his legal team. Any legal attorney anywhere would have advised him to not lap up the meeting in question and to notify the FBI. There’s a big lesson to be learnt here – if you have legal aides working for you on your salary roll, don’t hesitate to ask them questions. If there ever was a doubt about the perils of social media, we have our answer: case in point –Donald Trump Jr.

Trump: Not Off the Hook

Placing trust on a man who releases his incriminating emails in a bid to one-up New York Times before the publication goes public with it in a bid to appear “innocent” to be telling the truth when he says nothing of value came from the meeting in question would be injudicious. In fact President Trump seems no more innocent now than he ever did before in the Russian investigation.

Is it really true that President Trump did not get wind of this meeting? How likely is that the presidential nominee knew nothing of this conspiracy to take down his political rival when the meeting happened in the Trump Tower and involved three of the closest people in President Trump’s circle? Now this seems highly unlikely for so much to happen behind his back when the sole intent was to help him fare well in the imminent elections. According to a report from CBS News, apparently, Jared Kushner had to update his security clearance form three times to include 100 names of foreign contacts he had meetings with during the election after initially saying there were no meetings.

Omissions

He failed to mention 100 contacts with foreign officials, including the June 2016 meeting, on his initial application for security clearance. An exemplary specimen of An exemplary specimen of Mr. Kushner’s inefficiency would be his investment in the 666 Fifth Avenue which has gone bust. Demanding efficiency from a man who fails to get his real estate deals would be nothing short of cruel. Surprisingly, (or NOT) the only meetings Mr. Kushner conveniently forgets to mention are the ones involving the Russian government attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and the Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.

Conclusion

Not that the Trumps needed this controversy amidst all the others the White House, president, GOP and the Trump family has already been courting ever since the convocation of President Trump. The big question now seems not to be what is in plain sight or whether the evidence is sufficient e to start a criminal investigation against Trump Jr., it happens to be what isn’t on the table. Was this the only questionable meeting? Why this meeting was not disclosed by Kushner in his security clearance forms? Was any data or information really exchanged between the two parties? The world has high hopes from Robert Mueller – special investigator in RussiaGate and ending this never-ending saga of the Trump clan, it would be wise to add – “May the truth win and may justice prevail. God bless America and the rest of us too”.

Get articles like this straight to your inbox each morning with our Breakfast Briefing. Sign up by clicking here!

Log in with your details

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account

Send this to a friend