Donald Trump Jr., who has been reported to have met a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connections for potential damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the election campaign, seems to have made his position worse by making a self-incriminating statement in response to the allegations.
The New York Times first reported Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met a Russian lawyer along with the then Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. But while the existence of the meeting itself had created shockwaves across Washington, on Sunday NYT was able to extract further information from unnamed White House sources which claimed that the motivation behind the meeting was possible information on Clinton which could help the Trump campaign.
“The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.”
Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before meeting with a Russian lawyer https://t.co/yVjD8K2o1e
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 9, 2017
According to the report, Donald Trump Jr., along with Kushner and Manafort, met the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, after he was promised damaging information on Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton. It is still unclear if they received the information they went looking for, but this is the first time that a private meeting between Donald Trump’s core inner circle and a lawyer with direct connection with the Kremlin has come to light. It is also the first time that Trump’s eldest son has been implicated in such a meeting.
While earlier Donald Trump Jr. refused to acknowledge the motivation behind last year’s meeting, — arguing that he had merely met the lawyer to discuss adoptions — he later gave a strangely self-incriminating response to the report, possibly jeopardizing the administration’s already compromised position to an unprecedented degree.
“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. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information…
It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”
Analysis: Donald Trump Jr.’s stunningly incriminating statement to the New York Times https://t.co/8gfzYetimG
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 9, 2017
As the Washington Post reports, the last line — “claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting” — is a breathtaking admission by any standard. Not only does it explicitly imply that Donald Trump Jr. met with the Russian lawyer hoping to get damaging information on Clinton, it also incriminates the campaign’s own position in being open to any such help, even if it meant it came from the dubious corners of Kremlin.
It remains to be seen what effect the rather unbelievable admission now has on reported collusion of Donald Trump’s campaign with the Russians, but it is surely not going to sit well with the White House, or for that matter, with the Republicans who have so far somehow managed to keep themselves aloof from the gravity of the situation.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]