Well, this is convenient.
Apparently, Donald Trump Jr’s 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected attorney was altruistic and patriotic in nature.
In a statement given to the Senate Judiciary committee today, Trump Jr. said he agreed to the meeting with the attorney because he felt it was important to examine the promised “dirt” in order to determine Hillary Clinton’s “fitness” for office.
Seriously. Most of us had no need of Russia’s help to determine that Hillary Clinton was unfit. Quite a few of us would say the same scrutiny should have been paid to Trump Jr’s own father.
From the New York Times:
In a prepared statement during an interview with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, the younger Mr. Trump said he was initially conflicted when he heard that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, might have damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Despite his interest, he said, he always intended to consult with his own lawyers about the propriety of using any information that Ms. Veselnitskaya, who has ties to the Kremlin, gave him at the meeting.
The acknowledgment by the president’s eldest son that he intended to seek legal counsel after the meeting suggests that he knew, or at least suspected, that accepting potentially damaging information about a rival campaign from a foreign country raised thorny legal issues.
Yeah. There’s that.
The very high probability, however, is that he didn’t care, and he never suspected it would become an issue.
Said Trump Jr:
“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” he said. “Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”
Except it wasn’t your job to be determining who is fit and who is not, especially since your dad is Donald Trump.
That, and of course, he’s saying this isn’t collusion, on his part. He was thinking of us.
The June 2016 meeting came about after the younger Mr. Trump received an email from a family associate saying that potentially damaging information was being provided as part of the Russian government’s support for his father. But in his statement on Thursday, he described his decision to agree to the meeting as the byproduct of the chaotic, seat-of-the pants campaign assembled by his father, rather than any attempt to collude with Russia.
We didn’t know what we were doing!
I’m not sure that qualifies as a valid excuse, in the real world.
Trump Jr’s story has changed, several times.
At first, he’s never met with Russians, regarding the campaign.
Then it became a meeting to discuss a canceled Russian adoption program, but that was it.
Then it became – “Yes, I agreed to meet the attorney to get dirt on Clinton, provided by the Russian government, in an attempt to help my father, but nothing came of it, so it’s no big deal.”
Trump Jr. and his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, have both blown off any entanglements with the Russian government by saying they were an inept, inexperienced crew, and had no idea what they were doing, nor whether what they were doing was illegal.
Sorry. Our bad.
Trump Jr. went on to explain some of the concerning details of his email communications with Rob Goldstone, the family friend who set up the meeting:
In an email response to Mr. Goldstone, Mr. Trump wrote that if the promised information about Mrs. Clinton was as advertised, “I love it.”
“As much as some have made of my using the phrase ‘I love it,’ it was simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture,” he said in his statement on Thursday.
You didn’t just appreciate it. You acted on it and set up the meeting. You invited Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
But it’s no big deal, right?