Throughout the Presidential campaign, through the post election period and ever since Donald Trump moved into the White House, we have been serenaded with the drip, drip, drip of media revelations about the Russian interference with our election process and ever growing indications of collusion by the Trump campaign staff in the Russian efforts. The media’s Chinese water torture routine has driven Trump and his minions crazy. Their reaction has been to repeatedly attack the media as the “the enemy of the people”.
Well, as they say in the in some quarters, “things are a changing”. Recently revelations by the New York Times of the circumstances surrounding the meeting in June of Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya have blasted huge holes in the Trump organization’s oft repeated refrain, “Keep moving folks; there’s nothing to see here”.
The following are texts two pertinent emails from a string of emails which set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya. That string of emails was released today by John Jr. himself just before the New York Times was to release the same emails. First however, you have to understand who the people mentioned in the emails are:
Rob Goldstone – British born President of Oui 2 Entertainment who represents Emin Agalarov musical endeavors. He also well know by Don Jr.
“Emin” – Emin Agalarov is a Russian singing star who Don Jr. met during the Miss Universe pageant which Trump Sr. staged in Moscow in 2013.
“Aras” – Aras Agalarov is the father of Emin Agalarov. He is a Russian real estate developer and oligarch, with close relations to Vladimir Putin.. He owns the Moscow venue where the Miss Universe was staged and was cosponsor of the event with Miss Universe owner Donald Trump. He has reportedly has had close relations to Donald Sr. and his family since event.
“Crown prosecutor of Russia,” – According to the New York Times, this term refers to “Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, a Putin appointee who is known to be close to Natalia Veselnitskaya,” the Kremlin-connected attorney Trump Jr. would go on to meet with.”
“Rhona” – Rhona Graff is Trump’s executive assistant and a senior vice president at the Trump Organization, often known as Trump’s “gatekeeper”.
“Russian Attorney” – Natalia Veselnitskaya the Russian attorney with Kremlin ties who later met with Don Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner She works has been a paid advocate important Russians hit with US sanctions because of their human rights violations and is also closely tied to Chiaka.
Text of email from Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr. – June 3, 2016, 10:36 AM
Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
Email text from Donald Jr. to Rob Goldstone – June 3, 2016, 10:53
Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?
There follows several emails where Donald Jr. works through Rob Goldstone to arrange a phone conversation with Emin Agalarov. There then follows additional emails logistical details of the meeting. Then, when the time and place (Donald Jr.’s office at Trump Towers) for the meeting are set, Donald Jr. says that two people additional people form the Trump campaign will join him at the meeting – Paul Manafort and his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner.
So what we have here is Donald Trump Jr. being offered “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” which is “obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”. And how does Don Jr. reply: “…if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer” and he goes on to set up a meeting with the Russian attorney. (Note the Wikileaks dump of the DNC emails began later that summer in July.)
Now we don’t know what was said or what occurred when the three senior members of the Trump campaign and Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney, got together on Jun 9th in Don Jr.’s office in Trump towers. However, we do know that Don Jr. was very interested in getting his hands on the dirt on Hillary which he had been told had been dug up by the Russian government. He evidently found the matter so intriguing that he invited Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, his brother-in-law and senior Trump advisor to the meeting. We also know that Veselnitskaya flew all of the way from Moscow to New York just to provide him with that information.
Now if we were to believe Don Jr’s description of the meeting, the information was useless to the Trump campaign and they ended up talking about the adoption of Russian children by American families. I don’t believe that for an instant, but even if that were true, the emails themselves incriminating.
Federal law 11 CFR 110.20 – Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals states in Section (b): Contributions and donations by foreign nationals in connection with elections. A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election. Section (g): Solicitation, acceptance, or receipt of contributions and donations from foreign nationals. No person shall knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section.
If a court finds that the information that the Russians were offering is a “thing of value”, which in my mind it certainly is, Don Jr. is in deep legal trouble and may go to jail because there is no doubt that he solicited the information. In Federal legal terms To solicit “means to ask, request, or recommend, explicitly or implicitly, that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value”.
Now Don Jr. says that he never told his father about the meeting that he pulled his campaign chairman and one of his chief advisors into. Now this meeting supposedly took place at 4:00 pm, June 9th in Don Jr.’s office. His office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. That same June day Donald Trump Sr. returned to his office on the 26th floor of Trump Towers at approximately 4:00 pm after a campaign fund raiser. But we are to believe that Don Jr., who is extremely close to his father, never bothered to tell him about the meeting either before it occurred or after it occurred. That folks is my definition of “implausible deniability”.
But put Don Jr.’s possible legal troubles and Donald Sr. knowledge of the meeting aside; what is readily evident is that at the highest levels, Trump’s campaign team was ready and willing to collude with the Russians in their attack against Hillary Clinton. Even if the initial meeting in question was a bust (and I believe it was really a Russian attempt to gauge their interest of the Trump staff), here is no reason to believe that the Russians did not later offer them an opportunity to help coordinate their attack on Hillary Clinton. The emails illustrate that the Trump campaign was eager to provide that assistance.
Neither Trump’s surrogates nor his Republican defenders in Congress will ever get away again with their favorite line of defense. “There has been not one shred of evidence presented of the collusion of the Trump campaign staff with the Russians”. For the time being we don’t know exactly what occurred in Donald Trump’s office on June 9th, but if the three senior Trump campaign staffers didn’t collude with a Russian representative to subvert our election process during that meeting, it was because of their lack of trying.