Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Putting Junior's Emails In Context

Until now, the general consensus has been that Donald Trump is an idiot -- which explains his administration's profound incompetence. But, Ezra Klein writes, the story behind Trump Junior's emails puts things in another light:

The generous interpretation, until now, was that this was all bumbling and idiocy and coincidence. Yes, the Trump campaign had a lot of strange meetings with Russians, and sure, it seemed to routinely forget them during congressional testimony and security checks, and of course, Russia intervened in the election to harm Hillary Clinton. But incompetence, we were assured, was the likelier explanation than conspiracy.

Not anymore. 

Junior did not stumble into this situation: 

Donald Trump Jr. knew exactly what he was being offered. The email he got was crystal clear. His source is referred to as a “Russian government attorney.” The invitation for the meeting explains that she will “provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information.” The intermediary assures Trump Jr. that “this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

His reply, it cannot be said often enough, was “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer” — and late in the summer is exactly when the hacked Democratic emails actually began to be released

His claims that his father knew nothing about what was going on strains credulity:

Did Donald Trump himself know? It would be remarkable if he didn’t. It would mean his son and his son-in-law and his campaign manager had tried to collude with the Russians — endangering his campaign and giving a foreign government blackmail material over his presidency — without telling him. This seems unlikely. But if Donald Trump knew, then it means he knew what he was firing James Comey to hide. Then it is clearly obstruction of justice.  

Even if Trump himself did not know, consider all the damning evidence here: We know that his son, son-in-law, and campaign manager at least tried to work with a semi-hostile foreign power to win the election. We know that foreign power conducted a large-scale and successful cyber-espionage effort against the Democratic Party. We know that Trump continues to treat Russia unusually gently — palling around with Vladimir Putin even as he undercuts NATO and weakens the Western alliance. 

 Everything about the United States in the Age of Trump smells of rot:

And so we are faced with a crisis that leaves vast swaths of American politics stained. The election is tainted. The White House is tainted. Our foreign policy is tainted. If impeachment seems impossible, it is only because we believe that Republicans in Congress would sooner protect a criminal administration than risk their legislative agenda to uphold the rule of law — which is all to say, Congress is tainted, too. 

In short, the Trump Administration is more than incompetent. It is conscientiously corrupt.

Image: AfricLaw


Lulymay said...

There's an old saying, Owen, that money is the root of all evil. I don't think most Americans are under any illusion that money has always been Trump's driver. Given that its well known he had already exhausted his sources of borrowing in the US, I suspect that Russia dangled untold millions in front of his greedy nose as a giant "hook" and trolled him as easy as any fish after delicious bait.

In other words, he's already been hooked and has no choice but to "go along" to "get along" with those he is so heavily indebted to. It has nothing to do with making America great again (catchy phrase isn't it)but to satisfy the wishes of his debtors.

At this point, its hard to come to any other conclusion.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lulymay. Deep Throat's advice to Woodward and Bernstein was to follow the money. I suspect that's what Mueller is doing. And, as was the case with Nixon, I have a hunch that what he'll find is all kinds of illegal activity.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Judging by how attractive this attorney is I'm left wondering if "information" is the only thing Trump Jr. was after.
Did he, perhaps, totally compromise himself?

Owen Gray said...

Are you suggesting, Tal, that Junior really is a chip off the old block?

The Mound of Sound said...

Here's how a prosecutor might look at what transpired. Fredo got an email promising that this Russian lady would deliver the goods on Hillary. So impressed was he that Trump had campaign manager Manafort and son-in-law Kushner tag along. Trump says that 10 minutes into the meeting he realized the Russian had nothing to offer so he left.

What, then, kept Manafort and Kushner in that meeting with the Russian attorney? What did they discuss? Why did all three of them fail to disclose the meeting on their disclosure statements? Why did they essentially deny it? Why has Fredo given three inconsistent and contradictory accounts of what happened and why has he lawyered up?

Owen Gray said...

Like his father, Mound, Junior keeps digging a deeper hole. And, like his father, he doesn't understand why he makes things worse. Rich they may be. But intelligent?

Steve said...

"We know that foreign power conducted a large-scale and successful cyber-espionage effort against the Democratic Party."

Link please, aside from numerous innuendo later proven to be nothing burger and retractions what proof is there?

If the Russians did hack the DNC server, why does the DNC refuse to allow the NSA to examine it?

Owen Gray said...

Junior's emails put the lie to everything Trump and his surrogates have been saying, Steve. His campaign was in contact with the Russians. And the contacts couldn't have been closer -- Trump's son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager. The proof keeps piling up.

Steve said...

I doubt Trumps contact with the Russkies was anything extraordinary. No doubt he was cutting deals, talking about removing sanctions for cash. Just like the Clinton Foundation.

Owen Gray said...

You have a hard time letting go of your support for Trump, Steve. The Clintons were far from pure. But there is a different order of magnitude to Trump's transgressions.