Tuesday, July 11, 2017

CNN -- Donald Trump Jr. releases email chain on his Russian meeting

Robert Reich: So here's the state of play:

1. A June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. by a trusted intermediary said that one of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” The email added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

2. Within minutes, Trump Jr. replied: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary proposed a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Russian government attorney.” Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would likely bring along “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of President Trump’s closest White House advisers.

3. On June 9, the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was sitting in the younger Mr. Trump’s office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower, just one level below the office of the future president.

4. American intelligence agencies have determined that the Russian government tried to sway the election in favor of Mr. Trump. Before Trump Jr.'s meeting with Veselnitskaya, Russian hackers had discussed how to hack Clinton’s e-mails and get the material to Michael Flynn, the former national-security adviser, via an intermediary, according to the Wall Street Journal.

5. Regardless of what transpired in the meeting with Veselnitskaya, under U.S. law it is illegal to solicit election contributions -- defined as "anything of value ... for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office" -- from foreign nationals.

I don’t know how many of you recall the steady drip of information about Watergate. That went on for almost 2 years, until Nixon resigned. This drip is faster, and the issue is far worse than a fumbled break-in at the Democratic National Committee. The issue here is a breaking by Russian operatives into an American presidential election.

Natalia Veselnitskaya

By Jeremy Diamond