After managing to escape a public hearing, at least for now, Donald Trump Jr. told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a closed session this morning that he only accepted his now-infamous meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in order to ascertain Hillary’s “fitness” for office. Per The Hill:
Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday morning told Senate investigators that he accepted a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton to determine the Democratic presidential nominee’s “fitness” for office, according to an opening statement reported by The New York Times.
“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.”
Of course, as most are aware by now, despite the media’s attempts to cast the Trump Jr. meeting as proof of the Trump campaign’s coordination with Russia during the 2016 election, the meeting with Veselnitskaya appears likely to have been, as Jr. described it, “a complete waste of time.” As we noted back in July (see: How Hermitage Capital, Ziff Brothers And The Clinton Global Initiative Prompted The Trump Jr. Meeting), the facts surrounding this particular ‘scandal’ seem to indicate that Veselnitskaya, and a couple of other Russian lobbyists, intentionally used false claims of damaging Hillary information to lure Trump Jr. into a meeting to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act.
That said, a single line from Trump Jr.’s emails promising “very high level and sensitive information as part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” set off a firestorm in the media which has made it easy to ignore all of the other facts surrounding the meeting.
In an interview when news of the meeting first emerged, Trump Jr. echoed the White House’s official statement and claimed that talk with Veselnitskaya had been a waste of time.
But according to emails released by Trump Jr. days later, an intermediary offered to set up a meeting between the president’s eldest son and a “Russian government lawyer” offering information that “would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] 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,” the intermediary wrote.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. responded.
As far as we know, there were eight attendees at the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, including Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya; then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort; the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Veselnitskaya’s translator, Anatoli Samochornov; Ike Kaveladze, an American-based representative of a Russian real estate firm; Rob Goldstone, the intermediary who set up the meeting; and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist.
Between this story and Facebook’s “admission” that a Russian may have bought a WHOPPING $50,000 worth of political ads sometime during 2015 and 2016, the Democrats’ ‘Russian collusion’ narrative is starting to look really ‘solid.’