Ooops! Donald Trump Jr. slips up, admits to treason.

Two days ago, the New York Times broke a story about a meeting that took place at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian attorney with known ties to the Kremlin. When asked to comment on what was discussed at this previously undisclosed meeting, Donald Trump Jr. told the Times that it “was a short introductory meeting” about “a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government.”

Well, guess what? It now appears as though Trump’s eldest son, his son-in-law, and his campaign manager, didn’t just attend the meeting because of their concern over the plight of Russia’s orphans. No, this morning, Donald Trump Jr. confirmed that they’d attended the meeting because they’d been promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton. The following comes by way of today’s New York Times.

President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.

The meeting was also attended by his campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner only recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.

The Times reported the existence of the meeting on Saturday. But in subsequent interviews, the advisers and others revealed the motivation behind it.

The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help…

And here’s Donald Trump Jr.’s written statement to the Times… Pay particular attention to the part where he says, “the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting.”

So, we now have – for the first time – an admission on the part of a senior Trump campaign official that they had actively sought out information from agents of a hostile foreign nation about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton… an admission that our President can’t just brush off as “fake news.”

The Russian attorney they met with, by the way – Natalia Veselnitskaya – is, to quote the New York Times, “a formidable operator with a history of pushing the Kremlin’s agenda.” According to intelligence community sources, Veselnitskaya is most known for her efforts to role back a piece of legislation signed into law in 2012 by President Obama called the Magnitsky Act, which allowed our government to seize the U.S. assets of 44 Russian citizens thought to be involved in fraud and organized crime, and deny them entry into our country. [Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer for whom the legislation was named, was founded murdered in the Russian jail he was sentenced to after coming forward as a whistleblower, making public the corruption of Putin’s government.]

Well, as you might imagine, a number of people are suggesting that this, in and of itself, constitutes treason. And it’s not just people on the far left broaching the subject. Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from ’05 to ’07, said very bluntly on Twitter today, “This is treason.” Adding, “He must have known that the only way Russia would get such information was by spying,” Painter went on to say, “In the Bush Administration we would have had him in custody for questioning by now.

As far as I can tell, though, Donald Trump Jr. has yet to be taken into custody… The White House, however, has been in full crisis mode, attempting to downplay the significance of the admission and distance the President. Mark Corallo, the spokesperson for the President’s lawyer, said today that “the President was not aware of, and did not attend, the meeting.” [Given that Trump was in New York with Manafort on June 9, one would imagine, at the very least, he was aware.] And White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus today suggested, in the words of Fox News, that the whole thing was “part of a large political smear campaign orchestrated by a group that pushed out the largely discredited ‘Steele dossier.’” That’s right, he’s suggesting that forces aligned with Hillary Clinton lured the senior members of the Trump campaign into a meeting with a Russian operative under the presence of getting their hands on illegally obtained intelligence, only to then turn around and burn them with it six months after the election, when it would do them absolutely no good.

Now, we just need to look at the timeline and see when it was that Kushner approached the Kislyak and company and asked whether or not they could establish a secure communications backchannel so that members of the campaign could talk directly with the Kremlin outside of existing State Department channels.

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  1. EOS
    Posted July 9, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, it has been determined that the memos Comey leaked to a Columbia University lawyer did contain classified material in violation of the law.

    And former Attorney General Lynch denied under oath that she ever contacted the Clinton campaign concerning the investigation of the computer server. But, a document has surfaced that shows Ms. Lynch actually assured the director of the Clinton campaign, in writing, that she would not let the FBI “go too far” in investigating Hillary.

    And after all this time investigating the supposed hacking of Clinton’s server by the Russians, no investigative agency has been given access to the server.

    Why would anyone make such outrageous claims about treason being committed in a 20 minute meeting of no significance yet ignore repeated instances of real treasonous acts?

  2. Iron Lung Larson
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    After all the birther silliness, right wingers freaking out about this, from which there are very real and serious implications for future elections, is just pure comedy.

    But knock yourselves out.

  3. Stuart Stevens by proxy
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    When the Gore campaign was sent Bush debate brief book, they called FBI. If foreign interests offer you info on former SOS, you call the FBI.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Even if it’s true, EOS, “Clinton did bad stuff too” is not an adequate defense when charged with treason.

  5. Eel
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    But I don’t understand. Pence assumed us that they no one involved int he campaign had met with the Russians.

    FLASHBACK: Mike Pence January 2017.Q: Did any Trump campaign member have contact with the Russians?Pence: "Of course not."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 9, 2017

  6. Scott Dworkin by proxy
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This (see photo) is Michael Cohen and Donald Trump with Russian oligarch & his son, who’s a Russian pop star. It was his manager that set up Don Jr lawyer meeting.

  7. Keith Olbermann‏ by proxy
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Hmm…Trump’s very 1st tweet about HRC’s “missing 33,000 emails” appears to be from 6/9/16, just after Manafort, Kushner, Don Jr met the Russian.

  8. M
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Kellyanne Conway to Chris Cuomo on TV yesterday: “Here’s how you and I are different: you want to talk about Russia; I want to talk about America.”

    They’re completely out of excuses and lies. The well has run dry.

  9. Stuart Hutchings
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    My advice? We stop seeking the end. We keep pressing, while working out the differences of folks who prefer Dems, etc and continue to try and help citizens in each state vote (acknowledging the existing issues and barriers in each state).

  10. T.B.
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Send Fredo off to do this, send Fredo off to do that…

  11. M
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Here are a few more items for your list, Stuart; fight gerrymandering, promote the rule of law, never stop fact checking, defend the truth, etc.

  12. Citywatch
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Question all those involved including the “acquaintance” and ask what the information was for starters. Ask also why such a meeting attracted them (exactly what was the meeting supposed to be about) and also if there was any action subsequently taken concerning the Magnitsky Act, or any “vague” information given to any of them that was passed on to James Comey or anyone else. What was the complete timeline of events, including the backchannel, after June 9 that could have been influenced by this meeting?

  13. Anonymous
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance on MSNBC: “It looks like Trump Jr. is now engaging in what prosecutors call ‘incremental truth-telling’”

  14. M
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    According to the Washington Post, Kushner requested the secure backchannel on December 1 or 2.

    “Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.”

  15. Eel
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Lil’ Donnie and gone and lawyered up.


  16. Jean Henry
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

  17. Taco Farts
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “Yesterday on this program we aired and tweeted this story saying former FBI director James Comey leaked memos containing top secret information,” he said. “We were mistaken in that.”

  18. Eel
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    At least when CNN fucks up, people get fired. Who got fired at FOX News, Taco?

  19. wobblie
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    “Case 1:

    A Hillary Clinton campaign cut-out hires the (former?) British intelligence agent Steele to pay money to (former?) Russian intelligence agents and high-level Kremlin employees for dirt about Donald Trump. They deliver some dirty fairy tales. The resulting dossier is peddled far and wide throughout Washington DC with the intent of damaging Trump.

    Case 2:

    Some lobbyist for Russian business interests contacts the Trump campaign with a promise to deliver some dirt on Hillary Clinton. She meets campaign officials but no dirt on Clinton is offered. Instead the lobbyist uses the time to lobby for the business’ cause. There is no follow up.


    Which of the two cases stinks of “collusion with the Russians”?”
    a different take by moon of alabama

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie– the Clinton campaign hiring a British citizen to spy on the Russians and get information is not the same thing (or anything close) to a member of a campaign staff colluding with the agents of the Russian government to Take down Hillary and offering then special favors, like drilling in the arctic, in exchange

  21. wobblie
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Jean Henry,
    Just keep saying it. The Russians cost us the election. The Russians cost us the election. And watch as the Republicans continue to dominate the Federal Government. The 2018 election is 15 months away. What do the Democrats stand for? WAR with Russia. That sounds like a sure fire way to win an election.

  22. Lynne
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    What do the Democrats stand for? Here is a partial list.

    • A fair progressive tax system where the rich pay more than the poor.
    • Campaign Finance reform
    • Rights for those with Disabilities – specifically supporting and expanding the ADA
    • Equal Rights for all Americans. This includes voting rights, LBGQT rights, laws which protect women in the workplace, laws which protect minorities in the work place.
    Health care for all. Expanding on AHA and possibly including a public option. Also preserving reproductive health care access and rights for women.
    • Creating more access to early childhood education, ie programs like Head Start
    • Making college more affordable. Specific policies include making all public universities tuition free, making community colleges tuition free, increasing grants available to poorer students, etc
    • Infrastructure spending
    • A bigger and better safety net.
    • Paid Family and Medical leave for all
    • Criminal Justice reform so as to end mass disproportionate mass incarceration for all.
    • Labor rights including increased minimum wage, updating the National Labor Relations Act so it works better in the 21st century.

    I am actually starting to wonder what wobblie stands for actually. It certainly isn’t anything good. Maybe he/she is a Russian trying to influence us here? It is impossible to know but I think we are not dealing with someone who actually wants to see any left wing policies put into place. At least not if it has anything to do with the Democrats.

  23. Iron Lung
    Posted July 13, 2017 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    I want tatersalad to come back.

  24. Eel
    Posted July 13, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    He has no time for such things. He’s just been named the new head of Trump’s ethics office, Iron Lung.

  25. site admin
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    As we know now, it wasn’t a slip up. The confession was written for Don Jr. by members of his father’s staff, and the President signed off of on it. Make of that what you will.

  26. Meta
    Posted July 21, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Reuters: “Moscow lawyer who met Trump Jr. had Russian spy agency as client”

    The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia’s FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show.

    The documents show that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, successfully represented the FSB’s interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in northwest Moscow between 2005 and 2013.

    The FSB, successor to the Soviet-era KGB service, was headed by Vladimir Putin before he became Russian president.

    Read more:

  27. Meta
    Posted August 15, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The dance between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin started well before the meeting at Trump Tower last summer.

    The Washington Post reports, “Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings”

    Three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, the youngest of the new advisers sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.”

    The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.

    The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.

    But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September, the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials. Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal from Papadopoulos for Trump to do so.

    Read more:

6 Trackbacks

  1. […] « Ooops! Donald Trump Jr. slips up, admits to treason. […]

  2. By Russia, Russia, Russia on July 17, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    […] but that doesn’t jive with the information known thus far about what was promised in advance, what Donald Jr. has already admitted to, or the fact that Manafort or Kushner were brought into the meeting. [One doesn’t have to […]

  3. […] little more evidence to go after Kushner and company with. According to press reports this morning, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared K…, didn’t just discuss U.S. policy regarding the adoption of Russian children, as we’d […]

  4. […] that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump […]

  5. […] is not a crime.” And, no longer are they saying that Trump didn’t know in advance about that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Tr…. Now Giuliani is saying only that Trump didn’t attend the meeting himself. [Asked on CNN if […]

  6. […] that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump […]

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