With the release of Trump Jr.’s Russia emails, and plausible deniability significantly more difficult to come by, some Republicans are beginning to abandon ship

Every morning I wake up and tell myself that the Donald Trump Jr. story line can’t possibly dominate the headlines yet one more day, and yet here we are again. After yesterday, when the President’s eldest son admitted to having accepted a Russian offer “of potentially helpful information” about Hillary Clinton, I didn’t think it could possibly escalate any further. But then Trump Jr. decided to release what he claimed to be his unedited email correspondences with Rob Goldstone, the eccentric former British tabloid journalist turned Russian marketing firm head who helped set up the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a well-known lawyer for the Russian mafia… The Washington Post has published all of the emails between the two men, but here’s a brief excerpt. Pay particular attention to the part where Goldstone tells Trump Jr. pointblank that the woman he’s bringing from Moscow to meet him is a “Russian government attorney” and that she’ll be coming to relay information on behalf of the Kremlin.

That’s right… Goldstone says, “This is sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” to which Donald Trump Jr. responded, “I love it.”

I’d like to think that most folks, if faced with a hostile government offering to help sway an election, would, perhaps after a bit of agonizing, reach out and contact the FBI. Trump Jr., however, did not. The allure of illegally acquired dirt about Clinton, it would seem, was too great. Trump Jr., of course, has said that this meeting didn’t yield any dirt, which may or may not be true. What’s clear, however, is that he, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, all of whom were in the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower with Goldstone and Veselnitskaya, made it crystal clear that they were in the market for useful intelligence about Secretary of State Clinton, and that they were willing to work with Russia to get it. Veselnitskaya, who was interviewed earlier today in Russia, described their appetite for dirt like this… “They wanted it so badly,” she said.

So the ridiculous notion that all of this talk of collusion has been little more than “fake news” ginned up by CNN and others, has pretty much been rendered moot over the past 48 hours. We now know, by his own admission, that Donald Trump Jr. initiated a conversation with a hostile foreign government with the intention of receiving information from the RIS (Russian Intelligence Service). And we know that the Russian attorney who initiated the conversation was sent at the behest of the Kremlin, who, according to Goldstone, wanted to see Trump in power… And it would appear that, with these revelations, things are finally starting to shift within the Republican Party.

I think David French, a senior fellow at the conservative National Review Institute, summed it up quite nicely when he said the following today, in an op-ed titled, “Trump Officials Attempted to Collude With Russia.” “The Russian investigation isn’t a witch hunt anymore, if it ever was,” he said. “It’s a national necessity.” And, it would seem, other conservatives are echoing the sentiment. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, for example, today announced that he’d officially left the Republican Party, and Tucker Carlson today got compared to the Hitler apologist Charles Lindbergh on his own FOX News show by FOX contributor Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. And, while it doesn’t look like any Republican members of Congress have yet to call for impeachment, some, like Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, are at least starting to say the right things… One just hopes their comments translate to action at some point, before it’s too late.

There’s more, I’d like to say, but it’s late, and I’m tired from having spent the evening celebrating my daughter’s 13th birthday. So, I’ll just leave you with this… It came out today that the letter Donald Trump Jr. issued yesterday, in which he essentially confessed to collusion, was actually written under the direction of his father. Given what’s been reported about Trump’s cruel treatment of his son over the years, I don’t guess it surprises me, but I’d like to think that most fathers, even the most evil ones, would draw a line at writing a “I committed treason” letter and demanding that their son sign it.

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18 Comments

  1. Posted July 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t want to put this in the post itself, as it’s completely vile, but it’s worth noting that some conservatives are pushing back in the other direction, digging in their heels for Trump. One such conservative is Roger Stone. Check this out.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday, Drudge posted a link to a real news article about this on their front page, and today Fox News is actually addressing it. It does feel like the worm is turning a bit.

    https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/884977260293496837

  3. Iron Lung
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    The National Review is, in fact, a conservative paper. The trouble,however, is that modern conservatism isn’t grounded in the written word anymore. By comparison, the conservatives of old seem downright reasonable.

  4. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Lindsay Graham and John McCain don’t count. They left the Republican Party years ago.

  5. M
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Does Trey Gowdy count, EOS?

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/11/trey-gowdy-trump-russia-240432

  6. EOS
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Yes, Trey seems to me to be a stand-up guy.

    However, Goldstone was the guy who helped fabricate “Peegate”. He may be instigating dirty tricks for the DNC.

  7. Citywatch
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Will this end up being the one thing people of both parties can, and will, unite around? It is clear that Trump’s presidency is an embarrassment to all of us. National outrage should be creating a unified congressional position that we move forward with impeachment, Nixon style, for the good of our citizens. Cut the TV soap opera crap, fire the SOB, and get everyone else to do the jobs “we the people” hired them to do!

  8. Anonymous
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Conservative Max Boot: If Republicans do not start breaking with Trump “sooner rather than later, they will join him on the ash heap of history.”

  9. M
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    EOS, it’s time to give up on the fake news. This wasn’t a plot by the DNC. Goldstone has a long history with Trump, having helped him bring Ms Universe to a Moscow in 2013.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Even if it was a sting operation (doubtful), Don Jr, Manafort and Kushner fell for it. And failed to report it.
    Don Jr’s defense appears to be “I meant to collude, but then she wasn’t interested.”
    And while it’s true that collusion with a foreign government is not illegal, lying under oath is. And trading favors for information from foreign governments is extremely illegal. Not proven yet, but it will be established soon enough.
    What has been established, that should be of use legally is that the campaign had prior knowledge of the Russian efforts to influence the election.
    What needs to be established conclusively is the degree of the Trump Organizations financial ties to Russia or any other ways in which Trump is compromised by their influence (aka peegate)
    Then there is the tricky business of Trump revealing his own hand, or their being some trail that demonstrates he has lied about what he knew and when he knew it. I’mrelying on the intelligence community to establish that (Sorry Wobblie)
    Everything is falling into place.

  11. Eel
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    It keeps getting better and better. Trump’s attorney in the Russia investigation can’t qualify for a security clearance due to ethics violations, which means he can’t see the evidence against Trump. https://www.propublica.org/article/trump-russia-lawyer-marc-kasowitz-alcohol-security-clearance

  12. M
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Bill Kristol, another Republican: “The emails exist. The meeting was not made up. And I’m inclined to believe, @realDonaldTrump, that you knew about it.”

  13. Kat
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Lindsey Graham is showing some promise. Did you see his questioning of the proposed new FBI director today?

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/lindsey-graham-grills-nominee-for-fbi-director-on-don-jr-emails/

  14. Tommy
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    What is clear to me is that Trump and his inner circle of dumbasses have no idea how to weave their way out of the messes they have gotten themselves into. They can blame Hillary, the DNC, Obama, Comey, fake news, and the media all they want. None of this will change the fundamental fact, however, that in Washington the chickens come home to roost.

    Piss off the wrong people (as the Orange Menace seemed to take pride in during the campaign) and they will fuck you up, particularly the press, the FBI, the CIA, and anyone else who either has an axe to grind or cares enough about our country to risk their careers by ‘leaking’ information that will add fuel to the smoldering fire.

    As Deep Throat said to Bob Woodward in “All the President’s Men” … Deep Throat: Look, forget the myths the media’s created about the White House–the truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand …

    In the famous words of Walter Sobchak “Donnie, you’re out of your element”.

  15. M
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s not only Stone threatening to turn the tables on the Democrats if they don’t lay off Trump.

    “Rep. Steve King (R-IA) appeared on CNN Wednesday morning to issue an ultimatum: Congress would be “forced” to start investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails again if Democrats didn’t stop talking about the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/republican-threatens-to-re-open-investigation-for-hillarys-emails-if-media-keeps-reporting-on-russia/

  16. M
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Also, something new from Bill Kristol.

    “WHOA. Don Jr.’s false statement Sat. was drafted by WH aides & seen by Trump. This wasn’t Jr being dopey. This was an attempted WH cover-up.”

  17. Meta
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    WSJ: “Russian Officials Overheard Discussing Trump Associates Before Campaign Began”

    U.S. intelligence agencies starting in the spring of 2015 detected conversations in which Russian government officials discussed associates of Donald Trump, several months before he declared his candidacy for president, according to current and former U.S. officials.

    In some cases, the Russians in the overheard conversations talked about meetings held outside the U.S. involving Russian government officials and Trump business associates or advisers, these people said.

    It isn’t clear which Trump associates or advisers the Russians were referring to, or whether they had any connection to his presidential aspirations.

    The reports were gathered by intelligence agencies that routinely monitor Russian espionage against the U.S. Such efforts can include monitoring phone calls and emails as well as information from informants. The efforts weren’t aimed at Mr. Trump or his associates, these people said.

    The U.S. intelligence agencies weren’t sure what to make of the vague and inconclusive information, given that Mr. Trump had done business in Russia and was a global celebrity well-known to prominent people there. The names of Americans do sometimes show up in conversations involving Russian officials that are overheard by U.S. intelligence.

    Now, in light of the release of emails Tuesday by Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, investigators are going back to those early reports to see if they can understand them better.

    Read more:
    https://www.wsj.com/article_email/russian-officials-overheard-discussing-trump-associates-before-campaign-began-1499890354-lMyQjAxMTI3MjE5MjExMzI0Wj/

  18. Meta
    Posted July 13, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Another conservative has seen the light.

    Ross Douthat in the New York Times.

    Here is a good rule of thumb for dealing with Donald Trump: Everyone who gives him the benefit of the doubt eventually regrets it.

    This was true of clients and contractors and creditors throughout his business career. It was true of the sycophants and opportunists before whom he dangled cabinet appointments during the campaign and then, oh, never mind. It has been true of his cabinet members and spokesmen, whose attempts to defend and explain their boss’s conduct are gleefully undercut by the boss himself. And it should be true — for the sake of their souls, I sincerely hope it’s true — of the Republican leaders whose reputations for probity and principle he has stomped all over since winning their party’s nomination.

    And now it’s true of me.

    The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low. A lot of weirdness around Trump and Russia, I argued, had a more normal explanation — he had made business deals with Russians, he still harbors a 1980s-era vision of superpower cooperation, and as a foreign-policy neophyte he clutched the idea of détente like a security blanket even as the Russians separately made moves to help him win.

    You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

    Read more:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/opinion/trump-russia-collusion.html

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