Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sam Thielman, TPM: With a cast of characters like Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Carter Page, it seemed like only a matter of time before at least one of them had to explain a paper trail describing suspicious contact -- whether through naïveté or malice -- with Russian agents trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. It just didn't seem very likely that the person in question would announce that he had taken a meeting because he had been promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton as part of an explicit Russian government effort to help Donald Trump's campaign. Or that this person would post the paper trail on Twitter. Or that he would be the president's eldest son. On Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET on the nose, Donald Trump, Jr. posted to his public Twitter account a one-paragraph statement followed by four pages of emails between himself and Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist and acquaintance of the Trump family.

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Three U.S. officials familiar with the investigation said that special counsel Robert Mueller's team only recently learned about the meeting, which Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, divulged on his recently amended application for a security clearance. A separate U.S. official briefed on the matter said that federal investigators will look into the sit-down that the President's son agreed to have with an individual described by an acquaintance in an email as "a Russian government attorney" who had "high level and sensitive information" that would "incriminate" Hillary Clinton.

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First we learn that the initial response from Donald Trump Jr to the Saturday (first) Times article was crafted by the a group of the President's advisors on Air Force One on the return from Europe. The President signed off on the final version. The President's son is purportedly set apart from the daily affairs of the White House running the President's business empire. Why is the President's White House team answering press stories on his behalf? That seems like a pretty good question. More practically though, if nothing else, this appears to implicate the President in the false claims made to the Times for the first story.

The emails were discovered in recent weeks by Mr. Kushner's legal team as it reviewed documents, and the team amended his clearance forms to disclose it, according to people briefed on the developments, who like others declined to be identified because of the sensitive political and legal issues involved.

Similarly, Mr. Manafort recently mentioned the meeting to congressional investigators looking into possible collusion, according to the people briefed on the matter. - Josh Marshall

Now we know that President Trump himself signed off on the initial response released Saturday that was a blatant, knowing, conscious lie. We have a President who has and will continue to repeatedly lie to the American public and the world so long as it suits his personal whims, country be damned.

This cannot persist.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2017-07-12 08:50 AM | Reply

"Now we know that President Trump himself signed off on the initial response released Saturday that was a blatant, knowing, conscious lie. We have a President who has and will continue to repeatedly lie to the American public and the world so long as it suits his personal whims, country be damned."

If only that were the case, we actually have a President who will lie and otherwise use his office to do whatever Vladimir Putin wants him to do. He is owned by Putin and slowly everyone is realizing the truth.

#2 | Posted by danni at 2017-07-12 09:31 AM | Reply

One of the more chilling explanations about why this Donald Jr. thing is working out the way it is that dad is knowingly sacrificing the boy to save himself.

In the old days, Russians traveling in winter would sometimes find it useful to throw a baby to the wolves in order to distract them.

#3 | Posted by Zed at 2017-07-12 10:14 AM | Reply

I have no doubt Sr is willing to throw Jr under the bus. And Jr will fully support that.

#4 | Posted by TedBaxter at 2017-07-12 10:23 AM | Reply

No One Investigating Trump-Russia Was Looking For Don Jr.

Makes sense, considering that Don jr doesnt have a position within the presidential administration.

#5 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-07-12 10:29 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

" Don jr doesnt have a position within the presidential administration."

How does that explain Manafort's lie, and Kushner's lies?

#6 | Posted by Danforth at 2017-07-12 10:30 AM | Reply

Attempting to explain other's "lies," when all you know about the person is from the perspective of media articles is pretty useless speculation.

It makes sense for Kushner and Manafort to be under a microscope as they served in various roles in the presidential campaign/administration. Don Jr had no such institutional role, other than being related to Trump sr.

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-07-12 10:42 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

Attempting to explain other's "lies," when all you know about the person is from the perspective of media articles is pretty useless speculation.

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017

This is a piece of propaganda. You can't know people absolutely, ever. But you can know them well enough to make valid judgments.

In regards Donald Jr. having no "institutional role" in the Trump campaign, that's now obvious nonsense.

#8 | Posted by Zed at 2017-07-12 10:55 AM | Reply

"Attempting to explain other's "lies," when all you know about the person is from the perspective of media articles is pretty useless speculation."

But we know much more than any media articles. We know Manafort knew the substance of the meeting before attending, and he lied about it afterward. We also know, when questioned about meeting with Russians, Junior called rumors "phony", and called into question the "moral compass" of the accusers.

None of those factors rely on ANY media interpretation or filter.

#9 | Posted by Danforth at 2017-07-12 10:55 AM | Reply

Hardyhar

Yesterday's "never happened" is today's "insert tortured excuse here"

Sincerely

The DR "right"

#10 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2017-07-12 10:56 AM | Reply

Remember when this meeting was just about adopting a child?

Why all the lies if not a level of guilt?

#11 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2017-07-12 10:57 AM | Reply

One of the more chilling explanations about why this Donald Jr. thing is working out the way it is that dad is knowingly sacrificing the boy to save himself.

This was my assumption from the get go.

#12 | Posted by jpw at 2017-07-12 11:26 AM | Reply

Don Jr had no such institutional role, other than being related to Trump sr.

Nice try, Noles!

If Trump Jr. was able to set up a meeting with campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in attendance to negotiate confidential information being provided by the Russian government to the Trump campaign, he was part of the campaign. It doesn't matter if he had a job title or not.

Everybody knows Trump wraps his kids around him like a security blankie. Even before he started letting them act like G-20 leaders, he was using them as de facto top advisers.

Except Tiffany, of course. I don't get why she never gets the perks of Trump DNA. Donald Jr. and Eric are screwups and dad keeps them around.

#13 | Posted by rcade at 2017-07-12 01:05 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

But we know much more than any media articles... None of those factors rely on ANY media interpretation or filter. #9 | POSTED BY DANFORTH

So you know some of these individuals firsthand? If so, please tell more.

#14 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-07-12 01:16 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

Don Jr had no such institutional role, other than being related to Trump sr.

#7 | Posted by GOnoles92

Ahaha trumpers changing excuses are hillarious.

We've gone from "Fake news! The russia story is a nothingburger!"
to
"So what's so bad about colluding with russia?"
to
"Don Jr has no real connection to the president anyway!"

#15 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-07-12 01:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

"Donald Trump Jr. admits to Solicitation" is a pretty good headline, no matter what kind it was, lol.

#16 | Posted by Corky at 2017-07-12 01:24 PM | Reply

... It doesn't matter if he had a job title or not. - rcade

When it comes to possible consequences, which is the assumed end goal of anti-Trump liberal-leaning partisans, it will matter. How does one determine on a legal basis whether Trump jr is a part of campaign/administration infrastructure, rather than a fringe independent actor on his own devices?

#17 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-07-12 01:24 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

... which is the assumed end goal of anti-Trump liberal-leaning partisans ...

Our goal is to uncover the truth and see the people who committed serious crimes face justice, whether it goes all the way up to the president or not.

That should be your goal too. Instead, you deflect.

If Trump Jr. committed a crime, it's still a crime whether or not he had a Trump campaign business card of his own.

#19 | Posted by rcade at 2017-07-12 01:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 4

The real connection, imo, goes: Jr to Russian pop star to pop star's dad who is well-connected to both Putin and Trump Sr. Putin was sending Trump a message about revoking 100's of millions of dollars of Magnitsky Act sanctions when Putin helped him get elected; the main job of that Russian attny being getting those sanctions revoked as she was at the time promoting a Putin propaganda film about Magnitsky and actually advocating in Congress for it.

Magnitsky being at the root of one of the biggest scandals in Putin's admin, who cost Putin's Pals millions of dollars, who died in prison as ordered by Putin... not to mention the Manhattan Fed Attny who Trump later fired that had prosecuted Putin's Pals under..... wait for it.... the Magnitsky Act.

Trump Jr. was the messenger boy who not only got caught, but managed to solicit help from a foreign entity during an election while doing it. There was never any dirt on Clinton, as Trump Jr found out to his dismay when he got there.

But one can be sure the message was sent to Trump, if only by the meeting occurring with the Russian attny trying to get rid of the Magnitsky Act, set up by his close business pal, and Putin's close business pal, the pop star's dad.

#20 | Posted by Corky at 2017-07-12 01:41 PM | Reply

There's a very specific reason why the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr. wanted to talk about adopting babies

www.businessinsider.com

Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian Connection Has Ties to Former Kremlin Spies
The lawyer who offered up Hillary dirt to the Trump campaign totally swears she doesn't work for the Russian government. Her client list suggests otherwise.

www.thedailybeast.com

#21 | Posted by Corky at 2017-07-12 02:04 PM | Reply

How does one determine on a legal basis whether Trump jr is a part of campaign/administration infrastructure, rather than a fringe independent actor on his own devices?

#17 | Posted by GOnoles92

And a related question - what is the sound of grasping at straws?

#22 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-07-12 02:17 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

#17 Gono

You might have a point, but Campaign director and Kushner went along for the ride.

#23 | Posted by TedBaxter at 2017-07-12 02:18 PM | Reply

"Makes sense, considering that Don jr doesnt have a position within the presidential administration."

No, but he had a position the campaign, as did Manafort and Kushner, and now legal folks are saying the campaign itself has been implicated

#24 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 02:37 PM | Reply

"How does one determine on a legal basis whether Trump jr is a part of campaign/administration infrastructure, rather than a fringe independent actor on his own devices?"

Campaign and administration infrastructure are not the same. He was acting on behalf of the Trump campaign because, as the emails indicated, the Russians wanted to help the Trump campaign. They wanted the info to get to Trump himself, and Jr was acting as a go-between. He may not have had an official title in the campaign, but he was acting on its behalf.

#25 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 02:42 PM | Reply

"So you know some of these individuals firsthand?"

No. But English is my native language, so when folks are told they're about to meet an agent of the Russian government to get dirt on HRC, and they reply they LOVE IT, and inform Manafort and Kushner, who both attend the meeting and then all three lie about it afterwards...

...you'd have to be an idiot to believe the campaign wasn't, at a minimum, trying to collude.

Again, just because the bank's big delivery of money was scheduled for tomorrow doesn't get you out of attempted bank robbery charges.

#26 | Posted by Danforth at 2017-07-12 03:36 PM | Reply

Or as even old Charlie K. said.... "If you get in a car to go to a certain place in the middle of the night to pick up stolen goods, and it turns out the stolen goods don't show up but the cops show up, I think you're going to have a very weak story saying 'I got swindled here,'".

#27 | Posted by Corky at 2017-07-12 03:45 PM | Reply

If Don Jr's meeting wasn't part of the campaign, why did this happen:

Report: Trump Aides Aboard AF1 Crafted Don Jr.'s Statement On Russian Meeting

A team of advisers to the President crafted Donald Trump, Jr.'s initial statement on his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, in which the eldest Trump son said that the meeting was about Russian adoption and left out the fact that he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to a Tuesday night New York Times report.

According to the New York Times, the President's staff debated Saturday aboard Air Force One just how transparent Trump Jr. should be about the meeting, and landed on a statement about Russian adoption. That decision required several rounds of revisions, and President Trump himself signed off on the final statement.

talkingpointsmemo.com

What's that old saying? Oh, yeah: it's not the crime; it's the cover up.

#28 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 03:47 PM | Reply

- it's not the crime; it's the cover up.

That saying originated with Watergate... which reminds me that the closer this all gets to Putin as the middle men, including sons and son in laws and dads of pop stars, between Putin and Trump are brought to light.... the more apropos it is for the affair to be called, "Putingate" as some journalist did recently.

#29 | Posted by Corky at 2017-07-12 03:56 PM | Reply

Man I don't know about anyone else - maybe it's because I have a conscience - but when I do something even dipping into a "grey" area when someone asks me something relevant I can't help but think about it. So when these tools filled out their Security Clearance documents - nobody involved with Trump thought to put ANY of these meetings with Russians down the first time? Seriously? I mean I kind of get that little troll Sessions - he's been in politics and been lying about things so long he wouldn't know what to put down. But when you were colluding with a foreign government...

#30 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2017-07-12 04:05 PM | Reply

you'd have to be an idiot to believe the campaign wasn't, at a minimum, trying to collude...

#26 | POSTED BY DANFORTH

That's precisely why Jr's actions are a problem for this administration. Up until this, the whole Russia thing was a nothingburger. If what we know about this meeting is all that comes out, by itself it won't sink Trump. But, it may lead to something more. Grab your popcorn and stay tuned.

#31 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:08 PM | Reply

That's precisely why Jr's actions are a problem for this administration. Up until this, the whole Russia thing was a nothingburger. If what we know about this meeting is all that comes out, by itself it won't sink Trump. But, it may lead to something more. Grab your popcorn and stay tuned.

Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:08 PM | Reply

I hope that water you're carrying for Trump isn't yellow tinted.

#32 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-07-12 04:09 PM | Reply

You'd also have to be an idiot to think Trump wasn't told about the meeting beforehand. Don Jr would have wanted to share the "I love it" with his dad. No one really believes otherwise, although some will pretend they do.

#33 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 04:14 PM | Reply

#32

How do you possibly construe my #31 as carrying water?

#34 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:17 PM | Reply

How do you possibly construe my #31 as carrying water?

#34 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:17 PM | Reply | Flag:

Your current and past history of defending Trump when his actions have damned him. That's how.

#35 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-07-12 04:19 PM | Reply

#30 They thought Sessions being AG would protect them. That and having both chambers of Congress. So far Ryan and McConnell have been living up to expectations, but Sessions blew it by getting caught in his lies and having to bow out of supervising the Russian investigation. Trump also thought, at first, he had Comey in his back pocket, because he thought Comey was partisan and a Hillary-hater. He found out, no, Comey was a law and order man.

#36 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 04:21 PM | Reply

Your current and past history of defending Trump when his actions have damned him. That's how.

#35 | POSTED BY LAURAMOHR

So, you weren't responding to #31, you were just erecting a straw man. Got it.

#37 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:21 PM | Reply

So, you weren't responding to #31, you were just erecting a straw man. Got it.

Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:21 PM | Reply

Your post history isn't a straw man. It actually exists.

#38 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2017-07-12 04:23 PM | Reply

Your post history isn't a straw man. It actually exists.

#38 | POSTED BY LAURAMOHR

Yes, it does. I just went through the most recent two pages of my posting history. In all of those posts I had a handful about Trump and they were all critical to some degree.

So, put up or shut up. I am not going to defend myself against insipid straw man claims.

#39 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:26 PM | Reply

Up until this, the whole Russia thing was a nothingburger.

I wouldn't say nothingburger but there was an absence of tangible evidence until Jr's emails.

Even those are not slam dunk but rightfully cause some serious eyebrow raising.

#40 | Posted by et_al at 2017-07-12 04:30 PM | Reply

I wouldn't say nothingburger but there was an absence of tangible evidence until Jr's emails.
Even those are not slam dunk but rightfully cause some serious eyebrow raising.

#40 | POSTED BY ET_AL

I agree completely. The part in bold is why I called it a nothingburger.

#41 | Posted by JeffJ at 2017-07-12 04:56 PM | Reply

I agree completely. The part in bold is why I called it a nothingburger.

I think calling it a "nothingburger" is a bit of a stretch.

It was a column of ever darkening and thickening smoke.

I think Jr. has finally given us our first glimpse of the flames.

#42 | Posted by jpw at 2017-07-12 09:29 PM | Reply

I wouldn't say nothingburger but there was an absence of tangible evidence until Jr's emails.
Even those are not slam dunk but rightfully cause some serious eyebrow raising.

What we know, what is known and what there is to know are three different things:

Yashar Ali‏ @yashar

On CNN, @SenatorLankford says the Senate Intelligence Committee found out about the Don Jr/Russian lawyer meeting in April.

#43 | Posted by Gal_Tuesday at 2017-07-12 09:35 PM | Reply

The whole thing seems weird as Trump as not even the nominee at the time and really, next to no one thought he would be so.

#44 | Posted by MSgt at 2017-07-13 01:29 PM | Reply

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