Monday, July 10, 2017

Chip Off the Old Block

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest of the president’s five children, played a familiar role on his father’s behalf last July, vociferously dismissing as “disgusting” and “phony” any suggestion that the Russians were attempting to aid his father’s campaign.

The month before that CNN interview, however, Trump Jr. himself had convened a meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised to provide damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.


The centrality of his role was underscored Monday afternoon with word that Trump Jr. had retained his own criminal defense lawyer, New York-based Alan S. Futerfas, whose past clients have included embattled politicians, computer hackers and alleged organized-crime associates.

The stakes grew higher still with a New York Times report Monday night that Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the promised material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.


On talk radio and Twitter, he has become omnipresent — taking on Democrats, the media and anyone else perceived to be standing in his father’s way, often in terms at least as provocative as the president himself.


“She is VERY smart & eloquent. You can belittle her all you want w your snark, but we all know 1 on 1 she way out of your league,” Trump Jr. said on Twitter in response to a Republican consultant Ana Navarro, who had mocked his sister’s time in the chair [at the G20].

If she's smart, she way out of Junior's league, too.
[A]n adviser to President Trump on Monday characterized the June 9, 2016, meeting with the Russian lawyer as a “rookie mistake.”
And boy, what a doozy.
The meeting was also attended by Kushner and the campaign’s chairman at the time, Paul Manafort. The adviser said it was particularly unwise to expose Manafort to a meeting with someone whom Trump Jr. claims not to have known.
Does Manafort bear no responsibility for being there? I'm not going to believe he didn't know what was afoot.
On Saturday, as the story was still evolving, Trump Jr. showed some of the combativeness he has often exhibited on Twitter.

“I love being attacked by pundits who somehow make a living in politics but haven’t been right about anything in 2 years,” he wrote. “So out of touch!”
Junior is senior made over.
Donald Trump Jr. has made a potentially damaging New York Times report much, much worse.


Needless to say, the report looks bad for the president, even though his private legal team told the Times that Trump did not participate or even know about the meeting. Trump has a go-to playbook in situations like these: cast doubt on the credibility of unnamed sources (five, in this case) and cry, “Fake news!”

But Trump Jr. took that strategy off the table with a stunningly compromising first response.

“It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,” Mr. Trump said.

Trump Jr. confirmed that he went into the meeting expecting to receive information from the Russian lawyer that could hurt Clinton. That is a breathtaking admission.

Not the brightest bulb on the tree.

And it went downhill from there.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments: