by Jeffrey A. Rendall
In the earliest days of email I, probably like everyone else, received a great many unsolicited messages from people I didn’t know. These notes sounded enticing in the subject line but upon further examination of the contents turned out to be…well, fraudulent.
This phenomenon is a thing of the past because I no longer open the communications much less respond to them as I did on a few occasions way back when (I never fell for the scams, by the way). According to a cross-sampling of faux emails these days I am supposedly the sole heir of some royalty overseas who died and their Donald Trump Jr.estate’s executor just needs me to wire a couple thousand bucks to them to claim my bounty.
From the sound of it Donald Trump Jr. wasn’t as inclined to reject an overture from a friend who wanted to introduce him to a Russian source (in early June of 2016) who promised to provide dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign, purportedly to help his father win the election.
Everyone knows by now Trump Jr. fell for the ruse and along with then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner actually met with the person involved (Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya). A few minutes into the discussion all realized they’d been had. They learned Veselnitskaya wasn’t actually from the Russian government, didn’t have any information on Clinton and was basically looking to scam Trump Jr. and the others.
Fast forward to now and President Trump’s enemies are trying to blow up the whole episode into the major scandal they’ve been seeking to create for months. The only problem is Trump Jr. isn’t guilty of anything other than…perhaps being duped by Russian idiots.
Byron York of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Fortunately for the White House, some Democrats got so excited they accused TrumpWorld of treason, which cooler heads saw as a silly charge, but which allowed Trump defenders to point to bad-faith overreach on the part of the president’s adversaries. When observers got to talking about what laws, if any, might have been broken in the Trump Jr.-Veselnitskaya meeting, the list was less spectacular, and even that was a reach…
“Now the talk in Washington is again all about foreign influence. In the Trump Jr. matter, it seems possible that if the Veselnitskaya meeting was a one-off, and that Trump Jr. learned a lesson and did not repeat his mistake, then the controversy will eventually fade. ‘There isn’t anything else there,’ he told [Sean] Hannity. But if that’s not true, if there were other similar incidents, who knows?”
Who knows indeed. When the media first reported on this incident my first thought was they might finally have found something to call a “smoking gun” in all of this Russian collusion nonsense. I figured there was still most likely nothing to it (as is true with practically all things in the media), but at worst we’d be forced to talk about Russia again for another few weeks.
Now, I’m not so sure. The Democrats will want to talk and talk…but will anyone listen?
One can only imagine the overtures people in the upper echelons of politics and business receive from crackpots seeking their fifteen minutes of fame. Every cad in every squalid crevice of the earth is probably sitting around this very moment concocting a scam that will get someone to legitimize them – and/or give them money. Most of the time a simple email isn’t enough to get them where they want to be, but who can really tell?
There’s a scene from the 2004 Disney movie “National Treasure” where the main protagonists meet with a government official looking to gain access to the actual Declaration of Independence in order to view a secret treasure map (if you haven’t seen the movie it’s a long story). Not surprisingly the government officer thinks they’re a little off their rocker and refuses their request.
That’s probably what the meeting between the Trump campaign people and Veselnitskaya (who was allowed to enter the U.S. by the Obama Justice Department without a visa) must have looked like. As soon as Trump Jr. and the others discovered it was all a fraud they ended the meeting and moved on, likely feeling ridiculous that they fell for it in the first place and regretting having expended precious minutes on something so frivolous and foolhardy.
In terms of the whole Russian “collusion” half-baked theory of the Democrats, the incident is yet another nothing-burger. But don’t expect them to let anyone go at the simple admission of stupidity.
And then there are those in the #NeverTrump camp who assert the Trump Jr. meeting proves that the Trump campaign wanted to collude with the Russians but just couldn’t consummate the deal.
#NeverTrumper David French wrote at National Review, “As recently as last week, it appeared that the ‘collusion narrative’ had lost steam, and that the so-called ‘Russia scandal’ had morphed into an attack on Donald Trump’s handling of the investigation, rather than the investigation itself. If you had told me last week that there existed an e-mail chain where a Trump contact explicitly tried to set up a meeting between a purported Russian official and the Trump senior team to facilitate official Russian efforts to beat Clinton, I’d have thought you’d been spending too much time in the deranged corners of Twitter.
“As of now, we should have zero confidence that we know all or even most material facts. We should have zero confidence that Trump’s frustration is entirely due to his feeling like an innocent man caught in the crosshairs of crazed conspiracy theorists. It now appears that his son, son-in-law, and campaign chair met with a lawyer who they were told was part of an official Russian government effort to impact the presidential election. The Russian investigation isn’t a witch hunt anymore, if it ever was. It’s a national necessity.”
A national necessity, David? Wow. We can forgive French in this illustration because it appears he had to get this piece out under a pretty tight deadline to provide National Review’s official response to the Trump Jr. revelations, but he’s more than a little off here…
Why? Because French is flat out wrong about the significance of Trump Jr.’s actions.
Keep in mind the Trump Jr./Veselnitskaya correspondence and meeting took place well over a month before the Wikileaks dump of Democrat National Committee emails was released on July 22, 2016. Within the context of the campaign, his father Donald Sr. had just secured the party delegates needed to lock-up the Republican nomination.
Early June was a “dead period” after the primaries were over but before the conventions were to take place in July. At that point both the Trump and Clinton campaigns were no doubt ramping up their opposition research efforts ahead of the certain-to-be contentious fall campaign.
I’m not in the excuse-making business but if you’re delving into the mindset and motivations of what might have prompted Trump Jr. to put aside his better judgment and agree to this lark of a meeting, the answer is probably right in front of us:
First, Trump Jr. couldn’t have known anything about this “Russian collusion” thing a month before the emails were even dumped on the Democrats by Wikileaks. And two, there were already a number of substantiated accounts of Clinton and her cronies working with the Russians to foster sales of uranium and other indications that his father’s Democrat opponent was knee-deep in sleaze where the Russians are concerned.
If the Russian government – or agents allegedly working for it – says they have damaging information on Clinton it’s not so far out of the realm of possibility that they could be on the level. Trump Sr. didn’t come up with the nickname “Crooked Hillary” for nothing, right?
Then there’s the very real point that absolutely nothing came from the meeting itself. The fact Trump Jr. may have wanted dirt on Hillary as provided by the Russians is not the same as actually getting it – and using it.
The whole thing turned out to be a farce, which is not so far removed from what the Democrats are attempting to foist on the American public by continuing to accuse the duly elected president of the United States of collusion and obstruction of justice.
It’s just the latest example of the forces of the left combining with the Washington establishment to delegitimize the Trump presidency as the agent of change. But if the ruling class is ever going to make it work they’ll need to come up with something more substantial than junk emails and a kook like Natalia Veselnitskaya.
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com