Kremlin Lawyer: Don Jr Asked About Illegal Clinton Foundation Donations
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Now let’s get to it:
What we long suspected has now been confirmed. NBC News:
“Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained exclusively by NBC News.”
“The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn’t have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent.”
So much of what decides criminality in this sort of case is intent. Like Trump’s apologists just say ‘It’s legal for Donald Trump to do it; end of conversation.’
He can’t obstruct justice as he is Justice. But technically Nixon firing Archibald Cox wasn’t illegal either, yet that was one of the articles of impeachment. Why? Because in so doing it his motive was to obstruct the Watergate investigation.
Takeaway: some actions are legal but become illegal if done for the wrong reasons.
So in this case: if Veslnitskaya is accurately relating the meeting it’s still incriminating for Jr as the intent to collude was there. In this case it would be merely the opportunity that was missing-assuming she really didn’t give him any oppo research.
It’s like Nixon sabotaging LBJ’s Vietnam peace talks in 1968.
Would Nixon have won without this shocking violation of Logan? But his actions are enough to show that whatever the answer to this question is, Nixon himself believed that had the peace talks succeeded it would help Hubert Humphrey. So his intent is clear.
It turns out this is not the first time the GOP Presidential candidate has conspired with a foreign power to win.
Nor is Nixon 1968 the only other example of a Republican Presidential campaign colluding with a foreign government. Right Ronald Reagan?
Back to NBC News:
Once it became apparent that she did not have meaningful information about Clinton, Trump seemed to lose interest, Veselnitskaya said, and the meeting petered out.
“Today, I understand why it took place to begin with and why it ended so quickly with a feeling of mutual disappointment and time wasted,” Veselnitskaya wrote. “The answer lies in the roguish letters of Mr. Goldstone.”
I’m still not convinced this is the full picture. But note that by her own testimony she’s concurring that Jr attended that meeting with the intent to collude-just that she wasn’t in on that. But note that there’s no real contradiction if he came in looking for HRC dirt and she came in wanting to end the Magnitsky Act.
There was the basis of a clear quid pro quo.
As for the ‘roguish letters of Goldstone’…
She was referring to Rob Goldstone, a music promoter who worked for the Agalarov family. They are Russian oligarchs with Kremlin connections who had business and social ties to the Trump family. Goldstone’s emails to Trump Jr. arranging the meeting on behalf of the Agalarovs called Veselnitskaya a “Russian government lawyer” who had dirt on Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help Trump. Goldstone has since said he exaggerated.
“In her 51-page statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Veselnitskaya said she did not work for the Russian government and was not carrying any messages from government officials. She said her motive was to get the Trump team to examine what she argues is a fraud that led the U.S. to impose sanctions on Russia known as the Magnitsky Act.”
I don’t buy this. She is connected to Putin. It’s hard to imagine her having a meeting like this without his knowledge. It’s hard to imagine her such a powerful lawyer without Putin’s support.
Her work on the Magnitsky Act is a huge priority for him. I think just like Jr she’s leaving things out.
As for Goldstone he’s been lampooned as this eccentric guy as a way of denying a larger conspiracy. But obviously he was a cutout, just like Carter Page was for the Trump campaign in July, 2016.
Or with Papadopoulos meeting with that previously Russian professor. There both Papadopoulos and the Russian professor were cutouts for the Trump campaign and Russia respectively.
“Veselnitskaya said there was no discussion at the Trump Tower meeting of hacked or leaked emails, social media campaigns or any of the other main aspects of Russian interference in the U.S. election. Previously, she told NBC News she had raised the issue of potential questionable contributions to Clinton’s campaign by Americans accused in Russia of tax evasion.”
I believe what she says about Jr. but question what she says about her own motivations and actions. Jr. had the impression that she had information about illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation and she says she had information about possibly questionable contributions to the Clinton campaign.
These are not such different ideas.
He argues that no one but Veselnitskaya herself or members of the Senate Judiciary would have knowledge of this and he rules out it being her.
Today Jr is actually scheduled for more behind closed door testimony. Palmer argues this may have been an attempt by the GOP members of the Committee to help him avoid perjuring himself.
P.S. I’m Mike Sax, I’m running for Congress in the NY 2nd District and I’m a Hillary Clinton Democrat.
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