First, do not think this excuses Trump, Jr.’s poor judgment. He got an email that said the Russian government wanted to help his dad and they had damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s email server. His first thought should have been to call the FBI, not “yay daddy.”
There’s a terrible lapse in judgment here.
But I am still increasingly of the mind that this was a Democratic trick. Again, the Russians wanted to sow discord in the process. No one, including the Russians, thought Trump could win. It would make sense to hedge their bets and try to influence both sides, especially because they wanted the Magnitsky Act overturned and didn’t think Trump would win.
But you’ve got Fusion GPS, a Democrat firm preparing an oppo research file on Trump that claims he worked with the Russians, also working with Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya. The latter is the lawyer who met with Trump. The former, if NBC News is to be believed, sounds like it might have been the other person at the meeting.
So two of three entities helping the Russians get the Magnitsky Act repealed meet with Trump, Jr. and the third one not there is the one claiming Trump was collaborating with Russians.
Let’s say it was not a set up. It now seems likely Fusion GPS knew about the meeting and could have put that in the notes to build the claim. But if it was a set up, why are we only finding out about it now? Well, several reporters have said they’ve been working on the story for a year. The information has been slow in coming. If you had helped stage the meeting and didn’t want it to look like a set up, wouldn’t you let the reporters run their natural course instead of throwing it all at them?
Again, it does not excuse the meeting. But I certainly think we need to ask if the Russians were playing both sides and no one wants to ask that, if only because many of those in the position to ask it favored the losing side.