In a stunning turn of events, the New York Times has revealed that Donald Trump Jr. was promised “damaging information on Hillary Clinton” before agreeing to the previously undisclosed meeting with Putin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
The meeting, held on June 9th, 2016, was attended by Donald Trump Jr, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Revealed yesterday by the Times, it marks the first confirmation that President Trump’s inner circle met with surrogates of the Russian government during the campaign.
President Trump and his campaign team are widely suspected of having colluded with the Russian government to tilt the November 2016 election in his favor, promising sanction relief and pro-Russian policies in exchange for the damaging information that Russian hackers illegally obtained from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the private emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.
A dossier compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele also alleges that President Trump himself is under blackmail from the Russians, who have video and audio of Trump engaging in perverted acts with Russian prostitutes during his 2012 trip to Moscow.
Donald Trump Jr. did not deny the allegations. In a statement, he said that:
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
Curiously enough, Trump Jr. failed to mention this when he was first asked about the meeting yesterday, instead saying that it was in regards to US-Russian adoption policies and the Magnitsky Act, a blacklist of Russian human rights abusers.
This is the closest thing to evidence of Trump-Russian collusion that has been revealed to this date, and heavily indicates that the knowledge of the conspiracy does in fact go all the way to the top – two members of Trump’s family would not attend such a meeting without knowledge of the patriarch.
But more than that, the revelation indicates a demonstrated willingness to collude with the Russians in order to damage Hillary Clinton and win the election. It’s now up to Special Prosecutor Mueller to put this information to patriotic use.