10 Important Things We Now Know About Donald Trump, His Family and their Russian Connections
President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly met with a Russian government official in June, 2016 to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Jared Kushner failed to disclose the meeting when he initially applied for security clearance and Donald Trump, Jr. denied it took place.
Earlier today, in an attempt to get ahead of this quickly unfolding scandal and to beat The New York Times to the punch, Donald Trump Jr. released the email chain on Twitter.
The New York Times reported that Donald Trump Jr. released the messages after being told that the news organization was going to publish them anyway.
Here are ten important things we now know about Donald Trump, his family and their Russian connections.
1. The Trumps were desperate to win the election and were willing to do whatever it took to win.
According to the email messages released by Donald Trump Jr. they knew the person they were meeting with was a Russian government attorney and that she had information about Hillary Clinton that could help the campaign.
Even though President Trump and his campaign had until now repeatedly denied colluding with the Russians during the campaign, we now know that is a lie.
They did collude with the Russians and they did it knowing full well who they were dealing with.
2. The Russians had direct access to Donald Trump through the British publicist Rob Goldstone who set up the meeting.
It is hard to believe that the flow of messages went only one way after reading the emails.
First Rob Goldstone had direct access to then candidate Donald Trump. He also had access to the Kremlin. He carried messages back and forth between the Trumps and their associates, and the Kremlin.
Rob Goldstone’s connection with the Trumps was strong. He had Donald Trump’s secretary’s email address and felt comfortable in the relationship to inform Donald Trump Jr. that he could send the message directly to his father.
The only thing that prevented him from doing so was the sensitive nature of the messages.
Did he later send the information to Donald Trump? Did Donald Jr. send it to his father? We don’t know but experts believe this may not be the only messages in the chain.
Perhaps there is more and they are being held back to protect President Trump.
3. Trump Jr. had such high confidence in the Russian source, he did not hesitate to forward it to Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, both high-ranking campaign officials
Donald Jr. after reading the messages thought they had a goldmine and did not hesitate to involve Manafort and Kushner. Even though both men were notified only a day before the meeting was to take place, they dropped everything to attend.
The Trump team was expecting high level information on Hillary Clinton, “incriminating” information that came as a result of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
4. The Trumps thought they were getting official Russian government document and information directly from the Kremlin.
The “Crown prosecutor of Russia” referenced in the messages is not a known official title in the Russian government but it could have been referring to the prosecutor general of Russia. His name is Yury Yakovlevich Chaika.
He was appointed by Vladimir Putin and had direct access to and support of, Russian President Putin. Whatever information he possessed, the Trumps thought, had to have come from Russian intelligence and approved by Putin himself.
This confirms that Donald Trump Jr. knew he was meeting with a Russian government official despite his claim to the contrary.
5. If information is “high level” and “sensitive” it means it must be important. The Trumps thought they were getting something really important.
The email said the whole exercise “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Anything else to add here?
There is no doubt Donald Trump Jr. knew what he was getting into and what he stood to gain by meeting the Russian lawyer who flew in from Moscow to meet with them.
6. The Trumps wanted any dirt on Hillary Clinton, they didn’t care where it came from or whether it broke the law.
Trump Jr. said in the email it “seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
His concern wasn’t about the country. He was concerned about two things – how soon he could get the information and the right time to use it for maximum effect.
7. Trump Jr. wanted the dirt immediately.
In the email, he asked “Rob could we speak now?”
72 hours after the initial exchange with Rob Goldstone, Donald Jr. in response to an email from Goldstone asked if they could speak immediately.
Talk about a man in a hurry.
8. A meeting was scheduled with this Russian government lawyer flying in to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton. Donald Jr. had no problems taking this meeting.
Part of the email messages read “Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.”
The information they were bringing to Trump Jr. was supposed to be so sensitive that it was better delivered and received in person instead of over the phone.
Until the release of the emails, Donald Jr. had insisted that he didn’t know the identity of the person he was meeting with when he took the meeting.
That may still be true but he knew the person was an important official from the Russian government so he agreed to the meeting.
9. There was another Russian in the meeting
The messages refer to two Russians present during the meeting. Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya said in an interview the person was just an interpreter.
So why did she refuse to name this “interpreter”?
10. The Trumps knowingly broke the law
The law states that soliciting anything of value from non-Americans is a violation of the campaign finance law.
This includes opposition research.
Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya is not an American citizen and experts believe Donald Trump Jr. broke the law.
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