Ethics Hero: Donald Trump, Jr.

Donald Trump, Jr. just released the entire e-mail chain that the New York Times alluded to (without actually seeing it) in a front page story designed to advance the Russian-Trump collusion  narrative.

Good for him. It would be wonderful if this were the usual course, in the Trump administration and every other one. Stop stonewalling, get the facts out, and take whatever comes.

Observations:

1. New York criminal defense attorney Eric Turkewitz, seemingly displaying  the ethics of his breed, implies that Trump, Jr.’s attorney would have been telling him to delete the messages. That would be unethical, and quite probably spoliation, since the e-mails could be reasonably seen as likely to be sought in an investigation already underway. My assumption is that Trump’s lawyer approved the release. Maybe Eric would have too.

2. Vox, among others, are tracking down partisan election law lawyers who will argue that young Donald was violating election laws. I’m extremely dubious of that.

The relevant statute language:

A solicitation is an oral or written communication that, construed as reasonably understood in the context in which it is made, contains a clear message asking, requesting, or recommending that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.

Unless one is determined to read the statute as meaning what it pretty clearly does not, “value” means monetary value, not “useful.”  “Value” could reasonable mean services, like spending time and resources hacking DNC computers. But handing over a document already acquired? How is that value if it didn’t cost anything? If the information was not illegally obtained by the Russians, and we have no way of knowing whether it was, then simply receiving proffered information that might be useful in a campaign doesn’t involve a campaign in a crime.

3.  “Colluding” is a pejorative term, but not a legal one. Is an American “colluding” with a foreign power once he or she has been told that the power wants a particular result, and the American takes steps to accomplish the same result, but in his own interests? Is that a crime? No.

4. Of course, the meeting involved never resulted in any “valuable” information being conveyed. So now the argument is that this was an attempted election law violation. Thinner and thinner…

5. I assume that the news media will continue to hype the story to advance the “collusion” narrative. The e-mails at least provide some facts to evaluate what occurred. What I see is a a campaign team’s attempt receive useful information from a Russian source, based on the characterization by a single individual in e-mails, resulting in a meeting with a Russian lawyer not in fact in the government, that Trump, Jr. may not have even known was Russian, that ended up conveying nothing useful at all. It’s not “a nothing-burger” but it isn’t a scandal or a likely crime either, and certainly not worthy of front page headlines based on what is known.

6. The anti-Trump mob obviously doesn’t see enough to form a lynching party in Don, Jr.’s e-mails, so it is already claiming they must have been doctored. That would be incredibly stupid, even for a Trump. This reaction does illustrate how nothing will ever stop the Anti-Trump Furies from their Ahab-like obsession.

7. There is no such person as “The Crown Prosecutor” of Russia. Make of that what you will.

______________________

Pointer: Liz Shield

185 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

185 responses to “Ethics Hero: Donald Trump, Jr.

  1. Didn’t charles imply that “coming clean” would calm the furies down?

    • charlesgreen

      I think it will! For exactly the reasons Jack suggests. We tend to give credit to folks who come clean, and while I wouldn’t have thought of Don Jr as an “ethics hero,” if the shoe fits, wear it. At least on this one occasion.

      • fattymoon

        Twitter is having a ball with Trump Junior as Fredo.

      • Well, it should, anyway. But you should read the anti-Trump brigade on Twiiter. Don Jr. just admitted treason!!!

      • Odd, I read Jack’s #6 as distinctly indicating it hasn’t calmed them down, and what is actually happening overrides what should happen for the reasons Jack suggests.

      • charlesgreen

        I wrote the above on July 11, right after Don Jr “came clean.”

        Ha!

        Since then we found out that he discovered transparency a hair’s breadth before being ‘outed’ by the New York Times.

        He then doubled down on transparency with Fox News, claiming he’d said everything there was to be said.

        And then this morning we find out he STILL hasn’t figured out how to be transparent – that a former counter-intelligence agent just happened to be in the room with him too.

        Jack, you made the error in good faith – and I went along with you. But I would sure like to say, at this point, “Ethics hero? Hell no!!” What about you?

        How many more outrageous examples of lying do we have to tolerate before enough people come to their senses about the mafia-like family who now infests the White House?

        • How did that Russian citizen happen to be in our country? Who let her overstay her authorization? Who bent the rules to let her in in the first place?

        • How many more outrageous examples of lying do we have to tolerate before enough people come to their senses about the mafia-like family who now infests the White House?

          Wow. Everything you said there applied to the Obama Admin, and would have applied even better to a Clinton one.

          They are all crooks.

          • charlesgreen

            “Everything you said there applied to the Obama Admin, and would have applied even better to a Clinton one.”

            I can only say I think you’re deluded if you actually believe that.

            It looks more and more to me like that Trump got catfished by the Russians. This whole email invitation was such a blatant violation of commonsense and politics 101, that it only makes sense to consider the KBG trying them on for size to assess how truly dupe-worthy they’d be.

            Consider:

            Boris: Natasha, can you believe zese fools? We send them an email, from a pop music guy, using made-up titles of Royal Prosecutors, telling them we actually have “officlal” documents to “prove” that we’ve got new info on the most oppo-researched US candidate in the last four decades; and this bozo Junior not only responds positively, but in WRITING! Not only that, but he invites the head of whole campaign – our old buddy Manafort! Can you believe our good luck?! They bought the whole thing!

            Natasha: Yes Boris, and not only that, I think we can send in anyone we like and he’ll buy it. Let’s send in an attractive woman lawyer who’s already been in the country legally to defend our outrageous attack on their attack on your suspension of adoption. But let’s also send in an experienced counter-intelligence guy to keep tabs. Do you think they’ll atually go for it?

            Boris: Probably not. The kid son-in-law will probably pull the plug; if not him, then almost certainly Manafort will smell the rat. But hey what have we got to lose! Put it out there. And Natasha, even if they never take the meeting – we’ve already got the Kid Moron on the record as having enthusiastically agreed to meet with us! He’ll never want to admit to that iun public! I can’t imagine our good luck at having such politically naive people actually running seriously for the Presidency.

            Natasha: Of course not. The running dog lackey press in the US would crucify him and his dad if it ever got out. Which means we’ve got him already! How can it get better than that!

            Boris: I’ll tell you how, Natasha! First of all, the Dumb Boy has probably already blabbed to his father about this. Which means we’ve got not only the KId comprpomised, but the father too. Because if it ever comes out, then his father will either deny he knew about it, or have to confess he know about our whole cockamamie catfish scheme already. Either way is good for us, yes, Natasha?

            Natasha: Yes! First the kid will deny, in which case we can always black mail him. And if he told his dad, we’ve got him too. And if any of this ever comes out, they get into a whole other level of blackmail – sorry, I mean Kompromat – when they have to decide whether to continue denying, or admit it.

            Boris: That’s right, Natasha. The deal was over when the Donald Boy agreed in writing to meet with us. All else is gravy on the dying capitalist cake! First we win by killing of Hillary; then we win by disintegrating the entire political process by making a mockery of the election.

            Natasha: And Boris, one more thing: can you imagine what would happen if this Trump guy ever actually GOT ELECTED!!?? Then this whole catfish scheme would be played out from WITHIN THE WHITE HOUSE.

            Boris: Now you’re dreaming, Natasha. The Americans aren’t THAT crazy.

            • I can only say I think you’re deluded if you actually believe that.

              Obama told lies for eight years, Charles. You cannot wish that away: democrats OWN it. Hillary was the same way, so it is perfectly legit to assume she would not change once in office: she did not any time she served before, after all.

              Please.

              Notice I did not take a side in my comment: Politicians lie, and so what? There is rarely any consequence unless they are GOP, and not even always then.

              What about my questions?

              “How did that Russian citizen happen to be in our country? Who let her overstay her authorization? Who bent the rules to let her in in the first place?”

              Seems like Obama’s DOJ went out of their way to get this person in country, taking the extraordinary step of interceding in an immigration matter (a visa grant.)

              The Russians may not have been alone in the catfish scheme… I smell a rat.

              http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/341788-exclusive-doj-let-russian-lawyer-into-us-before-she-met-with-trump

            • Chris

              This is a fantastic, hilarious write-up, charles. Well done.

        • 1) Mafia-like is a wildly unfair slur, and I think you would acknowledge that. i grew up in a region where the Mob was active. Wherever you draw the line, the Mob is on a different side of it than the Trumps That’s a Trump hate tell.

          2) As far as what the significance of the meeting was, what Trump Jr. said by releasing the e-mails was enough. The e-mail exposure may have been against advice of counsel. See, Charles, this is just blatant goalpost shifting. Since the meeting didn’t do anything, it doesn’t matter who else was there. Literally doesn’t matter. In this country, it’;s not a crime to meet someone or to think you are going to be told something you may find useful. There is no guilt by association. There is no conspiracy without a law to break. People can talk to each other.

          3) With the e-mail, he didn’t deny deny deny. By contemporary practice, that’s heroic enough

          • charlesgreen

            “1) Mafia-like is a wildly unfair slur, and I think you would acknowledge that. i grew up in a region where the Mob was active. Wherever you draw the line, the Mob is on a different side of it than the Trumps”

            First, they just hired a Mafia lawyer. That’s late-night TV fodder, and fairly so, and it was in that same satirical sense that I was making the allusion. I agree it’s important to be clear in such matters, but I think there’s still room for a bit of pointed humor.

            As to the mob being on a different side than the Trumps: I think that is not entirely clear.
            First, read this story about Trump’s connections to the mob:
            http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/05/donald-trump-2016-mob-organized-crime-213910

            Second, everyone knows and admits that Trump’s own standard business practices amount to “I’ll screw you whenever I can, and you’ll have to go broke trying to sue me to prevent it.” Standard business practice for Trump, and I know people first hand who experienced it first-hand.

            Now, that’s not Mafia – it’s even legal (except in those cases where people actually did fight back, and beat him). But that’s far far far from ethjical, and even far from standard business practice. Which means in my book he’s closer to mafia than he is to standard business practices practiced by the vast majority of law-abiding and ethical businesspeople.

            “Mafia-like” is NOT a wildly unfair slur; it is in fact a reasonable comparison to make for someone who’s avowed and practiced approach to business is heavily made up of brute force intimidation, intentional lying, and use of the law as a blunt instrument, rather than as a force for seeking justice.

            Not only is “Mafia-like” not not a “wildly unfair slur,” I’d say it’s a pretty good simile.

            • fattymoon

              I’m with Charles (and Chris) but you knew that. As for Jack and his supporters in this fast evolving pit of slime, my love of all things ketchup doth apply here. https://medium.com/@FarkleUp/i-hear-you-now-pass-the-ketchup-eafb2ac02235

            • 1. It’s a slur. You have to know better. As I wrote many times before the election, Trump’s fields were construction, hotels and casinos. Of course he had a “record of repeated social and business dealings with mobsters, swindlers, and other crooks.” So did the Hiltons and Marriotts, Frank Sinatra, the Kennedys, Rose Mary Clooney and Harry Reid. That’s reason to be suspicious of Trump, as I am of anyone in those fields, but having to deal with the Mob doesn’t make someone a mobster.

              2. The vast majority of law-abiding and ethical business people don’t do business in construction, hotels, and Vegas. They can’t I couldn’t make hotel contracts for the Association of Trial lawyers without agreeing to kickbacks, which were approved by my board. If you want a big hotel deal, you enter a corrupt world. That’s why I would never vote for someone from that world, and didn’t—but it’s still not the same as being mobster.

              • charlesgreen

                To be clear: I said “like,” not “the same as.” That was intentional. It was a simile, not an equation.

                To behave “like a mobster” is to make a derogatory comparison. A slur, perhaps. A “wildly unfair slur?” No. A rather justified slur, I would suggest.

                (Though, a bemused question: is there a such thing as an unfair slur? A non-derogatory slur? Are there gradations of slur? I guess I’m suggesting if you have to add an adjective to describe ‘slur’, and an adverb on top of that to emphasize the adjective, then perhaps the original “slur” isn’t all that end-game horrific to begin with. I guess I think garden variety slur is what I meant, and honestly it still feels right to me. He’s a slur-worthy guy.

                • Once you say “like”, you enter a world of gradations.

                  I could say “you are like a pedophile” to which you would vehemently protest by saying you aren’t remotely comparable to being sexually attracted to children. And I could say “oh I only meant in that you have looked at children before… pedophiles look at children also”

                  That’s an hyper extreme version but to demonstrate the trouble of “like” slurs…

                  What you can reasonably argue is meant to be “like in only the remotest sense arguable” you KNOW is going to be read as “like is the most similar sense imaginable”.

                  • Chris

                    This really strikes me as pedantic. Does anyone really not understand what charles meant when he described the Trump family as “mafia-like?” As in, “Thuggish, dishonest, with no ideals beyond loyalty to the family, and constantly engaged in shady behavior?” It seems a perfectly apt and easily understood comparison. If you want to believe that he meant Donald has Eric put horse heads in John Podesta’s bed, that’s fine, but I think charles’ meaning was clear.

                    • You’re an expert on pedantry, so you’d know. And I think my warning is fair. Any “like” comparison (and we have to use them) creates a continuum of connotation, denotation and intended descriptions that are rife for inaccuracy.

                    • This could easily be a comment to Charles, but I’m lazy: when someone uses “like” they can argue that that the primary characteristics attached to the simile choice didn’t apply. The Mafia suggests not “shady behavior”—the Clintons suggest shady behavior. The Mafia means murder, and illegal activities. If family is the point, with ethical weakness, then say the Trumps are “like” the Kennedys. That’s a fair comparison.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Two interesting examples of others using “Mafia-like” to refer to Trump:

                      First, a Fox News headline from Charles Krauthammer, saying “Krauthammer: Trump sounds like ‘mafia boss’ in Comey threat.”
                      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/12/krauthammer-trump-sounds-like-mafia-boss-in-comey-threat.html

                      Second, from The Hill, the headline “Former chief of staff to Colin Powell: Trump administration ‘like a mafia family.’
                      http://thehill.com/homenews/media/336910-lawrence-wilkerson-trump-admin-like-a-mafia-family

                      In the first case, the comparison is made with respect to “not sounding presidential,” as in ““That’s unpresidential, which is kind of a nice way of saying that that sounds more like a mafia boss than the President of a free republic,” said Krauthammer.”

                      In the second case, the comparison is made with respect to an autocratic leader demanding loyalty, as in, ““That’s essentially the way I view President Trump now, as the Godfather,” Wilkerson added. “As the member that orchestrates everything within his team and expects loyalty, honest or otherwise.”

                      In neither of those two cases – both taken from the top half of page one of a google search on “trump mafia like” – does the comparison evoke or invoke “murder or illegal activities,” as you suggest. Instead, they both refer to characteristics of managerial style, which is a lot closer to what I was suggesting.

                      That’s not me, that’s Google speaking about common usage of the term “Mafia-like” when describing Trump. By contrast, I don’t see anywhere comparing Trump to the Mafia and suggesting murder or blatant illegal activities. I think my common language usage is more common than yours, at least in this one case.

                    • It’s not worth belaboring, but to belabor…1) a single statement or incident can justify the simile in describing the single incident, and 2) the second is disingenuous. There are no non-criminal figures to use in describing a leader who demands loyalty? Come on. Wilkerson is disingenuous.3) If someone compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, because, he says, “he’s a compelling speaker,” is that fair rhetoric?

          • Chris

            3) I stand by the point, not yet addressed, that it is in no way “heroic” to reveal information one has intentionally withheld from the public until the last minute before one is going to be caught. And again, Trump Jr. did deny the existence of such meetings back in March when he was asked if he ever met with Russian individuals in relation to the campaign, and if he ever did so to discuss Russian policy. Both of his answers at the time were lies. That is “deny deny deny” territory.

            • No one is obligated to release personal e-mails. Your premise is false.

              • Chris

                What? My premise is that people are obligated to not lie in interviews, which Don Jr. did, which you keep ignoring. His release of the e-mails proved that he lied. His release of the e-mails was also timed only to get ahead of a story, therefore it was not an ethical act at all, but a self-serving one.

                • …people are obligated to not lie in interviews…

                  where did you come up with that one? Obligated? Really?

                  Most politicians could never be interviewed if this was an actual standard.
                  ‘Most’ because there might be an honest one out there… maybe a dog catcher somewhere.

                  Yes, Chris, I am cynical on Fridays… working a full week rips holes in my filter.

                  • Chris

                    That seems like an “everybody does it” rationalization. Yes, even politicians are obligated to tell the truth. There are times when they can’t–if they’re being asked to divulge information that’s classified, for instance. But generally speaking, they are obligated to not lie whenever possible.

                    But even if you can excuse other types of lies, you’d need a pretty good reason. What was the reason for Donald Trump Jr.’s lie about meeting with Russian individuals as part of the campaign and talking about Russian policy? We keep being told the meeting isn’t a big deal–so why lie about it?

                    • That seems like an “everybody does it” rationalization. Yes, even politicians are obligated to tell the truth.

                      Yes it is… and it goes to show how you seem to wish to apply a standard your side scoffs at, let alone follows. My side is learning fast… 😦

                      Obama and Hillary lied without reason, Chris. Why do you suddenly find this important?

  2. Glenn Logan

    Of course, the meeting involved never resulted in any “valuable” information being conveyed. So now the argument is that this was an attempted election law violation. Thinner and thinner…

    Conspiracy! This is a clear conspiracy to do… something. Except a) the conspiracy conspired to do nothing illegal that we know of, and b) the object of the conspiracy was manifestly involved in felonious conduct at the time.

    What a great country! What a great media! Democracy dies in darkness, you know, and nothing can be more opaque than a conspiracy that doesn’t violate the law.

    The anti-Trump mob obviously doesn’t see enough to form a lynching party in Don, Jr.’s e-mails, so it is already claiming they must have been doctored. That would be incredibly stupid, even for a Trump. This reaction does illustrate how nothing will ever stop the Anti-Trump Furies from their Ahab-like obsession.

    What do we call people who do the same thing over and over again trying to get a different result, again? I forgot.

    Vox, among others, are tracking down partisan election law lawyers who will argue that young Donald was violating election laws. I’m extremely dubious of that.

    Yes, but here’s the manly man and the media’s 2nd favorite Republican, Lindsay Graham:

    “Okay, so any time you’re in a campaign and you get a offer from a foreign government to help your campaign, the answer is no,” Graham said. “So, I don’t know what Mr. Trump Jr.’s version of the facts are. Definitely he has to testify. That email is disturbing.”
    “But what is equally odd is that the person they met with knew absolutely nothing,” Graham added. “So I don’t know why they would pick somebody for him to meet with who didn’t have information about the Clinton campaign, but on its face, this is very problematic.”

    Okay, so what if a) you didn’t know it was from a foreign government offering the info and b) said government provided nothing of value, or even responsive to the “Okay…” part of Graham’s statement? Can nothing plus nothing equal something? Only in Graham’s world.

    • Chris

      Okay, so what if a) you didn’t know it was from a foreign government offering the info

      Read the e-mails. Don Jr. was explicitly told that the info came from the Russian government.

      • Glenn Logan

        So? If it was legally obtained, the information would be perfectly fine.

        • Chris

          You implied Don Jr. might not have known the info was from a foreign government, so I corrected you.

          Don’t say “So?” when you’ve been proven ignorant about something; it’s childish, and indicates that you don’t care about being informed.

          • Glenn Logan

            I concede the correction, fair point.

            Concerning the second paragraph, up your ass with a lead pipe, Chris.

            • Chris

              I accept your concession, but not your pipe.

              • Glenn Logan

                Figures. But the pipe’s what you deserve for that remark.

                • Chris

                  I stand by it. I corrected an error you made and you took it as an opportunity to attack my main argument even though it had nothing to do with my main argument. I’ve noticed the conservatives on this blog do that a lot.

                  Your counter-argument was also irrelevant; whether the Russian government obtained the info legally or not has no bearing on whether it was legal for the Trump campaign to solicit that information from them. You seem to think it does, but you are making that idea up from whole cloth.

  3. Glenn Logan

    This just keeps getting better and better. The Russian lawyer scheduled to meet Trump Jr. said he wanted information about Hillary Clinton and the DNC as it pertained to illegal offshore campaign contributions from Russia:

    In the NBC interview, Veselnitskaya said that Trump Jr. asked her only one question during the meeting, which was “whether I had any financial records which might prove that the funds used to sponsor the DNC were coming from inappropriate sources.” Veselnitskaya said that she had no such records and that “it was never my intention to collect any financial records to that end.”

    So Trump Jr. was trying to obtain evidence of DNC lawbreaking, according to the person he met with. And even more interesting, at no point in all my reading do I detect any hint from any party that the information to be provided was other than legally obtained.

    Rich irony, no doubt. Can’t wait to see the Democrat spin on this.

    • charlesgreen

      “Can’t wait to see the Democrat spin on this.”
      Spin? How about the facts on the record?
      How do you spin the admission of a 6th person in attendance, a former counter intelligence officer, after a flat denial by Don Jr. that there were any more shoes to drop?
      How do you spin the now-obvious involvement of the President himself in vainly trying to spin this debacle?

      Remember: It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup that gets you.

      • Can’t cover up a non-crime, which increasing weight of authority agrees that it is. As I said.

        • Let me be even clearer: since the meeting, the object of the meeting, what happened at the meeting and the fact that the participants there were there were all legal, there was no attempt to do anything illegal, no law was broken and nobody was trying to break any laws, no one has interfered with an ongoing investigation or lied to law enforcement officials. There can be no cover-up when there is nothing to cover-up. Knowing this, Don Jr, would have been within his rights to say: nothing happened that is any of your business or the public’s. Try to prove otherwise. That was the Clinton approach with her e-mails, when there WAS a clear attempt to get around a law, the Freedom of Information Act.

          This is like waiting for the Messiah. IT’S HIM!!! No? Ooops. Sorry. WAIT! THERE! It’s HIM!!! I JUST KNOW IT!!

          • Chris

            Can’t cover up a non-crime, which increasing weight of authority agrees that it is. As I said.

            As far as I’m aware, Jack, you never alleged that any actual crime was committed by Clinton and the Obama administration during the Benghazi affair, merely incompetent planning and lies. And yet you used the term “cover-up” to describe their actions regarding the Benghazi affair numerous times. Has your position changed, and if so, why?

            no one has interfered with an ongoing investigation or lied to law enforcement officials.

            This is not true; Jared Kushner lied about the existence of this meeting on his security clearance.

            • Fair point, although your quote is always used in the context of Watergate, and other criminal investigations, or when crimes are committed to avoid a scandal, as in Clinton’s lies in court. I think a President manipulating the news and coordinating lies to deceive the electorate before an election IS a high crime, in fact, though not illegal. It’s an abuse of power. Would Obama risk impeachment if it was shown that he hid highly damaging incompetence from the public using his appointees to do it? I think so.

              Nothing similar here that I can see.

              Have you answered my hypothetical about the FBI?

              • Chris

                I think a President manipulating the news and coordinating lies to deceive the electorate before an election IS a high crime, in fact, though not illegal. It’s an abuse of power. Would Obama risk impeachment if it was shown that he hid highly damaging incompetence from the public using his appointees to do it? I think so.

                Possibly, if the political will existed for an impeachment.

                Have you answered my hypothetical about the FBI?

                Do you mean the one in this post?

                https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/07/12/observations-on-the-trump-jr-collusion-attempt/

                I meant to. I’ll go there and do that now.

        • charlesgreen

          I will defer to your legal judgment. But not your political judgment.

          Maybe covering up a non-crime is legal. But politically speaking, a “cover-up” inevitably conjures up the question of “what the hell is he hiding?” And the continued drip drip of daily revelations is deadly. And impeachment is a political, not a legal, process.

          This is just how Watergate started.

          • charlesgreen wrote, “Maybe covering up a non-crime is legal. But politically speaking, a “cover-up” inevitably conjures up the question of “what the hell is he hiding?” And the continued drip drip of daily revelations is deadly.”

            Charles,
            When the there is an ongoing witch hunt, everything get’s turned into “what the hell is he hiding” conspiracy theories. Respectfully; you’re going down the road of justifying delusions*, it’s anti-intellectual garbage; please don’t go there.

            *Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument.

          • 1. “But politically speaking, a “cover-up” inevitably conjures up the question of “what the hell is he hiding?”
            That’s the Big Lie process, Charles. When the ill-considered Commission og voter fraud asked for voter information and states properly said, “That not for you to have,” the response was “what the hell are they hiding?” When police ask questions that an arrested citizen doesn’t have to answer and refuses, they say, “what are you hiding?”

            2. “And impeachment is a political, not a legal, process.” UGH. A talking point, and a half-truth. It’s a political process that has to follow the law, as in the Constitution. You cannot impeach just because you want to. That makes it a legal AND political process. You have to drop that line.

            3. No, Watergate started with an unquestioned CRIME by individuals working for a political party. The nexus was already established at the outset; the question was who was involved, with the certainty that someone was. Watergate remains a misleading comparison.

  4. Chris

    My God…

    The entire premise of this article is flawed. Don Jr. only released these e-mails because they were going to be released by the media. That does not make him an “ethics hero.” Nor does releasing incriminating information on oneself after one has already done something wrong.

    2. Negative information on one’s opponent has obvious value to a political campaign.

    3. “Colluding” is a pejorative term, but not a legal one. Is an American “colluding” with a foreign power once he or she has been told that the power wants a particular result, and the American takes steps to accomplish the same result, but in his own interests? Is that a crime? No.

    They’re colluding if they work with the foreign power to obtain that result, which is exactly what Donald Trump Jr. attempted to do as per his e-mails.

    4. 4. Of course, the meeting involved never resulted in any “valuable” information being conveyed. So now the argument is that this was an attempted election law violation. Thinner and thinner…

    But we don’t know that. All we have is Don Jr.’s word that no valuable information was conveyed at the meeting. Given that he previously denied ever having met with any individual from Russia as part of his father’s campaign, then denied discussing Russian policies, then confirmed discussing Russian policies, then denied the meeting was about the campaign, then confirmed he went there to help the campaign…I would like you to provide me one good reason we should take his word as fact.

    But I think the e-mails provide enough evidence of solicitation, which is an actual election law violation, not an attempted one, even if the solicitee doesn’t actually come through with the goods.

    5. 5. I assume that the news media will continue to hype the story to advance the “collusion” narrative. The e-mails at least provide some facts to evaluate what occurred. What I see is a a campaign team’s attempt receive useful information from a Russian source, based on the characterization by a single individual in e-mails, resulting in a meeting with a Russian lawyer not in fact in the government, that Trump, Jr. may not have even known was Russian, that ended up conveying nothing useful at all. It’s not “a nothing-burger” but it isn’t a scandal or a likely crime either, and certainly not worthy of front page headlines based on what is known.

    What? Read the e-mails again. Goldstone specifically tells Don Jr. that the information is “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Whether he knew the individual he was meeting with was Russian or not, he believed that the information promised him was from the Russian government when he agreed to the meeting. This also casts a pall over the Trump administration’s refusal to admit that the Russian government was not merely opposed to Hillary, but actively in favor of Trump.

    • “2. Negative information on one’s opponent has obvious value to a political campaign.”

      This is part of the reason why the church didn’t print bibles in Germany before Martin Luther. Look “Value” in a legal sense is not anything upon which value could conceivably be conferred. A hug can have value to someone in need of comfort, it doesn’t meet the legal standards of having “value”.

    • Glenn Logan

      But we don’t know that. All we have is Don Jr.’s word that no valuable information was conveyed at the meeting.

      No, we also have the word of the person who conveyed what information there was. I think that’s significant, don’t you?

      But I think the e-mails provide enough evidence of solicitation, which is an actual election law violation, not an attempted one, even if the solicitee doesn’t actually come through with the goods.

      Solicitation? Wasn’t Trump Jr. the one contacted first? Why, yes, I believe he was. But even regarding the conversation, what he asked for was evidence of a crime by the DNC, specifically illegal money from Russia. So even if that counts as “solicitation,” what he was soliciting was not only illegal, but in the public interest if it actually existed.

      Yes, it would also help his dad’s campaign, but there is nothing legally wrong with asking a person connected with a foreign power for opposition research, as long as it is legally obtained.

      What? Read the e-mails again. Goldstone specifically tells Don Jr. that the information is “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

      Why is this a problem, Chris? Can we assume that the lawyer who told Goldstone a lie to get the meeting was telling the truth about this? Why?

      Russia’s support for Trump was well known and explicit, even then:

      We knew as far back as 2015 that Putin thought highly of a Trump presidency. After all, he said during a December 2015 news conference, Trump “is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”

      I don’t find that ambiguous, nor wrong. If Putin helped Trump win by hacking the DNC, that’s a problem for the DNC. They were offered help by the US Government to find out more about that event, yet they refused. Interesting to me, maybe not to you, especially considering the fact that the DNC’s IT staff was so incompetent as to be unable to stop a spear-phishing attack in the first place. That leads me to doubt their claim of “remediation.”

      • Chris

        No, we also have the word of the person who conveyed what information there was. I think that’s significant, don’t you?

        It’s significant, but it doesn’t prove no information was exchanged; she has motive to lie as well.

        But there were other people at the meeting; we’ll see what they all say when they are inevitably put under oath.

        Yes, it would also help his dad’s campaign, but there is nothing legally wrong with asking a person connected with a foreign power for opposition research, as long as it is legally obtained.

        I would really like you to cite some kind of precedent or authority on this. It seems like a ton of former GOP campaign officials disagree with you:

        “I’ve been involved in 9 presidential campaigns … never happened, never would happen for all kinds of reasons,” said GOP consultant John Weaver, who advised the White House bids by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

        Rick Tyler, a former top aide to the presidential campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz Texas, said he would have called the FBI if approached by a foreign agent from an adversarial nation like Russia.

        “Senior presidential campaign officials don’t take meetings with nameless people. Doesn’t happen,” Tyler said.

        Cruz emerged as one of Trump’s main foes in last year’s Republican race.

        Michael Steel, a former top aide to the presidential campaign of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said the presence of a campaign manager at such a meeting would be unusual.

        “Aside from the candidate himself, the campaign manager’s time is among the most valuable resources for any campaign,” he told HuffPost. “So, yes, it would be very odd for the campaign manager to appear at a meeting with a more-or-less random foreigner claiming they’re peddling [opposition research.]”

        Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, echoed that sentiment.

        “If you can find someone in other presidential campaigns who has received oppo from foreign interests, please share,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to opposition research.

        Stevens noted an episode during the 2000 presidential campaign when debate preparation materials from the campaign of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) were mysteriously mailed to the campaign of his Democratic opponent, then-Vice President Al Gore. Thomas Downey, Gore’s debate coach, contacted the FBI when he realized the package contained leaked information from Bush’s campaign.

        Richard Painter, the former top ethics lawyer in Bush’s administration and a frequent Trump critic, suggested Trump Jr. ought to have done the same.

        Richard W. Painter @RWPUSA
        When a Russian agent calls to offer dirt on a political opponent, a loyal American will call the FBI.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-meeting-russia-campaign_us_5963a7a0e4b0615b9e936e06

        Why is this a problem, Chris? Can we assume that the lawyer who told Goldstone a lie to get the meeting was telling the truth about this? Why?

        We can assume that Don Jr. didn’t think it was a lie when he was told the information came from the Russian government, or he wouldn’t have attended the meeting.

        Russia’s support for Trump was well known and explicit, even then:

        We knew as far back as 2015 that Putin thought highly of a Trump presidency. After all, he said during a December 2015 news conference, Trump “is an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”

        I’m glad you acknowledge this. Trump supporters, as well as those who don’t support him but whose bias against the media and the “deep state” has blinded them to reality, have been arguing that there is no evidence that Russia favored Trump for months. The argument that Putin had no reason to favor Trump over Hillary was made on this blog by a regular commenter as recently as yesterday.

        If Putin helped Trump win by hacking the DNC, that’s a problem for the DNC.

        No, hacking in an attempt to influence our election is a problem for America.

        They were offered help by the US Government to find out more about that event, yet they refused.

        That article says they were getting help from the FBI at the time they refused help from DHS.

        • Glenn Logan

          I would really like you to cite some kind of precedent or authority on this. It seems like a ton of former GOP campaign officials disagree with you…

          Let’s see… Aides to John McCain and John Kasich? Ted Cruz, who hates Trump? Jeb Bush’s aide? All these guys hate Trump, and it stands to reason their aides do as well.

          That’s like citing a Hillary Clinton campaign worker to critique Barak Obama’s tenure, or seek an opinion from a Bernie Sanders aide on the DNC’s activities during the last campaign. It’s an attempt at confirmation bias, and you are smart enough to know that.

          We can assume that Don Jr. didn’t think it was a lie when he was told the information came from the Russian government, or he wouldn’t have attended the meeting.

          Yes, that’s no doubt true. The point is, they lied to get Trump Jr. there, he wanted something both legal and of public interest, no suggestion of illegality was made by anyone that we’ve seen so far.

          So I fail to see the problem there, other than it was stupid for Trump Jr. to take the meeting rather than a lackey. Given all the red flags in Goldstone’s email, he probably should’ve demured altogether. But I don’t blame him for trying to get information that Russia helped Clinton — that’s been a long-time concern of the RNC and others. Wouldn’t it be droll if it turned out they actually did contribute financially to her campaign?

          Maybe you think that it doesn’t make sense, but it does — businesses contribute to both parties all the time just to make sure they have access to whoever gets elected. It seems logical to assume the Russians might’ve wanted that as well, but of course, that’s pure speculation.

          I’m glad you acknowledge this. Trump supporters, as well as those who don’t support him but whose bias against the media and the “deep state” has blinded them to reality, have been arguing that there is no evidence that Russia favored Trump for months.

          The reality is, Russia saw Trump as a man they can deal with. Nothing wrong with that. Did you find anything wrong with Barak Obama’s promise to Putin back during his late first term that he’d have “more flexibility” to deal with him after his re-election?

          I really didn’t, except due to my partisan bias. Russia is a geopolitical foe, an opponent, not an enemy, and I’d like to see better relations with them. I’d like Putin to be gone from the scene, for sure, but this media attempt to build Russia into some kind of enemy is bad for our interests, and I think it may actually help theirs in the near term. It gives them an excuse to work against us openly, and to keep the Russia crap going in order to weaken us. It’s always easier to negotiate on your terms. It isn’t as if we’re going to actually fight with them, however big we may talk.

          No, hacking in an attempt to influence our election is a problem for America.

          Then America should’ve stopped them — that’s what the federal government is for. There is no excuse. If our cyber-warfare-fu is that weak, and the DNC’s security that pathetic, we deserve what we get. It isn’t as if Russian hackers have been below the radar.

          That article says they were getting help from the FBI at the time they refused help from DHS.

          Yes, but they refused to turn over the server to the FBI or DHS. They were “getting help,” probably in the “Well, you have to install anti-malware on your servers and keep it updated” vein.

          • Chris

            Let’s see… Aides to John McCain and John Kasich? Ted Cruz, who hates Trump? Jeb Bush’s aide? All these guys hate Trump, and it stands to reason their aides do as well.

            OK, then why don’t you tell me who you would accept as a valid authority on these matters. Because you’ve essentially ruled out anyone except for people who worked directly on Trump’s campaign as inherently biased against him.

            The fact remains that we have examples of campaigns being handed oppo research by foreign governments…and then promptly handing them to the FBI. Why do that if they didn’t have to? Because they knew doing so could get them into legal trouble.

            Yes, that’s no doubt true. The point is, they lied to get Trump Jr. there,

            We don’t know that for a fact.

            he wanted something both legal and of public interest, no suggestion of illegality was made by anyone that we’ve seen so far.

            Soliciting info from a foreign government (and no, it doesn’t matter that they approached him first; merely expressing interest in the meeting could be enough to count as solicitation) on an opposing candidate is not legal.

            The reality is, Russia saw Trump as a man they can deal with. Nothing wrong with that. Did you find anything wrong with Barak Obama’s promise to Putin back during his late first term that he’d have “more flexibility” to deal with him after his re-election?

            No, because Obama was president at the time, and negotiating with a foreign power was his job. That is not comparable to what happened in this instance.

            Then America should’ve stopped them — that’s what the federal government is for. There is no excuse. If our cyber-warfare-fu is that weak, and the DNC’s security that pathetic, we deserve what we get. It isn’t as if Russian hackers have been below the radar.

            OK. So what do you propose the Trump administration do to stop it? They won’t even fully acknowledge the problem.

            • Glenn Logan

              OK, then why don’t you tell me who you would accept as a valid authority on these matters.

              I’ll give you a few names: Johnathan Turley, Eugene Volokh, Jack Marshall, Andrew McCarthy, Alan Dershowitz &msash; that’s five I’ll give you. I don’t trust a single politician, aide, or campaign worker to give anything but an answer that suits their bias.

              We don’t know that for a fact.

              Yes, we really do. It’s clear in the email chain compared with statements by all parties to the conversation.

              Soliciting info from a foreign government (and no, it doesn’t matter that they approached him first; merely expressing interest in the meeting could be enough to count as solicitation) on an opposing candidate is not legal.

              No, that’s simply wrong. I’ll take Turley or Dershowitz’s legal opinion over yours. In fact, I’ll take any of the above’s opinion over yours, even those who haven’t weighed in, because you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about, and neither do the politically biased lawyers you’ve cited.

              No, because Obama was president at the time, and negotiating with a foreign power was his job. That is not comparable to what happened in this instance.

              Yes, it is comparable. Putin is well within his rights to prefer one leader over another, just as Obama was within his rights to offer negotiation. Trump gave his opinion on Putin and thought he could deal with him, just like Obama did. That was part of his campaign, and a perfectly acceptable position.

              OK. So what do you propose the Trump administration do to stop it? They won’t even fully acknowledge the problem.

              Why should I have to propose anything? You’re the one making all the criticisms — you propose something. Better yet, don’t. You don’t know anything about the law and you doubtless know less about cybersecurity, but I’m willing to be proven wrong on the latter.

              • Chris

                I’ll give you a few names: Johnathan Turley, Eugene Volokh, Jack Marshall, Andrew McCarthy, Alan Dershowitz &msash; that’s five I’ll give you. I don’t trust a single politician, aide, or campaign worker to give anything but an answer that suits their bias.

                So…no one who actually worked on any campaign is qualified to talk about campaign laws. Got it.

                Your invocation of McCarthy shows that you don’t actually care whether someone is biased, as long as they’re biased in the same direction you are. McCarthy is a conservative ideologue.

                Volokh is very right-leaning as well. But there is more than one type of bias. I talked about the “false balance” bias below, and Jack’s proclamation of Donald Trump, Jr. as an “ethics hero” for revealing incriminating information about himself that was about to be revealed by the media, after repeatedly misleading about it, is smoking gun evidence of that bias; no truly objective observer could see that as truly ethical or heroic. I’d put Turley and Dershowitz in the “false balance” category as well.

                Yes, we really do. It’s clear in the email chain compared with statements by all parties to the conversation.

                Again, we don’t know for a fact that the parties to the conversation are being truthful when they say no information about Clinton was conveyed.

                No, that’s simply wrong. I’ll take Turley or Dershowitz’s legal opinion over yours. In fact, I’ll take any of the above’s opinion over yours, even those who haven’t weighed in, because you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about, and neither do the politically biased lawyers you’ve cited.

                It still doesn’t matter whether Russia obtained the info illegally or legally, only whether it was legal for the Trump campaign to solicit the info from them. Turley and Dershowitz say it was, on the basis that information is not a “thing of value” in the relevant portion of campaign law. Given the immense value of information to political campaigns, and the length they go to to obtain such information, I can’t take that position seriously regardless of who it’s coming from.

                Yes, it is comparable. Putin is well within his rights to prefer one leader over another, just as Obama was within his rights to offer negotiation.

                Sure, but no campaign is within their rights to work with a foreign government to further their campaign.

                Why should I have to propose anything? You’re the one making all the criticisms —

                Well, no–the part you’re replying to here was a response to your criticisms of the federal government under Obama. I think, at the very least, Trump needs to fully acknowledge Russian responsibility for the attacks (as you have, to your credit) and say he fully backs the sanctions already put in place under the Obama administration. But he refuses to do both of these things.

                • Glenn Logan

                  Okay, I’ve had enough of this … stuff. I’m tired of arguing with you over who is partisan and who isn’t, whether it’s okay or not to accept information offered falsely with no known quid pro quo. Every campaign finance lawyer knows that without a quid pro quo, there can’t be a crime, and that facts obtained legally, whoever the party obtaining them(foreign government or no), cannot have “value” in the sense of a campaign donation if there is no offered remuneration. What “value” could be placed on something that didn’t exist?

                  As far as what we know and what we don’t, whatever. Based on what we have every reason to know, and since there are no substantive discrepancies between the known conversant’s stories, my statement is correct and yours is “But if…”

                  If the Russian lady had offered to sell or trade that info for something of value (money, a favor) and Trump Jr. had accepted, then I can see at least a marginal argument. Absent that, there is none, and it doesn’t matter who thinks there is.

                  If a foreign government offered legally obtained factual data to a campaign, particularly of a crime committed by one of the contestants affecting said campaign, and there is no price demanded for it it isn’t a criminal act. We have no law covering that situation, which is, to the best of our knowledge, what Trump Jr. thought obtained at the time. Politically stupid, arguably. Criminal, no way.

                  This will be my final response on this matter here, so you get the last word.

                  • Chris

                    Okay, I’ve had enough of this … stuff. I’m tired of arguing with you over who is partisan and who isn’t,

                    I’m not a huge fan of the “biased source merry-go-round” either, but in this case, you brought it up by accusing the guys I brought up of bias. There are a few objectively awful sources out there–InfoWars, Gateway Pundit, that British lady who keeps saying Trump is about to be impeached every week whose name I can’t remember–but I don’t think either my sources or your sources fit the “too stupid and biased to even listen to” criteria. We can evaluate their biases without dismissing them entirely.

                    whether it’s okay or not to accept information offered falsely with no known quid pro quo. Every campaign finance lawyer knows that without a quid pro quo, there can’t be a crime,

                    Hm. I don’t think the law we’re discussing requires a quid pro quo–if a campaign accepts a financial contribution from a foreign government, that’s illegal even without a quid pro quo. We’ve been discussing whether or not information constitutes something of value–the quid pro quo argument seems brand new to me.

                    and that facts obtained legally, whoever the party obtaining them(foreign government or no), cannot have “value” in the sense of a campaign donation if there is no offered remuneration. What “value” could be placed on something that didn’t exist?

                    Again, he didn’t know whether it existed at the time. If an undercover police officer approaches you pretending to be a prostitute and you accept, that’s solicitation, even though the actual service doesn’t exist.

                    As far as what we know and what we don’t, whatever. Based on what we have every reason to know, and since there are no substantive discrepancies between the known conversant’s stories, my statement is correct and yours is “But if…”

                    Yes, but given that the story has changed three times in the past three days, I think “But if…” is a rational position to take. Assuming we have all the facts necessary right now is, IMO, somewhat gullible given how quickly each new relevant fact in this case has come to light

            • “The fact remains that we have examples of campaigns being handed oppo research by foreign governments…and then promptly handing them to the FBI. Why do that if they didn’t have to? Because they knew doing so could get them into legal trouble.”

              Well, since apparently (according to Trump, Jr) the Russian adoption agency lobbyist didn’t actually have any of the claimed dirt on the Clinton campaign, so we’ll never know if Junior and team would or would not have handed the intel over to the FBI. So I’m not sure how any of those examples are germaine.

              “Soliciting info from a foreign government (and no, it doesn’t matter that they approached him first; merely expressing interest in the meeting could be enough to count as solicitation) on an opposing candidate is not legal.”

              Soliciting? Was the information not offered? Clever word game you’re playing here.

        • Joe Fowler

          “That article says they were getting help from the FBI at the time they refused help from DHS.” The article, and DNC statement imply that, but a careful reading of other sources describe the following timeline:
          1. FBI contacts DNC about this.
          2. DNC tells FBI that their private security firm, CrowdStrike is on it; declines assistance.
          3. DHS contacts DNC, and are told that the DNC has already talked to the FBI, and CrowdStrike is on it.
          I’ve been unable to find a source that clearly states that any Federal agency has had access to, or examined the DNC spear fishing incident, or it’s servers. If you know of one, could you provide it?

    • “But we don’t know that. All we have is Don Jr.’s word that no valuable information was conveyed at the meeting. Given that he previously denied ever having met with any individual from Russia as part of his father’s campaign, then denied discussing Russian policies, then confirmed discussing Russian policies, then denied the meeting was about the campaign, then confirmed he went there to help the campaign…I would like you to provide me one good reason we should take his word as fact.”

      I think that way lies madness. More than you’re suffering from currently. Politically, this can be as damaging as people are willing to let it be, because politics is highly subjective… but pretending you can find legal arguments just because you really really want them to be there will frustrate you in the long term. Even if you weren’t fundamentally misunderstanding the legal definition of “value”, you’ll never be able to prove what went on in that meeting.

      • Chris

        I’ve already read plenty of legal experts argue that “something of value” can apply to information. But nevermind; you’ll dismiss all of them as biased, even if they’re right-leaning.

        So let’s apply common sense: politicians pay thousands and thousands of dollars on opposition research during political campaigns. The notion that damaging information on one’s opponent cannot be legally construed as “something of value” strikes me as absurd.

        • Glenn Logan

          Yeah, you’ve read all the wrong ones.

          • Chris

            I knew someone would say that, which is why I moved on to the common sense appeal. Information has value. In some cases, it has more value than money. Apparently, this meeting would have been objectively illegal if, after arriving at the meeting, Don Jr. et al. had received a $5 donation, but would not have been illegal had they received copies of Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted e-mails. I find that theory of the law preposterous.

            • Glenn Logan

              This is a specious argument, and it doesn’t hold water. Regardless of the value you ascribe to anything offered, two facts matter: A) it didn’t actually exist, and B) even if it does, the lack of a payment demand makes a value determination impossible. The Supreme Court ruled in McDonald vs. United States that absent a quid pro quo, a campaign donation is legal even if inappropriate.

              In this case, there wasn’t even an offer, since an offer of a thing of value necessarily requires a valuation by the offeror, or offeree. The very worst that can be said is that the the parties had a putative common interest.

              You get the last word.

              • Chris

                I confess I had to Google the case you brought up. Did you mean McDonnell v. United States? From what I can gather that case wasn’t about foreign contributions, so I’m not sure it applies here.

                But let’s say you’re right. I’m not sure why you seem so confident that today’s revelations are the last word on the matter. Here’s the claims we have from Trump Jr. and his defenders so far, paraphrased:

                March 2017:

                Jr: I have never met with any Russian individual as part of the campaign

                July 9, 2017:

                Jr: I did meet with a Russian individual as part of the campaign, but we only talked adoption, not campaign issues

                Defenders: See! Nothing about the campaign. No collusion!

                July 10, 2017:

                Jr: I was told we would talk about the campaign, specifically damaging info they had on Hillary, but we didn’t actually talk about that.

                Defenders: OK, this seems bad, but it’s not like he talked to anyone from the Russian government! A Russian individual is not the same as the Russian government (this was Jack’s argument earlier today, before this story broke)

                July 11, 2017:

                Jr: I went into the meeting because I was told they had information from the Russian government that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton, but they didn’t actually have anything. Also my dad knows nothing about this meeting.

                Defenders: OK, this seems bad, but taking information from a foreign government isn’t actually a crime!

                My point in tracking all this is…who knows what tomorrow will bring? Imagine tomorrow we find out that information was given. The excuse will then remain “Getting info from a foreign government isn’t a crime.” Fine. But then maybe the next day we find out Trump did know about the meeting. Maybe the next day we find out the information given was specifically about the hacked e-mails…then what? “Well, the info may have been illegally obtained by Russia, but it was fine for the Trump campaign to obtain it after the fact.” Then what if we find out there was a quid pro quo? What will the excuse be then?

                I’m not saying that this is going to happen. But the trend so far has been this: Trump or someone affiliated with him makes a claim. His defenders (and the anti-anti-Trumpers who dislike Trump but hate the Left and the media more) say the claim doesn’t mean anything. Then the claim is proven false. The usual suspects say it STILL doesn’t mean anything. Then more claims are proven false, and it’s still considered meaningless. At what point do you say to yourself…maybe the reason they keep lying is because they are hiding something that truly deserves to be investigated? Maybe the only reason we know *this* much of the truth is because the biased MSM that I keep calling “fake news” has done the work of getting these facts out there? Maybe I should wait and see what parts of this story are proven false before I parrot the party line?

                • Be a doll and copy paste the actual statements, in full please or at least links to the statements in full, and not your spun paraphrases.

                  Thanks!

                  Or we’ll make it easy, I’ll copy paste the statements, you just find me a source that has the full March interview transcript, all I can find so far is a context-less blurb on Vox (boy, I hope you aren’t relying on them as an authority…if you are, seek help). The context-less blurb certainly appears to be a lie, but then again, we’ve discovered several bits the left called “lies” turned out to be far different in context.

                  Here’s the 8 July statement by DTJr: (These are sourced from a CBS article, and the dates seem to be one off of the dates you quote for the statements and only has 2 substantive statements, whereas you seem to summarize 3 statements).

                  “It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.

                  I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”

                  Here’s your spin on that: “I did meet with a Russian individual as part of the campaign, but we only talked adoption, not campaign issues”

                  Here it is with everything inaccurate scratched out:

                  I did meet with a Russian individual as part of the campaign, but we only talked adoption, not campaign issues.

                  And modified for further accuracy:

                  “”I did meet with a Russian individual and members of the campaign were present, but we talked adoption, among other things, there was no follow up””

                  Here’s the 9 July statement:

                  “I was asked to have a meeting by an acquaintance I knew from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with an individual who I was told might have information helpful to the campaign. I was not told her name prior to the meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to attend, but told them nothing of the substance. We had a meeting in June 2016. 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. She then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act. It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting. I interrupted and advised her that my father was not an elected official, but rather a private citizen, and that her comments and concerns were better addressed if and when he held public office. The meeting lasted approximately 20 to 30 minutes. As it ended, my acquaintance apologized for taking up our time. That was the end of it and there was no further contact or follow-up of any kind. My father knew nothing of the meeting or these events.”

                  Here’s your spin on that: “I was told we would talk about the campaign, specifically damaging info they had on Hillary, but we didn’t actually talk about that.”

                  Here it is with everything inaccurate scratched out: “I was told we would talk about the campaign, specifically damaging info they had on Hillary, but we didn’t actually talk about that.”

                  It looks like you also took the same statement for your 3rd “summary”…in that case your 3rd “summary is remarkably closer to accurate. Well done.

                  “My point in tracking all this is…who knows what tomorrow will bring? “

                  Maybe so, until then, quit jumping to conclusions. Advice the Left has refused to listen to since all the way back on the Trayvon Martin George Zimmerman fiasco.

                  • Chris

                    Be a doll and copy paste the actual statements, in full please or at least links to the statements in full, and not your spun paraphrases.

                    Thanks!

                    Or we’ll make it easy, I’ll copy paste the statements, you just find me a source that has the full March interview transcript, all I can find so far is a context-less blurb on Vox (boy, I hope you aren’t relying on them as an authority…if you are, seek help). The context-less blurb certainly appears to be a lie, but then again, we’ve discovered several bits the left called “lies” turned out to be far different in context.

                    I thought I had already linked to the March interview here, but it was actually on the previous post about Donald Trump Jr.–the one which argued that the meeting was “nothing,” a “non-story,” and that implications that anyone involved was connected with the Russian government were “biased and misleading.”

                    But here it is again, with the relevant quote:

                    “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. … But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”

                    I think “I have never met with any Russian individual as part of the campaign” is a fair summation of that, but if you disagree I’m sure you’ll let me know.

                    I do seem to have mixed up the dates, and was a day behind on most of the statements; thanks for the corrections on those.

                    Here’s the 8 July statement by DTJr: (These are sourced from a CBS article, and the dates seem to be one off of the dates you quote for the statements and only has 2 substantive statements, whereas you seem to summarize 3 statements).

                    My bad.

                    I have no idea how to do strike tags so I won’t quote the parts of your argument relating to that. I accept your correction on that first quote, but I think it’s a bit of a technicality; most people would read that and come away with the impression that Trump Jr. was saying they did not discuss the campaign, and I think that was his intention. (Remember his earlier denial that he never spoke to a Russian individual as part of the campaign.)

                    Your second quote seems to be missing the strikethrough tags, but has parts underlined; I assume you meant to use strikethrough tags there? In which case, you seem to be arguing that a discussion about damaging info on Hillary Clinton is not a discussion about the campaign…which is ludicrous.

                    Maybe so, until then, quit jumping to conclusions.

                    What conclusions have I jumped to? I was actually suggesting caution on the part of those arguing that Trump Jr. definitely, most assuredly did not do anything illegal…so I was actually arguing against jumping to conclusions.

                    • Chris

                      *italicized, not underlined.

                    • Yes, habit…the italicized bits should be struck through.

                      The article still doesn’t seem to link to the interview transcript. Which would provide useful context, which I alluded to has hung up alot of the accusation of “Trump-Russia” ‘collusion’.

                    • Chris

                      Hm. I’m trying to think of what kind of context would make the following statement true:

                      “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. … But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape or form.”

                      Unless he ended that interview with “Psych! I totally met with Russians as part of the campaign, to get that sweet sweet oppo research! And I knew it was from the Russian government and that they wanted to help my dad, too, but then they totally gipped me on it!” I think that’s a full enough quote to make a fair judgment that Donald Jr. was not being truthful about meeting with Russians as part of the campaign.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Ah ha ha, good one

    • charlesgreen

      I only just found out that Don Jr released the emails a hot minute before the NYTimes was prepared to do so. I agree you, that considerably lessens the applicability of the moniker “hero.”

      • Chris

        charlesgreen, this is what happens when one is desperate to prove themselves “balanced,” fair, and above all us lowly partisans who see this family as an unethical and ruthless gang. People are bending over backwards not to see the problems with Don Jr.’s actions, because it’s become an absolute rule that There Has Been No Collusion, And Even If There Has, Is That So Wrong? So Don Jr. is a hero for trying to get ahead of a story that was already in motion, and for finally telling (only a part of, no doubt) a truth that he has deliberately obscured for the past year, and which he told demonstrable prevarications about as recently as two days ago. Truly an ethical guiding light.

        • charlesgreen

          Chris, I was being sarcastic, but you know what, you’re right. Light sarcasm isn’t the right response to that kind of cynical tap-dancing by Don Jr. I got caught up in it myself there. Transparency isn’t a virtue if it’s just a light two-step ahead of the free press outing you, no matter how his dad tries to spin it.

          • Chris

            Charles, what’s the over-under on finding out Trump was actually aware of the meeting the whole time, despite his spokespeople’s denials? We know he was in Trump Tower one floor above where the meeting was held at the time. And do you think we’ll find out via a leaker or a tweet from the man himself?

        • Just so we’re clear, you think Jack is *desperate* to *prove* balance and fairness, and also I guess some sort of condescending aloofness over the Left?

          That his analysis of the Trump-Russia-Leftwing-Meltdown is a symptom of a frantic grasp to demonstrate objectivity?

          • Chris

            Yes, and I’ve said so before. It’s the fallacy of false balance, and Jack has been falling into it since Election Day.

            Donald Trump, Jr. only released this information because the New York Times was about the release it. Prior to that, Trump Jr. denied ever attending such a meeting, then mislead about the contents of the meeting.

            And who does Jack give credit to when the information is released? Not the New York Times. Donald Trump, Jr. Who would have never released it were it not for the New York Times’ dedication in making sure the public was informed on this important issue.

            • Chris

              An issue which–according to you, Jack, and others here–the New York Times shouldn’t bother informing us about at all.

              Wow.

              • This is a traditional tactic. It’s juvenile. You should quit it.

                No, when we disagree with the level to which the Leftist media is taking it’s hyperventilating coverage, it does NOT mean we believe in the extreme opposite: that of no coverage; which you throw up as a loyal strawman.

                This tactic makes you look silly.

                • Chris

                  No, when we disagree with the level to which the Leftist media is taking it’s hyperventilating coverage, it does NOT mean we believe in the extreme opposite: that of no coverage; which you throw up as a loyal strawman.

                  Oh. Well, then tell me: how much coverage do you think this Don Jr. story should get? I don’t think it’s a strawman to interpret your previously expressed opinions as indicating “none;” until yesterday, Jack was describing it as a “non-story,” which indicates it shouldn’t have gotten coverage.

                  It seems today he’s merely objecting to its presence on the front page, and agrees it should be a story. Do you agree?

            • So in thousands and thousands of posts, in which Jack has demonstrated objectivity consistently, it’s Trump he’s using in a *desperate* attempt to *prove* objectivity while maintaining some sort of condescending superiority over Leftists.

              I’m emphasizing the words you chose for a reason. I really don’t think you chose them well.

              • Chris

                I’m really not sure what you think you’re doing here, tex. People can be truly objective sometimes, and at other times only think that they’re being objective. Do you dispute this premise?

                But I want you to think about this instance, specifically:

                –Donald Trump Jr. hid the existence of a meeting in which he sought out opposition research on a candidate from a hostile foreign power for nearly a year. When asked if he ever met with any person from Russia on behalf of the campaign, he said no.
                –Then, when the media began uncovering the meeting, he misled about its contents.
                –Then, when the media got ahold of his emails proving he went to the meeting with the intent to get info from a hostile foreign power, he released the emails himself.
                –For this, Jack brands him an “ethics hero.”

                This is a beclowning, tex. And I’d really like to hear an explanation for it that is better and less damning than “false balance.” Because the alternative is that Jack is biased in favor of Trump.

                But I don’t think you can look at his conclusion of “ethics hero” here and see it as an objective conclusion. The conclusion of someone who wants so badly to be objective that he’ll bend over backwards to give undeserved credit to a man being pilloried by virtually everyone else? Yeah, I can see that.

      • Glenn Logan

        I wonder how the NYT obtained private emails. Clearly, they were illegally taken from somewhere unless Goldstone provided them, which I strongly doubt.

        But if the Times is being truthful, then yes, I’d have to agree it’s not hero material for someone to release such information under duress.

        • When did the Times say they had the e-mails? In today’s story—I have it in front of me— they only spoke of what un-named sources said was in the e-mails.

          • Glenn Logan

            Here is the story:

            Here is the quote:

            After being told that The Times was about to publish the content of the emails, instead of responding to a request for comment, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out images of them himself on Tuesday.

  5. Sam

    Collusion or other wise the Trumps seem not to have learned one of the basic lessons of American Politics; It’s the coverup not the deed the get you. But then no other American politician seems to have learned that lesson!

    If in fact, as Jack speculated, Trump, Jr’s attorney approved the release of the e-mails the release is merely an ethical act. Now, if he released them without his attorney’s approval that would be an heroic act.

    • Glenn Logan

      All I can say is, no attorney I’ve ever met would approve releasing that email chain. Whether his attorney did or not I can’t say. And perhaps that says more about the attorney’s I’ve met than anything else. 🙂

  6. wyogranny

    Tex you are my hero today. It’s a frustrating job but someone has to do it. Thanks.

  7. On the question of whether Charles’s theory is correct that candor will calm the Furies: there is a new, long chain of comments on my Facebook feed emanating from a smart guy who says that Don Jr. has committed treason, and he, Manfort and Kushner should be locked up. I was going to point out that when the resistance calls something like this treason—i doubt that ‘s its even an election law violation, and was at worst an attempt at that—they make themselves incredible commentators and signal such obvious bias that they can only operate in an echo chamber. But why bother? They aren’t listening, and don’t want to.

    • Chris

      You’re right that “treason” goes too far. I have seen leftists (and even one former Bush adviser) use this word to describe Trump Jr.’s behavior today, and it’s just ridiculous.

    • Glenn Logan

      Yes. Even the former VP nominee of Hillary Clinton used the T-word.

      Morons.

  8. Spartan

    Ethics Dunce, not Hero Jack. At a minimum, he’s a dumbass. but it’s possible that he has broken some laws too. His coming clean is the equivalent of my kids finally telling me the truth when they know I have it from another source.

    • charlesgreen

      I heard a good analogy: it was akin to a hiker tossing his backpack at a raging grizzly bear as a last-ditch effort to distract the beast.
      (I was with the hero theme until I realized he did it only under immediate threat of being published anyway)

      • I keep reading that, but I have yet to see the source. If the Times could publish them, I assume they would have this morning. If e-mails are involved, its always a good bet that they will get out…but that didn’t stop Hillary from doing everything she could to block access, now did it?

        • Spartan

          Everybody Does It?

        • charlesgreen

          What I heard was that the Times – in good journalistic fashion – asked for Don Jr’s comment on the emails before they published them, which gave him the brief breathing room to do the deed himself.
          And what’s this got to do with Hillary?

          • That’s not how the Times operates, or any news source. Why print hearsay as fact when the actual e-mails are available? Nobody this morning thought they had the actual e-mails. I’m sure Trump Jr. assumed they would come out.

            My point about Hillary is that she pointedly did not come clean; that’s not the Clinton way. Deny deny deny. This is better. I can’t believe that Trump is being mocked by Democrats for doing the right thing. Well, sure I can. Because that’s not the style of Democrats under fire. Have you been following Bernie’s denials about his wife?

            • Chris

              You always find new ways to shock me, Jack.

              The NYT told Trump Jr. that they were going to report on the content of the e-mails. This is an undisputed fact. Regardless of whether the NYT had the e-mails themselves, the fact that Trump Jr. went to a meeting with the express intent of getting damaging info on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government was going to come out. Revealing that information himself, ahead of the story’s publication, was therefore not an ethical act. It was a self-serving attempt to get ahead of the story.

              “Better than Clinton” does not make one an “ethics hero,” but since you bring up the comparison, I’m unaware of anything rumored to be in Clinton’s emails as bad as this.

              But really, this was a terrible designation, and you should reconsider it.

  9. charlesgreen

    OK here’s a theory that ties it all together. Tell me what you think.

    The overarching theory of the case is that Putin’s end goal is to destabilize the United States. It served his purpose to have Hillary lose and have Donald win; it would also serve his purpose – to destabilize the US – by having Donald Trump get impeached. He’s not in this to back any particular horse.

    That being the case, he conceived of a clever way to get Kompromat on Trump. Have this guy Goldstone, who already had an in with the Trumps, send a blatantly improper email, virtually serving up clandestine and officlal Russian government collusion (is there really a such thing as the “Crown Prosecutor of Russia?”), in a manner so over-the-top and transparent that nobody could deny the motives of the sucker who took him up on it.

    That sucker of course is Don Jr. Having done such a dumb-ass thing, Putin now had the goods on both Donalds, and could essentially blackmail them into doing even more positive-to-Russia things by threatening to reveal the memo to which Don Jr, drunk with delight, so eagerly replied.

    They then sent over some plausible Russian lawyer, who had some involvement in sanctions-related issues, but who of course had no goods to deliver. THAT DIDN’T MATTER, BECAUSE THE SMOKING GUN OF COURSE WAS TRUMP JR’S EMAILED ACCEPTANCE OF THE MEETING. AND IT WAS CAVIAR ON THE CAKE THAT HE CC’D, IN WRITING, BOTH MANAFORT AND HIS BROTHER IN LAW.

    Now MAYBE the Trumps violated the terms, and Putin engineered the release of the email. Or maybe not. It really doesn’t matter, because if Putin’s goal is destabilizing the country, he’s doing a helluva job with the email release, regardless of who put it out there.

    Regardless, Don Jr is a patsy in Putin’s game, by this reckoning. He was like the guy agreeing in writing to meet a drug dealer, then when the dealer had no drugs, he tries to use that as an excuse. The smoking gun, which Putin knew all along and we know now too, is his idiotic email embrace of the meeting.

    Is Putin getting what he wanted? Absolutely. He’s got to be rolling on the floor laughing about all this.

    What do you think of that theory? Remember: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you..

    • Chris

      I’ve seen the emails compared to a cop saying “I have the best weed, please come to this location to get your awesome weed,” and I have to say it is a pretty apt comparison. It’s also less damning, if true, then actual collusion.

      At the very least, we now know that members of the Trump campaign were perfectly willing to accept help from the Russian government. I think everyone who’s called us crazy for the past year for saying there is something to this collusion story should practice saying that, out loud, until it sinks in: “Members of the Trump campaign were perfectly willing to accept help from the Russian government.” Then they should practice their apologies.

      • That comparison sounds like it was composed by a dummy.

        A better comparison using similar terms would like a snitch who wants to undermine cop X going to cop Y and saying “Dude, that cop X sells weed on the side, I’ll bring you evidence”, cop Y, angling for a promotion, jumps on the chance to meet the snitch and clean up the force. Only the snitch was lying and really wanted to talk about something else.

        “At the very least, we now know that members of the Trump campaign were perfectly willing to accept help from the Russian government. I think everyone who’s called us crazy for the past year for saying there is something to this collusion story should practice saying that, out loud, until it sinks in: “Members of the Trump campaign were perfectly willing to accept help from the Russian government.” Then they should practice their apologies.”

        You still have no clue what “collusion” means do you?

        • Chris

          Why don’t you tell me what it means? It apparently doesn’t mean “working with a foreign government to influence the outcome of an election,” as everyone in the world seemed to think until today, so I’m really curious what definition you’re shifting to.

          • Show me the math on how meeting someone claiming to have dirt on Hillary in order to receive said dirt = working with a foreign government to influence the outcome of an election.

            Your burden will fall on the emphasis of “working with”.

            This term is key.

            And it sinks your conspiracy theory so far.

            I’ll hold out the possibility that by moral luck your hate has you guessing correctly, should actual evidence appear in the future, but that still wouldn’t make your methodology correct.

            • Chris

              Show me the math on how meeting someone claiming to have dirt on Hillary in order to receive said dirt = working with a foreign government to influence the outcome of an election.

              My god. Because that “someone” said the dirt came from the Russian government and that the Russian government wanted to help Trump’s campaign. Obviously.

              • No, that someone said someone told him that. Which neither means it was true, or that it was credible.

                • Chris

                  Ah, so Don Jr. only thought he was attending a meeting for the purpose of working with the Russian government to influence the outcome of an election.

                • charlesgreen

                  A thought experiment: Suppose a terrorist straps on a suicide belt, and makes his way to Times Square. Positioning himself strategically, he closes his eyes, pushes the button, and – nothing. It misfires.

                  He is arrested. He is taken to court. His defense: “well, nobody was actually harmed.”

                  Does the court let him off the hook?

                  • Nope. That’s attempted murder. But not all crimes treat failed attempts that way, nor should they. If you try to cheat on your taxes but pay the right amount anyway, there’s no crime. And an attempt has to be very clear and unequivocal, or a legal violation that can’t be denied. You can’t prove an attempt if the evidence for the intended crime is weak.

                    • charlesgreen

                      First of all, colluding with a foreign power to influence a Presidential election, on the scheme of ethical/criminal conduct, should fall a lot closer to murder than it does to cheating on taxes.

                      Second, you DON’T get off scot-free if you cheat on taxes; you pay a penalty. In fact, you even pay a penalty just for being late; ignorance of the law is no defense in taxes, nor murder, nor should it be here.

                      Third, when you say “You can’t prove an attempt if the evidence for the intended crime is weak,” – how much MORE smoking-gun blatant can you get than an email, signed by the criminal, cc’ing others, specifically expressing delight at the prospect of the proscribed activity? Honestly – what is NOT a smoking gun about that email?

                    • First of all, colluding with a foreign power to influence a Presidential election, on the scheme of ethical/criminal conduct, should fall a lot closer to murder than it does to cheating on taxes.

                      WHAT? Colluding isn’t even a legal term, much less a crime. There has to be a conspiracy to violate a law. Accepting information just doesn’t go far enough. It isn’t close to either, because there’s no crime in sight.

                    • Ugh. I’m going to have to explain all this, I guess. Bad day for it, but duty calls.

        • charlesgreen

          Texagg, let me get this straight…

          Don Jr agrees to a meeting with a stated representative of the Russian government, to share oppo research…he cc’s Jared and Manafort…they all go to the meeting…

          …Jared “forgets” to mention a meeting with a Russian lawyer with translator

          …Trumps pere et fils both natter on about transparency up to and including last night…

          …Meanwhile President Trump is on Air Force One this past weekend crafting the spin about his own son, putting his personal fingerprints on the misleading claim that this was just about adopted kids…

          ..I too want to hear your definition of “collusion.” Also “cover-up,” while you’re at it.

          And if you don’t like those words – then what the hell do you call this remarkable scenario?

          • Here’s the definitions of “collusion” I’ve summoned from the dark nether world of the internet, 3 are legal, 1 is common dictionary:

            From USLegal.com:

            “Collusion occurs when two persons or representatives of an entity or organization make an agreement to deceive or mislead another. Such agreements are usually secretive, and involve fraud or gaining an unfair advantage over a third party, competitors, consumers or others with whom they are negotiating. The collusion, therefore, makes the bargaining process inherently unfair. Collusion can involve price or wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship betweeen the colluding parties.

            For example, in a divorce action, the husband and wife may agree to fabricate a story or suppress evidence to provide evidence of lawful grounds for a divorce. As another example, collusion may involve cooperation between competing sellers, in the form of an agreement, express or tacit, limiting competition, or a merger or other means to raise the market price above the competitive level.”

            From TheLaw.com:

            “A deceitful agreement or compact between two or more persons, for the one party to bring an action against the other for some evil purpose, as to defraud a third party of his right Cowell. A secret arrangement between two or more persons, whose interests are apparently conflicting, to make use of the forms and proceedings of law in order to defraud a third person, or to obtain that which justice would not give them, by deceiving a court or it officers. Baldwin v. New York; 45. Barb. (N. Y.) 359; Belt v. Blackburn, 28 Md. 235; Railroad Co. v. Gay, 86 Tex. 571, 26 S. W. 599, 25 L. It A. 52; Balch v. Beach, 119 Wis. 77, 95 N. W. 132. In divorce proceedings, collusion is an agreement between husband and wife that one of them shall commit, or appear to hare committed, or be represented in court as haying committed, acts constituting a cause of divorce, for the purpose of enabling the other to obtain a divorce. Civil Code CaL t 114. But it also means connivance or conspiracy in initiating or prosecuting the suit, as where there is a compact for mutual aid in carrying it through to a decree. Beard T. Beard, 66 Cal. 854, 4 Pac 229; Pohlman T. Pohlman, 60 N. J. Eq. 28, 46 Ati. 658; Draytou v. Drayton, 54 N. J. Eq. 298, 38 Ati. 25.”

            From the Law Dictionary app on iphone:

            “Secret cooperation between two people in order to fool another. Collusion was often practiced by couples before no-fault divorce in order to make up a grounds for divorce (such as adultery). By fabricating a permitted reason for divorce, colluding couples hoped to trick a judge into granting their freedom from the marriage. But a spouse accused of wrongdoing who later changed his or her mind about the divorce could expose the collusion to prevent the divorce from going through.”

            So far, of the three legal definitions, Trump Jrs conduct fails to line up with most of the conditions necessary. I think it’s telling also that the three definitions all use divorce to game the system as a example, and don’t seem to think examples close to international conspiracy are useful.

            Here’s Merriam-Webtser’s definition:

            “secret cooperation for an illegal or dishonest purpose”

            1) It was secret.

            2) There *may have been*, a possible intent…to build a relationship…at some point that would have possbly become cooperative…

            3) No one seems to be able to prove the illegality of the meeting or the illegality of the information that was discussed and so far yall’s explanations have boiled down to “Well it was collusion because they were colluding!” And when pressed to explain how it was collusion, yall’s answers have inevitably been “Because they were colluding!” But, since this part of the definition is legal, we can see there’s no collusion.

            Yall really are fighting for a better term, but I wonder if there already is a term for what happened and it just doesn’t sound sinister enough.

            4) Yeah, it was probably a dishonest purpose…or maybe it wasn’t. It *feels* dishonest because we are told it is out of the norms and mores of typical campaign practices…but then again, intel seems to be coming to light that indeed receiving dirt from foreign sources on opponents may be more common than we’d prefer. Possibly unethical, but possibly just Ick.

            Now, Chris has raised the banner that “Well this is just one more instance in a string of instances that point to collusion (or whatever we ought to be calling it), therefore collusion (or whatever we ought to be calling it) seems likely.” But it really isn’t. Since all the other Trump-Russia-We-Think-We-Finally-Got-Him episodes have been demonstrated to be baseless, this is just another shaky angle to approach from. Albeit, as Jack alluded to in a far more brief comment, it is unethical conduct on DTJR’s part.

            • 1) I bet, if we sicced the rabid attack dogs on other angles of approach, we’d discover Trump & campaign and Trump & transition team had contact with all manner of internationals, from a wide array of nations. It’s just Russia is a convenient boogey man.

              2) I bet, if we sicced the rabid attack dogs on other candidates, we’d discover campaigns had contact with all manner of Russians. It’s just Trump we’re trying to undermine.

              And these Trumpian connections to Russians are just a series of false positives.

              Interestingly enough, when the Left screams about their opposition doing something…it seems either they already engaged in it, are engaging in it, or are trying to set the stage to engage in it themselves.

            • charlesgreen

              Texzagg, I’m quite willing to stipulate to the precise legal meaning of “collusion,” just as I was to “hack.” Call them bfptixhlk and qienaprjh, if you will.

              But using different words doesn’t normalize them. You seem to say they are far more common than not, and that maybe they just boil down to the “ick” factor. And the legal aspect isn’t the only relevant realm here – there’s also the ethical, the normal, and the customary.

              Let’s not forget a few things:
              a. The fact that we do spy-things doesn’t make it right for us to work with their spy-guys
              b. The fact that Trump et al went to great lengths to avoid admitting all this speaks volumes – Why are they hiding? It inevitably leads to speculation about the what behind the why, and rightly so.
              c. Tons of politicians, on both sides of the aisle, argue vociferously that in such cases as Don Jr. faced, the right thing to do would have been to call the FBI, (just as was done in the past e.g. by whatsisname that invented the Internet).

              Listen, I don’t want to come off as naive either; but you are, IMHO, excusing a whole lot of really undesirable behavior to bring this most recent set of actions into the realm of the normal.

    • “because if Putin’s goal is destabilizing the country, he’s doing a helluva job”

      A claim that would make loads more sense if somehow you were clear headed enough to realize that the media is about 85-90% complicit in that destabilization…

      • Chris

        Yes, discovering and reporting on the collusion is clearly just as bad as the collusion.

        • You keep using that word.

          Again, I don’t think you know what it means and if you do, you’re definitely misapplying it as collusion is considerably more involved than meeting to pick up dirt on an opponent.

          By the by, are you asserting that the decisions and coordination involved in real collusion between a politician and enemy government are going to be left to an adoption lobbyist?

          Phenomenal

          • Chris

            collusion is considerably more involved than meeting to pick up dirt on an opponent.

            Ok. How many meetings would the Trump campaign have had to have had with people claiming to be giving them assistance from the Russian government in order to justify the “collusion” label? 5? 10?

            By the by, are you asserting that the decisions and coordination involved in real collusion between a politician and enemy government are going to be left to an adoption lobbyist?

            No, I’m asserting that members of the Trump campaign clearly believed that such collusion was going to occur at the meeting with the adoption lobbyist, because that’s what Jr. was told, and Jr. has expressed disappointment that he didn’t get the information he wanted.

            So, at best, there was an attempt to collude.

        • And the media aspect of destabilization is more than just the Trump-Russia hyperventilations. It’s been the meltdown since November 8

    • Keep the tin foil polished, charles.

      No doubt our competitor Russia IS engaging (as it has been engaging since, oh about 1917) in intel/psyops/cointel/propaganda activities.

      I think Humble made the solid case that, given the clear presumption that Hillary had the election locked up, Russia’s intent was to undermine HER presidency. To claim Russia’s objective was to completely throw the election to Trump is pretty far-fetched.

      But hey, he’s President now, and Russia knows just how predictably deranged the Leftwing media is, so combined with its neurotic crusade to bring down the President, I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia is actively involved in leaking details both true and false to the Media to keep sowing discord in our nation.

      • Chris

        Amazing. A story that totally corroborates the theory that members of the Trump campaign attempted to collude with Russia to spread negative info on Hillary and therefore influence the election, provided from the horse’s mouth, and you’re still going on about fake news.

        • if by “collude with Russia” you mean “receive dirt on Hillary from a lobbyist”….

          • Chris

            No, by “collude with Russia” I mean “attend a meeting with the express intent of receiving dirt on Hillary that you have been told is from the Russian government.”

            Funny how you keep leaving that out…why, if only you ignore that Jr. was told the information came from the Russian government, the whole Russian collusion story evaporates in a puff of smoke!

            • “Maybe intending to collude but not having the opportunity.”

              Try getting an indictment or a conviction on THAT. I’m really curious how silly these forced outrages have to get before Democrats’ dead ethics alarms start twitching.

              • fattymoon

                I hear you, Jack. Now pass the ketchup.
                View story at Medium.com

              • Chris

                “Your honor, I did try to buy drugs, but when I got there they didn’t have any.”

              • Chris

                If you think three members of the Trump campaign getting caught trying to work with the Russian government to influence the campaign…after a year of denials from that campaign and the subsequent administration…is “forced outrage…” and the guy responsible for the meeting is an “Ethics Hero” for admitting it only seconds before it was about to be revealed anyway….

                I’m sorry. Your ethics alarms are dead, Jack.

                • Today you are an asshole, Chris. I wouldn’t take that suggestion that you would be a good lawyer too seriously, either.

                  You wrote: “And I would consider a party that has no problem with their party leader colluding with a foreign government”..

                  I pointed out that there is no evidence of this whatsoever, and this is true. Your dishonest response: “If you think three members of the Trump campaign getting caught trying to work with the Russian government to influence the campaign…after a year of denials from that campaign and the subsequent administration…is “forced outrage…”

                  Your last sentence gets you suspended. It was uncalled for, unfair, and a cheap shot.

                  See you in a week. Think about your attitude.

                  None of that is evidence that the individual you referred to and the only one at issue in the related posts was “colluding with a foreign government”, and even the individuals you referred to in this irrelevant comment didn’t collude with anyone.

                  • I have trashed two comments since I issued this.
                    You will be welcome to post non-asshole comments as of 12:01 AM, 7/12/2017.

                  • Been really busy for nearly a week and haven’t had much time to spend here. I just got down this far in the thread to see this; I think it’s been building in Chris for a while and I hope Chris uses this time for personal reflection and not to build up a head of steam.

              • charlesgreen

                Dead ethics alarms?

                Sorry, but in my book if trump jr. writes an email inviting others to join you in a meeting with representatives of a foreign power who you believe are going to furnish you with dirt on your opponent – official dirt, from the government files of that foreign power – and then go to great lengths to cover up the fact that you wrote said email – how do your ethics alarms NOT go off?

                Should the underwear bomber have been let off the hook because the bomb didn’t go off?

                Why shouldn’t the political equivalent of attempted malfeasance, at the level of POTUS politics, be treated with serious ethical, if not legal, concern?

                • I have never said that the handling of the episode by Trump Jr wasn’t unethical. And it was moral luck that it didn’t turn into something substantive. I have said that the hysteria pretending that it’s illegal and more than it is constitutes unethical and partisan reporting. Moreover, what Trump Jr. does does not implicate his father in anything illegal.

                  Of course, I also believe that all opposition research is slimy, bordering on unethical, and also don’t see a lot of difference ethically between getting factual dirt from a domestic scumbag and the same info from a Russian.

                  • Clear and concise outline for appropriate responses to the latest hysteria.

                  • charlesgreen

                    All the reporting I’ve seen on MSNBC makes it a point to say it’s not illegal, while it is certainly unethical; they’re also careful, by the way, to say the “T” word is wildly inappropriate.

                  • charlesgreen

                    ” I have said that the hysteria pretending that it’s illegal and more than it is constitutes unethical and partisan reporting.”

                    Jack, i think this is something of a mis-statement. I watch a lot of MSNBC and CNN lately, with occasional turns over to Fox. And what I see on MSNBC is a very careful approach to issues of legal vs. illegal as opposed to what’s ethical vs unethical, typical vs untypical, smart vs stupid, etc.

                    I cannot think of a single commentator on that network who has said that Trump Jr’s handling of the episode was illegal. I have heard lots of them say words to the effect of “it’s probably not illegal.” I have heard say words to the effect of “whether it’s legal or not is problematic.” But to repeat, I have heard not one single commentator on MSNBC say “what Don Jr did was illegal.”

                    And yet – you insist on talking about “the hysteria pretending that it’s illegal” (you italicized ‘illegal’).

                    WHO is hysterically saying this? A few fringe democrats, I’m sure. Maybe a few fringe websites. But I don’t see your claim reflected at all in the NYTimes, WaPo, MSNBC, or CNN. I don’t watch or read all of them all the time, but using the MSNBC example above – I don’t think you’re accurate stating what’s going on here. At least not on the typical MSM targets.

                    Can you point to even a single counter-example? (Though even then, I am confident the vast weight of the MSM commentary does NOT say what you claim about legality; it says what I said, namely either ‘not illegal’ or ‘doubtful’).

  10. wyogranny

    If I understand this correctly there are two ways to respond to political accusations. 1. deny, deny, deny, call foul, deny, fight efforts to find out, when proof appears, say it’s over the science is settled, deny, no one cares/nothing burger, deny, get offended, deny, lie to investigators, deny, ad infinitum until there is no way to figure out what actually happened.
    2. deny, show proof cooperate until it’s over.
    Both methods are wrong when conservatives do them. Neither method is wrong when liberals do them.

  11. Sue Dunim

    Acting at the behest of a foreign power does not necessarily amount to acting against the interests of the US. Sometimes it does not.

    Such Agents of Influence are extraordinarily useful, and have been recruited by the Cheka, NKVD, KGB, MVD and successors for a century. US intelligence agencies make use of them too of course.

    Example: a member of US three letter agency asks some foreign academic to write a report on regional economic issues outside his country. All very innocent, the pay is ok, not great. Then an analysis of the issues. Then how it affects his own country. Then with economic data he gets from his government and academic contacts. Then since they’re such good friends and partners, is asked to write articles advocating for certain US friendly concessions in local journals. The pay improves, and he needs has friends in high places who advocate for his promotion.

    Going to the top and subborning the Royal Family also works, and doesn’t take a decade.

    • A good argument can be made that exposing the true awfulness of Hillary Clinton, her minions, and the lapdog Democratic Party was very much in US interests. In fact, I might make that argument myself.

      • Sue Dunim

        Absolutely.

        There is the problem of denying that a foreign power was the source though, or even that there had been any contact.

        When a personal friend in a foreign entity that shall remain nameless tried to recruit me in this way, I said fine – but of course a copy of anything transmitted to them, no matter how innocent, had to be cleared by my own country’s counterintelligence first.

        He was just doing his job. However, contact ceased after that. Pity.

        I at least had training in how to recognise such attempts, and what to do in such an event. But maybe such things, like taxes, are for the little people.

  12. Glenn Logan

    Just so people know this, Goldstone is a former British journalist. “Crown prosecutor” is just his approximation of whatever we would call the Russian Attorney General.

    So we might’ve said, in the email, “The Russian Attorney General” versus Crown prosecutor. It was a descriptor for which he didn’t have the official term, so he used a known analogue.

  13. Just for perspective, here is a not atypical antiTrump comment I just spammed:

    The fascist DONALD TRUMP said to CNN “I believe HITLER was RIGHT”. udv Donald Trump is a racist with SEWER and the DailyStormer, he listens to satanic 666 sexist music… just google “Donald Trump SEWER 2154” and see FOR YOURSELF!! THE MUSIC gc VIDEO IS about the KKK and Adfolf Hitler raping a 12 year old African-American WOMAN OF COLOR in front of her parents and then hanging MLK with Emma Watson and Taylor Swift!! TAYLOR SWIFT the racist white privileged cvnt said she voted “for donald trump twice” in her OWN WORDS!!! Say no to hate, say no to SEWER, say no to t DONALD TRUMP and EMMA WATSON and Tatylor Swift !! Deport racism today kew.

    Make of that what you will…

  14. Personal observation:
    There’s a pile of words from one commenter in this thread that shows us how blind partisanship, Trump derangement syndrome, and delusion* can drive a person to troll. Sometimes I seriously wonder if this commenter actually believes the stuff he writes or if he’s just paid by the word; either way, how do people become this utterly obsessed with delusions?

    • *Delusion: an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument

      • charlesgreen

        Zoltar, that is enough of a veiled, blinded salvo that I have no idea who you’re talking about. My ego says it’s probably me, but in my humility it might be Chris; hey, maybe even TexAgg.

        That’s what comes of veiled, snarky attacks. Care to name names? And further, I challenge you to say something substantive, rather than just a series of derogatory adjectives (deranged, delusional, paid by the word, obsessed, troll). Can you cite examples to back it up?

        • Charles,
          Don’t be obtuse, you know good and well I was talking about Chris and not about you. I have never used the word troll to describe anything you have ever written here, never; why – because the things I’ve read from you don’t stoop to the level of trolling. Furthermore, if you had bothered to really take into consideration the totality of what I wrote in my comment to you above you would have completely understood that I was not talking about you. Whether it was intentional or unintentional; you’ve correlated that which was should not have been correlated.

          Chris has gone out of his way to earn his periodic “troll” labeling from people around here.

          Your reaction down here after reading my comment above was uncalled for, it was just a snarky attack.

          • charlesgreen

            Zoltar, believe it or not, I was being painfully honest when I said ego compels me to think it was about me.

            I have a bad habit of thinking that if people are saying nice things, it must be about me. But if people are saying bad things, it most definitely MUST be about me. Generally, I tend to think more things are about me than most people intended in the first place.

            I’ve learned as I’ve aged that this failing is not unique to me; a great number of us humanoids tend to over-personalize things, and I was trying to convey a little bit of self-deprecation.

            Plus, honest – I really DID figure there was a chance you were talking about me. I’m sort of glad to realize you weren’t. (But then that other part of me kicks in, the part that says, “How come Zoltar never talks about me?”)

            The noise between the ears never ends…

  15. charlesgreen

    I’m not counter-persuaded yet, but those are all good and thoughtful counter-points, thank you.

  16. Pennagain

    What was it you were saying about not enough traffic on the blog these days …?

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