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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Donald Jr. and the Scent of Collusion

In  Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.

Mike Allen at Axios:
On Saturday, N.Y. Times had disclosed that the Trump Tower meeting last June with "a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin" had been convened by Don Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, and included son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
A day later, the bombshell: The meeting was not primarily about adoption policy, as Trump Jr. had suggested in a statement. Don Jr. had been "promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton."
The NYT's Maggie Haberman pointed out on Twitter: "This meeting took place at a pivotal moment for Trump, winning Indiana but facing delegate slog prospect."
Under the for-history headline of "TRUMP TEAM MET RUSSIAN OFFERING DIRT ON CLINTON," The Times says: "The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help."
Scott Bixby reports at The Daily Beast:
But the Trump team’s initial strategy of dismissing the Veselnitskaya meeting as an introductory chat about adoption quickly evolved to speculating something far more sinister: that the president’s most trusted advisor, the chairman of his campaign, and the man in charge of running his extensive business interests were all duped by the Russkis, the result of a nefarious Democratic operation meant to use Kremlin operatives to sink the Trump campaign.
“We have learned from both our own investigation and public reports that the participants in the meeting misrepresented who they were and who they worked for,” Mark Corallo, spokesperson for Trump’s outside counsel, said in a statement released a few hours after the original New York Times story published.
“Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier,” Corallo continued, referring to the strategic intelligence firm hired by anti-Trump Republicans, then by Democrats, to do opposition research on the candidate.
If it were a setup, however, why did they never use it during the campaign?