Here we go again. NBC News is reporting that Donald Trump Jnr. somehow forgot to mention that a former Soviet counterintelligence officer was also present at his pow-wow with a Russian lawyer. The man in question, Rinat Akhmetsin, has denied ever being affiliated with Russian spy agencies. But as NBC politely put it, “the presence at the meeting of a Russian-American with suspected intelligence ties is likely to be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller and the House and Senate panels investigating the Russian election interference campaign.”
Indeed it is. As former Obama administration ethics chief Norman Eisen, among others, suggests, it looks as though Moscow was probing to see whether or not the Trump campaign would be receptive to outside efforts on its behalf. If so, the response was certainly a thumbs up, at least to judge by the “I love it” ejaculation of Donald Jnr. No doubt Trump’s son is consistently maintaining that nothing of import happened at the meeting – a claim reiterated by his father at a joint news conference in Paris with president Emmanuel Macron. But the Trumps have consistently maintained a lot of things, none of which have turned out to have a scintilla of truth.
At the same time, McClatchy newspapers—the one news agency that was right about the absence of weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the Iraq War—is now reporting that federal investigators are zeroing in on whether Jared Kushner coordinated Kremlin cyber attacks on Hillary Clinton for maximum political effect in certain areas of the country. Not good, as Trump likes to say. Not good at all.
Conservatives such as Charles Krauthammer, a Fox News stalwart, are now ridiculing the idea that the Trump campaign consisted of innocents who did nothing wrong. Until now, Krauthammer said there was no hard evidence of collusion. Now it is clear that at a minimum the intent was there. According to Krauthammer, “you don’t need a lawyer to see that the Trump defence — collusion as a desperate Democratic fiction designed to explain away a lost election — is now officially dead.”
If the strongest defence you can make of Trump Jnr. is that he is something of a doofus, then you in trouble. Accordingly, the NeverTrump faction is rejuvenated and back on the warpath. According to the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, “the Republicans’ willingness to accept even national betrayal — that’s what Trump Jnr. was willing to undertake, after all — will disgrace the party and its leaders for years, if not permanently. It is a party no longer capable of defending our national interests and Constitution from foreign enemies.” She has a point. If it turns out that the Trump campaign really was colluding with the Kremlin, this might truly make Watergate look by comparison like what Richard M. Nixon’s White Press Secretary Ron Ziegler dismissed as a “third-rate burglary.”