I have found myself increasingly skeptical of media and Democrat claims regarding the Russia investigation in recent months. After all, each supposed “bombshell” unveiled on CNN or touted by some liberal politician has been a whole lot of nothing, or cooked up accusations based on routine meetings with a Russian diplomat.
That changed for me upon the release of emails between Donald Trump Jr. and a family friend who was trying to set up a meeting between the Trump campaign and influential Russians claiming to have information on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The key passage is in the tweet below, where Rob Goldstone, an apparent friend of the Trump family, offers to put Trump Jr. in touch with Russians with dirt on Clinton, purportedly part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”:
Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints). pic.twitter.com/z1Xi4nr2gq
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
I look at this from a bit of a unique perspective, as someone who has been critical of both Trump’s candidacy and the mainstream media’s efforts to discredit his election. It’s pretty clear that Russian interference didn’t cost Clinton the White House, but that doesn’t make any attempted collusion any less wrong.
Whether or not Trump Jr. received any actionable information (and he claims he did not), this doesn’t look good.
That being said, it’s also ridiculous for people like Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (of failed VP candidate fame) to claim this is evidence of treason. Treason has a specific legal definition, and these actions don’t meet that standard, for multiple reasons. First and foremost, as hostile as Russia is to American interests abroad, we don’t classify them as an “enemy” in any legal or historical way. Secondly, without any evidence of a quid pro quo, this is shady and unethical, but not illegal.
Leave it to Democrats to take the most damaging revelation in the Russia saga and take the wind out of the sails by overplaying their rhetorical hand.
What I think any rational observer can agree on, however, is that this is, at a bare minimum, a massive image problem for the Trump circle. These emails certainly contradict the “no meetings with Russians” denials from the campaign and the administration. Will it matter? As the National Review argued today, why don’t we just wait and see?