Friday, July 14, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declined comment on revelations that there was a previously undisclosed sixth person in the meeting last year where his son, his son-in-law, and his campaign manager tried to work with the Putin regime to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

This proved wise, since that number of people at that meeting quickly grew to eight.

Aside from a translator, the new additions to the roster include a former Soviet intelligence officer with ties to Russian spy agencies, and an as-yet-unnamed representative of a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin himself. Russia in its present form is a kleptocracy: Putin is believed to be one of the wealthiest men on the planet, with a net worth of $200 billion, but because he has no legitimate income of that size, for appearances' sake it is held for him by a network of friends and associates. The ostensible subject of the meeting (other than to demonstrate that the Trump campaign was willing to collude with Russia) was the Magnitsky Act, a series of sanctions that target some members of that network.

Trump maintains--with caveats--that neither his son-in-law, nor his son, nor his campaign manager, nor the three family friends who arranged it, nor anyone else ever informed him about the meeting, or the fact that the Russian government had directly told his campaign it wanted to help him. 

Why is this bad?

  • The most flattering explanation for Trump not offering any further explanation is that he doesn't believe his family and staff have told him the truth yet.
  • It's bad to conspire with hostile foreign countries to influence an election through illegal means.