Sunday, August 5, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He threw Donald Jr. under the bus.

Last night, the Washington Post reported on Trump's private fears that his son, Donald Trump Jr., would be prosecuted for crimes committed during the infamous "Trump Tower" meeting with Russian agents in June of 2016.

This morning, Trump pushed back--and in the process, pushed his son into the line of fire. Trump said that the meeting was "to get information on an opponent," which he said was "totally legal and done all the time in politics." But he also made sure to add, "I did not know about it!"

In reality, it's totally illegal for a presidential campaign to take anything of value from a foreign government, including help disseminating stolen information. It's also illegal to conspire with foreign agents to impair lawful functions of the United States government, like elections. 

As the scandal about the meeting broke last year, Trump himself personally dictated his son's false statement in which Donald Jr. claimed that the meeting had been "about the adoption of Russian children." That was quickly shown to be a lie: Trump. Jr. had enthusiastically agreed to the meeting because the Russian agents involved had enticed him with the promise of "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

By admitting that the statement he dictated for his son was a lie, Trump is bringing his story more into line with the known facts. But by insisting that he had no knowledge in advance, Trump is giving himself space to claim that he personally was not part of any conspiracy between the Putin regime, his son, his son-in-law, and his campaign chair to influence the election. 

Two days before the meeting about the "dirt" the Russians had promised Donald Jr., candidate Trump announced that he would be giving "a major speech on probably Monday of next week" about "all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons."

Why does this matter?

  • People who are innocent tend to tell the truth the first time.