No collusion! No collusion! Donald Trump has spent the last two years using his Twitter account and every microphone he can find to howl about the “witch hunt” and claim there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. With the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a timeline has emerged and at first glance, it appears to be quite damning for Donald Trump and his core campaign staff, including Don Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort. The now infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with the Russians began with an email from Rob Goldstone, publicist for Russian billionaires Emin and Aras Agalarov. Here are the details of that email, from the Senate Intelligence Committee transcript:
“The crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras ” — I took that to mean Aras Agalarov — ” this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr . Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.”
That email set into motion a series of calls and emails that culminated with the Trump Tower meeting. The emerging timeline of those calls and emails creates an undeniable pattern that appears to show that the Goldstone email and the impending meeting were widely discussed by Don Jr., Manafort, Kushner and possibly (or likely) even Donald Trump himself.
Philip Bump of the Washington Post summarized the timeline:
- June 3, 10:53 a.m.: Trump Jr. emails Goldstone. “I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. … Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?”
- June 3, 11:09 a.m.: Goldstone emails Agalarov. “He wants to speak personally on the issue with you early next week.”
- June 3, 11:26 a.m.: Agalarov emails Goldstone. “Great.”
- June 6, 8:44 a.m.: Agalarov emails Goldstone. “Trumps son call. Any news?”
- June 6, 8:51 a.m.: Goldstone emails Agalarov. “Not yet but he said when he returns to NYC which for sure is after tomorrow as it’s the Super Tuesday final elections tomorrow in California where trump will be “crowned” the official nominee[.] Most likely he will return Wednesday and I will set up call “
- June 6, 9:00 a.m.: Agalarov emails Goldstone. “Ok”
- June 6, 12:40 a.m.: Goldstone emails Trump Jr. “Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary Info — you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day”
- June 6, 3:03 p.m.: Trump Jr. emails Goldstone. “Rob could we speak now?”
- June 6, 3:37 p.m.: Goldstone emails Trump Jr. “Let me track him down in Moscow[.] What number he could call? “
- June 6, 3:38 p.m.: Trump Jr. emails Goldstone. “My cell” (the number is redacted)
- June 6, 3:43 p.m.: Goldstone contacts Agalarov’s band manager Pavel Klychko and then emails Trump Jr. “Ok he’s on stage in Moscow but should be off within 20 Minutes so I am sure can call”
- June 6, 4:04 p.m.: Agalarov calls Trump Jr. Call logs suggest that the call lasts between 60 seconds and two minutes.
- June 6, 4:27 p.m.: Trump Jr. receives an incoming call from a blocked number. It lasts for four minutes.
- June 6, 4:31 p.m.: Trump Jr. calls Agalarov. The call lasts for three minutes.
- June 6, 4:38 p.m.: Trump Jr. emails Goldstone. “Rob thanks for the help.”
Emphasis added on this portion of the timeline:
June 6, 4:27 p.m.: Trump Jr. receives an incoming call from a blocked number. It lasts for four minutes.
Who did Don Jr. receive a call from, using a blocked number, that lasted four minutes? A call that was sandwiched between two calls to Emin Alagarov? Donald Trump is widely known to contact people from a blocked number. Junior was asked about this in his testimony, but this was an issue he just can’t seem to remember.
Q. Does your father used a blocked number on his cell phone or on any phones that you call him on?
A. I don’t know.
Q. So you don’t know whether or not this might have been your father?
A. I don’t.
It’s curious that he can’t recall whether his father ever contacts him from a blocked number. Corey Lewandowski has previously testified that Donald Trump’s primary residence has a blocked number. Junior’s memory was also quite fuzzy on the question of whether Donald Trump had a hand in crafting the misleading statement about the Trump Tower meeting.
Q. To the best of your knowledge, did the president provide any edits to the statement or other input?
A. He may have commented through Hope Hicks.
Q. And do you know if his comments provided through Hope Hicks were incorporated into the final statement?
A. I believe some may have been, but this was an effort through lots of people, mostly counsel.
With the new timeline above and the fact that Donald Trump Jr. was promised “very high level and sensitive information” from the Russian government and the fact that Junior set up the meeting with the highest echelon of the Trump campaign during a such a frantic time in the campaign, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Donald Trump himself remained unaware of the meeting and the details. After all, Amy Siskind reminds us that shortly after that Trump Tower meeting is when Trump first began talking about Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails.
This would be a good time to remind everyone that Trump tweeted about HillaryÃ¢ÂÂs emails minutes after Donald JrÃ¢ÂÂs meeting with the Russians was over. https://t.co/IZRGQA5b8l
Ã¢ÂÂ Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) May 16, 2018
Quite the coincidence, indeed.