Gage Skidmore / Flickr donald trump jr arms open...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Donald Trump’s oldest son didn’t just jump at the chance to get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer. He didn’t just bring Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in to participate. He didn’t stop with whatever he learned at that meeting.

The New York Times is reporting that, before any of that happened, Donald Trump, Jr., was informed that what he was getting was material from the Russian government designed to aid his father’s election.

Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

The message sent to Trump by PR agent Rob Goldstone wasn’t just, “Hey, want some dirt on Hillary?” It was “How about some damaging information on your father’s opponent provided to you as part of a Russian government scheme to put your father in office?”

Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign. There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails.

That’s not a smoking gun. That’s a flaming gun. Donald Trump, Jr., didn’t stumble into a meeting “about adoption” and he certainly wasn’t set up by Democrats. He colluded with the Russian government, eagerly and directly, to alter the outcome of the United States presidential election.

In any rational world, that’s game, set, and match. Now we find out what kind of world we live in.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.