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

Donald Trump Jr. Super patriot.

Donald Trump Jr. told Senate investigators on Thursday that he set up a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer because he was intrigued that she might have damaging information about Hillary Clinton, saying it was important to learn about Mrs. Clinton’s “fitness” to be president.

That’s right. When Donald Trump received to an offer 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 …

And replied with 

… if it’s what you say I love it

What he really meant was he was overcome with love for his country. So much love that it required him to conspire for a foreign power to make sure that, as a candidate for president, Hillary Clinton was up to the task.

Trump Jr’s discussion about adoption … that is, about a bunch of nothing … or make that opposition research … actually turns out to be none of the above. Not at all. He was doing what any patriotic American would do.

“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” he said. “Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”

Yes. God forbid the United States elect someone who lacked the character and qualifications to be president.

In a prepared statement during an interview with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators, the younger Mr. Trump said he was initially conflicted when he heard that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, might have damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Despite his interest, he said, he always intended to consult with his own lawyers about the propriety of using any information that Ms. Veselnitskaya, who has ties to the Kremlin, gave him at the meeting.

Trump Jr’s heartfelt conflict can certainly be heard in the “I love it” reply he sent minutes after receiving the offer of dirt on Clinton. But there is an important point in the idea that Trump’s top campaign staff, including Jared Kushner and Campaign Chair Paul Manafort, went into this meeting with the idea that anything Veselnitskaya gave them might need to run past the lawyers.

The acknowledgment by the president’s eldest son that he intended to seek legal counsel after the meeting suggests that he knew, or at least suspected, that accepting potentially damaging information about a rival campaign from a foreign country raised thorny legal issues.

Thorny. But Trump Jr did pull out what’s not become the central thrust against attempts to tie the Trump campaign to that Russian “government support for Mr. Trump.”
He is the second person connected to the Trump campaign to tell congressional investigators that the campaign was, essentially, too inexperienced and too unfamiliar with politics to pull off a master strategy — let alone coordinate with the Russian government. Mr. Trump’s brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, painted similar picture during an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The best excuse that either Trump Jr or Jared Kushner has presented to why they signed onto a meeting with representatives of the Russian government expressly for the purpose of obtaining information design to hurt Hillary Clinton boils down to “we were too stupid to know any better.”

Which is … pretty stupid. But not an excuse.

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


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