Gage Skidmore / Flickr kellyanne conway...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Over the weekend we learned Donald Trump Jr. was approached by an “acquaintance” who arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian attorney. After months of denying any contact whatsoever with any Russian contacts, Don Jr. not only confirmed the meeting after being approached by the New York Times, he went on to confirm both Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attended the meeting and the purpose was to get information from this Russian contact that would simultaneously damage Hillary Clinton and help the Trump campaign. Another word for that is “collusion.” 

In response to the obvious evidence of collusion creeping into the Trump family itself, the White House has done two things in the last 24 hours which give off an increasing sense of panic at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The first is pushing a story that James Comey leaked classified information. Spoiler alert! He didn’t.

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It was based on a misleading report from Fox News. Nevertheless, the story did provide a brief distraction from the meeting between Trump’s inner circle and a Kremlin-linked attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. 

The second sign of panic is that Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s top spin master, was personally sent out to the morning news shows to try and change the narrative, something she’s exceedingly good at … until today. In an absolutely bonkers interview, one that lasted an astonishing 35 minutes, Kellyanne tied herself up in knots trying to deflect and change the subject to something, anything other than Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian attorney. The entire interview and transcript can be seen below, but let’s first unpack some of the more intriguing parts of the interview.

For starters, Kellyanne Conway first tried to spin Trump’s epic fail this weekend with the proposed joint Russia-U.S. cybersecurity unit. After Conway offered the White House version of the Trump-Putin meeting, offering digs at CNN in the process, New Day host Chris Cuomo asked whether Trump explicitly told Putin to quit interfering, then he pivoted to the Don Jr. story. Watch this rather incredible exchange:

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Let’s stop right there. Cuomo brings up an important point—if this meeting was a favor to a friend, with a person unknown to him, why would he bring in Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort? This meeting took place only two weeks after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination. The very same day as that meeting, Trump and company brought Reince Preibus, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to Trump Tower for an all-hands-on-deck meeting about financing the Trump campaign. It was a big day for the campaign, and we’re now led to believe this was a no-big-deal meeting in which Trump’s inner circle gathered to meet with an unidentified person? Kellyanne goes on to lay out their entire defense (for now), which seems to be that the Trump campaign didn’t actually get any information from the meeting, so no harm, no foul. In her words, “no information provided that was meaningful.”

Does that mean that if they had gotten “meaningful” information out of the meeting it would then be considered a crime?

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