In the smokiest gun yet, a chain of released emails shows that Donald Trump Jr. accepted a secret meeting with a Russian government emissary last year to help his father become president of the United States. There may or may have been up to 8 officials in the meeting. There may or may not have been discussions of adoption. There may or may not have been good dirt on Hillary Clinton. But there was almost certainly talk of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” The right says NBD. The left says collusion. But despite Don Jr. being caught with his hand in the Russian cookie jar, the president (unsurprisingly) continued to staunchly defend his eldest son on Twitter. The biggest question of all? How do you solve a problem like Don Jr.?
The Trump administration has been fielding questions about Russian collusion ever since the election. Their answer has always been nyet but these emails seem to prove the opposite. So how did they spin this meeting, you ask? Well it’s hard to keep track but some excuses were that the cookie jar was empty anyway, the dog ate my emails, and fake news is a yuuuge problem compared to Russia. Helpfully, multiple investigations, including at the FBI, are trying to get to the bottom of whether Trump's campaign was involved in helping Russia hack the DNC and generally improve Trump’s chances of winning. Nothing has been concluded yet but the Trump Team’s continually changing story isn’t helping them look less shady.
Of course while none of this confirms that Don Jr. or anyone else in the Trump campaign did anything illegal (yet – watch this space), the attempts to normalize and downplay Russian interference in American democratic processes sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s future. So what can we confirm at this point? Well, after years of less-than-friendly relations, the US and Russian leaders are apparently rethinking their relationship status, highlighted at the recent G20 meeting. So what’s in it for Russia, you ask? Google the saying about keeping your enemies closer. TBD whether this signifies a permanent shift in geopolitical relations.
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