Donald Tramp Mlađi
© AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster
By all means, head on over to the New York Times for the full story on how evil Donald Trump Jr. met with an evil Russian lawyer offering up all the dirt on Hillary Clinton, directly provided to her (the Russian lawyer) by evil president Vladimir Putin's evil Russian government minions, all to ensure evil Donald Trump's election as president. Or, if you'd rather not waste your time reading reams of overinflated garbage, here's everything you need to know about the latest FakeNews nothing-burger.

The story has now had three incarnations, courtesy of the failing New York Times. During the Trump campaign,
  1. Trump Jr. met Russian lawyer. (Not juicy enough.)
  2. Trump Jr. met Russian lawyer who promised the dirt on Hillary. (Juicier, but not quite there yet!)
  3. Trump Jr. met Russian lawyer working directly for the Kremlin who promised the dirt on Hillary. (Almost there!)
It's only a matter of time before phase four introduces some Russian honey traps and personal notes written to Trump in Vlad's elegant handwriting. We're not there yet, but version three is being called a bombshell. Hardly. The only reason the story gets inflated with each passing day is because it's a big, fat nothing-burger. The NYT knows that, so they're intentionally embellishing another non-story.

In the NYT's latest adventure in shooting themselves in the foot (repeatedly) they say their latest "development" (that Trump Jr. was informed this info was part of a "Russian government effort to aid his father's candidacy") comes from "three people with knowledge of the email" sent to Trump Jr. from British publicist Rob Goldstone, proposing the meeting.

The Russian lawyer in question, Natalia Veselnitskaya, denied any connection to the Kremlin in an interview with NBC. She confirmed that she met with the Trump Jr., but insists that the meeting was about American adoption of Russian children and had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. says the same thing, which is why other participants in the meeting (Kushner and Manafort) walked out and Trump Jr. said the meeting was a waste of time.

But who's going to believe a Russian plant working directly for Putin? And who's going to listen to Trump Jr., who works directly for a president working directly for Putin? No one, obviously. So how about we take a look at those emails for ourselves? Trump Jr. just posted them on his Twitter page.
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Here's the incriminating text that has the Times so worked up:
"The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his [Emin's] father Aras 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."
Aras = Aras Agalarov, president of the firm that licensed the Miss Universe pageant. Emin = his son. Crown prosecutor = Yury Chaika, Russia's prosecutor general.

So the Russian prosecutor general allegedly offered to provide some Russian businessmen with documents on Hillary Clinton's ties with Russia, which would then be passed on to the Trump campaign. There's no evidence those documents were shared. (We already know plenty of Clinton's shady deals with Russia.) Goldstone says this is part of the Russian government's "support for Mr. Trump". It's not clear if that's his judgment, that of the Agalarovs, or that of the Russian prosecutor general.

Anti-Trumpers are sure to see this as slam-dunk evidence of Kremlin-Trump collusion. The rest, myself included, will probably be asking what the big deal is. If some Russians want to release some documents showing shady dealings between some other Russians and an American politician, by all means, let us see them. (It just better be of higher quality than the dodgey Trump-Russia dossier.) And if some Russians want to use the promise of such documents (real or imagined) as bait for a meeting with an American politician's team, again, big deal.

I just find it ironic that the potential sharing of documents showing Clinton-Russia collusion is being used to further the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion.

What would make this an actual story? How about some evidence of American journalists working for the Russian SVR, or Russians funding and arming American "opposition movements", or Russians planning an American coup d'etat - you know, all the things the Americans routinely do all over the planet? Until that happens, forgive my boredom.

It's obvious Russians preferred Trump over Clinton. Trump wasn't the one beating the war drums against Russia, Clinton was. Trump was promising friendly relations. And if what Goldstone said was true, some Russians were even willing to make Russia look bad by showing that some Russians would stoop so low as to have dealings with Hillary Clinton. Again, big deal.

Moon of Alabama put it best:
Which Campaign Truly Colluded With Russia?

Case 1:

A Hillary Clinton campaign cut-out hires the (former?) British intelligence agent Steele to pay money to (former?) Russian intelligence agents and high-level Kremlin employees for dirt about Donald Trump. They deliver some dirty fairy tales. The resulting dossier is peddled far and wide throughout Washington DC with the intent of damaging Trump.

Case 2:

Some lobbyist for Russian business interests contacts the Trump campaign with a promise to deliver some dirt on Hillary Clinton. She meets campaign officials but no dirt on Clinton is offered. Instead the lobbyist uses the time to lobby for the business' cause. There is no follow up.


Which of the two cases stinks of "collusion with the Russians"?
More to the point, the alleged offer from the Russian Prosecutor General to provide evidence of Clinton's dealings with Russia happened at a time when the Trump campaign and Russia had been under severe attack from the Clinton team and most of the US media over their alleged 'ties with Russia'. Why, therefore, is it 'shocking' that the Trump campaign would have been interested in hard evidence that Clinton was up to her neck in dealings with Russia and thereby expose Clinton's massive hypocrisy? Clearly, it isn't shocking at all, and can only be seen in that hysterical way if you remove all context and focus only on the deliberately manufactured lie that 'Russia hacked the US election', thereby making it 'treasonous' for any US politician to even talk to a Russian, which in itself is an absolutely ridiculous contention.