Whether there was a set up or not, the only reason we are in this situation is because Donald Trump, Jr. chose to take that meeting, chose to lie about that meeting, chose to feign full transparency and disclosure about that meeting, and is still hiding stuff about that meeting.
If the meeting was perfectly innocent, why hide so much that it perpetuates a media cycle?
If nothing came of the meeting, why not get it all out there now?
Who all was in the meeting? We should all know this by now instead of seeing the media drip, drip, drip out that first there was a Russian lawyer who the Trump team said was not there. Then it turns out there was a former Soviet spy in the meeting too. Kushner allegedly left the meeting pretty quickly, but the others stayed and there were more in the meeting than we know about.
If the Trump team truly has nothing to hide, they ought to get it all out there quickly, forcefully, and make the case that they should move on.
The problem is at this point no one can really trust them and you can tell no one trusts them because even their own chief defenders are divided on how best to defend them and what talking points work best. It seems they have hired outside, expert damage control advisers and have refused to listen to them given the array of defenses and decisions being made.
On top of it all, it is more and more obvious that most of the leaking is coming from within the Trump team. In fact, one person in the White House tells me he is even convinced it is his colleagues leaking and not the Mueller team leaking. Two senators familiar with the Mueller investigation also tell me the leaks are Trump team originated and not with Mueller’s team in their opinion. In fact, one person with direct knowledge of the investigation tells me that Mueller’s team is looking at something the media speculation is not currently covering and has only shifted its attention to Trump, Jr. after the release of that email thread. But even this guy will not say what the team is actually looking at. And I should note that it was Jared Kushner’s legal team that threw the Don, Jr. email out there.
The people in the Trump team, as a White House friend said to me, are engaged in “amateur Game of Thrones bulls**t” and have largely succeeded in sabotaging the rest of this year for the President.
It should be abundantly obvious to everyone at this point that the Russians knew stupid when they saw it and knew just how easy it would be to toy with Team Trump for their own ends. Sadly, that should be the wake up call to the President that he needs to start listening to advice from the qualified people around him, but he seems intent to keep it all in the very same family that is sinking his ship of state.
This is so stupid.