Thoughts on Trump Jr’s Meeting With a Russian (Part Two)

Call me politically naive, ignorant, whatever…but maybe my attitude reflects something outside of Washington, which might make it useful to note. From what I’ve seen, there are some really huge elephants in the room, which I’ll point out below:

1) I don’t understand how anybody who supports Trump would have a problem with his son (and other members of the campaign) following up when somebody claims they have proof of Hillary Clinton’s criminal dealings with Russia.

I mean, this was huge. Remember the “lock her up” chanting? We despise the blatant stench of hypocrisy that permeates Washington, DC.

Just to recap here…Clinton is part of the group of people who publicly blamed the Benghazi attack on the American embassy on a youtube video! She’s the person (Secretary of State at the time) who was in a key position to repeatedly refuse the now *dead* American ambassador’s requests for much needed protection for months ahead of that attack, in order to maintain a political fiction that things were going great in that part of the world. That hurts; it hurts to realize what a completely selfish political hack we had in control of military decisions for our soldiers. So, yes, that’s just one thing, but it’s *huge*. Then you find out she was the person in charge when we signed 20% of our uranium over to a company in Russia, and that after that deal, the Clinton Foundation received over one hundred million dollars in donations from a Russian company. Um…what? Just, read that and let it sink in. First, where the heck did that uranium go to? How was it used? Did the Russians, by chance, sell any to, say, North Korea? This is *not* making our world safer or better. It’s the worst sort of politics, the worst sort of bribery and cheating, at the highest levels. It’s disgusting, and criminal, and yeah, she should be prosecuted for this. Uranium to the Russians, who are *not* historically trustworthy, and the result is hundreds of millions of dollars, straight into the Clintons’ private organization, and nobody follows up on this?

So yes, *good* for Don Trump Jr for following this lead to see if he could get dirt on Hillary Clinton. We *want* her held accountable! He was trying to find a way to bring her down- woohoo! Yes. I’m clapping. Good.


2) I don’t understand why a foreign government or foreign official endorsing a particular political group or politician is a bad thing?

I mean, a politician can’t control who endorses them, anyway. Was the Trump campaign supposed to be like “no, darn you, you are not allowed to support me! You may have damning, albeit truthful information on my political foe, but I shall turn my nose up at it! Begone!”

Sheesh. Trump Jr wasn’t even taking money here (which is also not illegal up to a point, so long as you disclose it). He was just taking a meeting, to check things out. Why is this wrong, again? I don’t get it.

For some perspective, I do think there are some instances where we, the USA, has overstepped in regard to active interference in an election. (For the record, a country endorsing a candidate in my book doesn’t constitute “active interference”.)

Here’s an example:

President Obama sent *tax payer* money (hundreds of thousands of dollars of it) to actively influence the last election cycle for the Prime Minister of Israel.  I mean, that’s way beyond endorsing somebody; he actively funded an effort to oust Netanyahu. That’s a pretty freaking huge elephant, guys.

And just to recap what I said in my last blog post…If I were Trump Jr and saw that email, first up I would look into it further, but wouldn’t take it *seriously* up front, and his generic answer “I love it”, tells me he didn’t. I mean, who would, given the source? (No offense to British PR guys). On that note, check this interview out, which hilariously puts this in perspective: “My Chat About Russia with Tucker Carlson”:

I just don’t get the crazy reaction from all these talking heads; I mean, so they say the Russian government was supposedly preferring Trump over Clinton (although anything stated so blatantly I’d doubt coming from them)….but so what? What does that have to do with Trump Jr taking this meeting, especially all the way back in June of 2016?

People take information from all kinds of sources all the time. At the end of the day, the media themselves didn’t hesitate to run with the information produced by Wikileaks. Wikileaks is a questionable group of people consisting of hackers, spies, etc who have taken information from individuals the USA has declared to be traitors to our nation. That doesn’t make the information they leaked about Hillary Clinton any less true or unuseable by the media, by the CIA, the FBI…or by the Trump campaign. At the end of the day, they still shed a light on the criminal acts of the Clintons and the shenanigans at the DNC.


3) Trump Jr keeps “Changing his story”.  Come again?

It’s nuts to me, when I stand back and look at it. I mean, the Trump administration’s “public image” taking a hit, his “lack of transparency” etc…that’s all bogus. Trump Jr hasn’t lied about any of this, as far as I can see so far. He’s not “changing his story”, as people keep claiming.  As far as I see it, he’s doing what your average person who thinks it’s a non-story would do: you give a few brief comments, and move on with your life. He’s had thousands of meetings with people. This Russian lady had a translator; he didn’t mention that. She had some Russian acquaintance there, too. Okay; so what? Is it possible that Trump Jr didn’t remember who was there clearly? (Speaking of which, have you ever started telling someone about a movie you saw, only to have them remind you they were *with* you at the theater? *raises hand*)

Even if he did remember them, and didn’t leap to mention it immediately, does that automatically point to something nefarious? No. It could mean he didn’t think the meeting constituted some kind of national security concern (which, bombshell: it didn’t), and so he didn’t think it would be scrutinized, because he didn’t see anything there worth scrutinizing. When it became a bigger story, within a few days, he dug through his email history and released his email interactions, then took an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, and answered every question the commentator could think to ask.

I know I’m repeating myself, but again…*why* is any of this suspicious? I guess I’m the only person on the planet who still gives people the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t see anything that matches up with the “changing story” narrative.  He hasn’t changed anything, he’s just given more information over time as this “nothing burger” meeting turned into a media feeding frenzy (nom nom nom nother burger).  If he did anything “wrong” here, it was not realizing that some people would *make* this into a story, come Hell or high water.  (And this entire episode illustrates why I will *never* get into politics, because I’d be accused of treason in no time, simply for having a poor memory for exactly these kinds of details. :/)


4) One of the biggest elephants in the room: I don’t get the assertion people have been making (and by people, I mean four nameless analysts who work desk jobs at unnamed USA intelligence agencies) that the Kremlin backed the Trump campaign.


Why the heck would anybody buy that the Russians wholeheartedly got behind Trump? It’s nuts, and I don’t care how many times public figures who supposedly know better than me tell me so. What it boils down to is my common sense, based on all the publicly available information, versus the supposed statements of four unnamed people who may have been told by superiors (or might be politically motivated on their own), who work in intelligence.

I mean, we know the CIA and other agencies have NEVER tried to influence public opinion before -__-;) but none the less…am I obliged to take their word, based on no intelligence shared (aka, I don’t get to make my own analysis)? For all I know, their analysis is partially based on that fake Russian “dossier”, for goodness sake.

Let’s state the obvious: If you were Putin, Hillary Clinton would be the obvious candidate to support. Putin *knows* she can be bribed. We all do, thanks to the Uranium deal. Let me rephrase that: she has *bonafide* dirt in her history, and prior dealings at a very high level with the Russian government. Plus, she’s totally predictable. Why? Because she has a *lot* of political history behind her. Most people, sitting down and looking at her history, could probably accurately predict her positions on most topics.

My guess is that the Russians assumed she’d win, and they did try to cultivate favor with her, at least on a minimal level (I mean, they already have a clear relationship established). At the same time, I imagine they also tried to cultivate a relationship with Trump, as a back-up plan. (As a government watching our presidential election, wouldn’t you?) It makes sense that the Kremlin was reaching out to both campaigns, in various forms, by various proxies. This meeting with Trump Jr *might* be one of those attempts, maybe? (If so, whoever orchestrated it has probably been fired for incompetence.).

I figure plenty of other governments also researched and tried to plan ahead, in various ways, since the USA is a huge world power and our policy and leadership decisions impact other governments around the world. One thing we do know, as an example of this, is that a DNC staffer traveled to the Ukrainian embassy, and worked with officials there to gather dirt on Paul Manafort. This was a paid DNC worker, who shared that information directly with the Clinton campaign. In other words, the Ukrainians were actively trying to help Hillary win, and thus actively influence our Presidential election. No big deal there, I guess, though, since it’s not getting any coverage lately? (Source: “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire” )

What’s clear to me is that, when you take all the information we know about the presidential campaigns of 2016, there are many examples of destructive information sharing on both sides of the isle, aimed at both candidates.

And on a side note, does anybody doubt that, when Putin loudly proclaims *anything* about Trump these days, he isn’t fully aware of the fact that many people will assume he’s lying? Putin understands that perfectly well, and what he states in public is calculated with that knowledge. Just something to chew on, in regard to the ongoing propaganda war.


Fusion GPS, Propaganda, and Don Trump Jr.

Okay, so we have a supposed smoking gun, finally located by the press, who have been on a witch hunt for nine months. (Congratulations, you’ve given birth!)

Except…not. Check out this incredible article, in which some real sleuthing has taken place:

In this blog post, I am merely sharing, and re-organizing information they have gathered, along with information gathered from various news sites. Check them out.

First, here are the key players:

1. Donald Trump Jr., son to the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Trump Jr took an active part in the Presidential campaign, but has since gone back to the business world, and does not actively participate at the White House.

2. Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star.

3. Goldstone; Agalarov’s PR guy. He is a citizen of the United Kingdom. He worked with the Trumps to set up a performance for Emin Agalarov at the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.

4. A Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya, whose father is purportedly a friend of Vladmir Putin himself.

5. Fusion GPS; an unspoken player here, since Veselnitskaya has connections to this organization. These are the people who ordered the “Russian dossier” with the fake story about “golden showers”, in which Trump (in someone’s fevered imagination and not in reality) hired prostitutes to pee on a bed in a fancy hotel that the Obamas slept in, in Russia. (Yes, that sounds absurd because it is, but that didn’t stop the story from being published and touted by half a dozen *sitting* congressmen as real.) This story is so fake that the person who gathered the “data” from Russian officials (and these are real Russian government officials, by the way, which is also telling as to their Presidential preferences), is being sued by two separate companies for libel. Libel is when you print lies about someone. The dossier, in addition to making up lewd stories about Trump, also accused specific companies of illegal wrongdoing, which has since been proven completely false…which is why they’re suing.

Next, let’s lay out what happened in this latest sensational collusion-esque story. Trump Jr has been incredibly transparent, which makes this pretty easy to do.

1. Goldstone emails Trump Jr. in the summer of 2016. Here’s the entire email , for you to read:


2. Trump Jr. Replies. Here’s his reply:


3. They go back and forth via email, Trump Jr. originally prefers a phone call, that doesn’t happen, despite his preference, but the lawyer is conveniently able to meet in person at Trump Tower in New York, instead.

4. The meeting takes place; Trump Jr, Manafort, and Jared Kushner are there. Strangely, the lawyer behaves as if the meeting was about Russian adoptions, and a USA law that resulted in Putin stopping those adoptions. This is confusing to Trump Jr., but he is polite enough to hear the lawyer out for about twenty minutes, and then they close the meeting.

5. There has been no follow-up, according to Trump Jr, given that the entire thing was a bizarre waste of time.

Okay. So let’s look at Donald Trump Jr. He’s the guy who, some sitting members of congress have already stated, could be facing a charge of *treason*. (That’s just a *little* over the top, methinks.)

I’d like to state the obvious:

You can’t presume to know what he would have done, if there *had* been damaging information. Period. Therefore, you can’t say he committed collusion of any sort. You can’t even argue, when you look at the way the Trumps communicate habitually, that he even had the intent to collude. Essentially, Trump Jr. got an email stating that a foreign national supposedly had government documents provided by somebody maybe in, or connected to, that foreign government, and that those documents showed criminal activity in regard to Clinton’s “dealings” with that government. The email doesn’t say the “incriminating” activities were designed to get her into the White House. Trump Jr asserted later that he was thinking it might refer to one of the many things which had been mentioned or alluded to in the news, over the prior months and years, in regard to the Clintons. (An obvious example springs to mind: the kick-back to the Clinton foundation, on the order of millions of dollars, apparently received in connection to the Uranium deal with the Russians, along with the subsequent doubling of Bill Clinton’s speaking fees in Russia.) So, Trump Jr. sees a note stating someone from that country has real proof of wrongdoing on Hillary Clinton’s part, and he decides he needs to check it out himself, just to see what’s there.

I chose “foreign national” rather than “Russian” above, initially, to bring us back to Earth. There was no “Russian this, Russian that” in the news at the time, other than in regard to some of Hillary Clinton’s dealings with the Russians. So why would the offer of damaging information, when provided by someone Trump Jr. trusted, raise warning bells for him? Maybe this is too obvious to state, but what nationality would you *expect* his acquaintance Agalarov to have connections with?

All right, so let’s ask a hypothetical question (everybody else is, after all). If, in that meeting, the Russian lawyer had come out and confirmed what the email seemed to imply, that they were indirectly (or directly) representing the Kremlin, and had detailed documents showing collusion of some sort between the Hillary campaign (or Hillary Clinton in her role as Secretary of State), then what next? “Aha!” the media says. “Trump Jr’s willingness to even have a look is criminal on his part!” Really? What should he have done? *Not* looked into this? Also, Trump Jr. Has said that he would have immediately handed that information over to the proper authorities, if there had been any to share. Presumably that information would also have made its way eventually to the news outlets which, potentially, could have aided his father’s campaign. But seriously, what *should* Don Trump Jr. have done? *Not* shared the information? *Not* followed up?

It’s inane. A classic catch-22. Only someone who is out of touch with the wily, shifty, spy thriller mentality in Washington D.C. would walk into this as trustingly and openly as Trump Jr. has done. And what does that really say about him?

He’s not an insider. He’s closer, in mentality, to the *rest* of us- the rest of America. I doubt I would have behaved much differently. If you put yourself in his shoes and walk through things, what he did at the time was common sense. He got an email from a trusted person asserting somebody might have proof of criminality on the part of the Clintons. He agreed to check it out, and in so doing, he used a generalized, positive statement of interest, obviously withholding judgement in regard to the veracity of the source.

With all the news swirling about Clinton’s corrupt activities, it’s a no-brainer that, when presented with potential *real* evidence, you’d look into it. But many people seem to be incapable of placing themselves in the situation in that point in time, from Mr. Trump Jr’s perspective.

From my point of view (and I’ll bet from a legal point of view) if everyone was being honest and straight forward and clear headed, there would be no wrong doing here by any standard. Only the political witch hunt mentality that has built up over months of time even makes this appear to hold water.

And there’s another much more important aspect to this. Something that only a press hellbent on destroying one specific group of people (the Trumps and their allies) could overlook.

This seems to be a bold faced set-up, meant to take Trump Jr. down once a media storm had been generated about Russia (which now clearly it has, for months on end.) Why was it a set-up? Because that same Russian lawyer and President Obama’s Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, sat together in a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing eight days after meeting with Trump Jr in Trump Tower. So, a week out. And on top of that, guess who was sitting right next to Veselnitskaya, with Michael McFaul? Emin Agalarov. (Keep in mind that Trump Tower is in New York, while this meeting took place in Washington DC, but somehow an in-person meeting worked better for Veselnitskaya than a phone call?) You add in the fact that Veselnitskaya has connections to Fusion GPS, and clearly this needs a closer look.

I’m sorry, Don Trump Jr, but it looks like you got stabbed in the back. I think Mr. Agalarov might not really be your friend. To put it another way, these guys played your political naiveté like a finely tuned violin.

Here’s another interesting twist here, something to chew on. The FBI, CIA, and possibly other intelligence organizations will use this type of trick to take down criminals; AKA, stage a fake meeting, see if the person they’re trying to trap will bite. But here’s the thing: Donald Trump Jr only agreed to meet. He didn’t actually state anything that confirmed he believed or trusted what was said in the initial email. He was simply willing to gather information, and see where it led. (Much like our vaunted intelligence organizations do, ironically.) You cannot assert anything here, but if you dig a little deeper, it *does* appear that some very wily people attempted, as a group, to destroy Don Trump Jr. and by proxy, his father.

Also, when you add in the fact that the words in the initial email are so blunt, so obvious, so completely in line with the media’s Trump-Russia collusion go-to phrasing, I’m left flabbergasted that more people don’t immediately see the blatant attempt at propaganda. Here’s the obvious question, and the “tell” that this was a set-up:

How, if the Russian lawyer never mentioned or intended to talk about Hillary and her criminal ties with Russia, did the message arrive in email form that this is why she wanted to meet? (And why, if the media is “unbiased”, hasn’t anyone pointed this out?)

Let’s step back again. What is propaganda? It is a lie or series of lies meant to look real, to influence public opinion. Something to bite into is usually obtained; a sound byte taken out of context, an email taken out of context, etc. A bad photo in bad light. An ugly look. Putin is an ex-KGB operative. This was what he *did*. And still does. This is also what the Clintons did and still do. But the truth is (I would bet money on this) that they are the ones (Fusion GPS anyone?) who provided the talking points in that email.

Again, at the end of the day, Trump Jr. never stated “oh yay, the Russians are colluding with me, this is awesome!” After receiving that email, all he sent back was a generic reply that any businessperson who wants to keep an upbeat, positive outlook might have sent. (Aka, “I love this if it’s true”, in regard to the Hillary-Russia collusion possibility).

It’s naive on his part. It’s not criminal. What Fusion GPS has done previously arguably is criminal, since they are already being sued for libel by two separate companies, in regard to the Russian “dossier”. It’s not any stretch at all to see them as behind this too, given that Veselnitskaya is connected to them, and given the special seat she was given at a meeting with Obama’s ambassador to Russia along with Emin Agalarov, only a week out from the meeting with Don Trump Jr.

Here’s the ultimate irony: If Agalarov and this lawyer Veselnitskaya, along with Fusion GPS, planned this as a covert sneak-attack on Trump Jr, then we have something real, finally. This lawyer, despite her denials, is connected closely to the Kremlin. Her father is purportedly a friend of Vladmir Putin. If anything, this solidifies for me that the Russians *were* colluding to influence the election, using their usual bag of propaganda tricks…but not with the Trumps.

We finally found a real conspiracy here, but somehow everyone has turned 180 degrees around in their seats to look at the victim of the conspirators, rather than at the real perpetrators.


On a potentially related note…

For what it’s worth, I became interested in Russia maybe a decade back, and spent time trying to understand the culture more. I was particularly interested in the conspiracies swirling around Putin, and what the frame of mind was there. I remember, in particular, watching a professorial type talk about a second North American civil war that was sure to break out within the next few years (a prediction that didn’t come to be, thankfully). He went through showing how our country would end up divided into around five different countries, if memory serves.  He had mapped it out, and had even given names to the new “countries”.  His entire presentation was aired by Russia Today, which for those who don’t know, is a state sponsored propaganda tool of the Kremlin.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? People are yacking about how Russia hates the USA. I don’t know that this is accurate (any statement that starts with asserting the attitude of an *entire country* rarely is). But what I can say is there is an interest in protecting their own turf, and seeing a long term enemy take a fall. I think a good number of people in power in Russia, in particular, would enjoy seeing the USA become weaker. What is a great way to accomplish that? Create a conflict within our own country, tear us apart from the inside. This is a strategy the USSR employed boldly and unapologetically for decades, and it’s naive to think that the current Russian president, Vladmir Putin, who is ex-KGB, wouldn’t be aware of those tactics and potentially continue to employ them.