If there’s anything I learned from studying about and in the Soviet Union during college, it was that things were never as they seemed.

There always seemed to be a manipulation and deception, whether for a specific purpose or just because they could. Kind of like the Clintons.

Which leads me to the Donald Trump, Jr. meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. My initial thoughts were in my post, Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not “collusion” or illegality.

It may be that the simplest explanation holds: This was a pitch by Veselnitskaya to lobby against the Magnitsky Act, and the promise of “official documents and information” showing that Hillary Clinton had improper collusion with Russia was just a ruse to get her in the door. Trump Jr. was happy to take the meeting for the same reason that Democratic operatives were happy to work with the Ukrainians — getting oppo research on your opponent is one of the things campaigns do. That foreign governments were involved didn’t seem to matter to either campaign, though the Clinton campaign was more savvy in keeping a distance of deniability.

Another simple theory is that this was a Russian espionage operation, an attempt to penetrate the Trump campaign, sound it out on collusion, maybe even collude. Jonathan Turley notes that this “simple” espionage theory makes no sense:

Let me try to sum up this theory.

The Russians decide to reveal their super secret clandestine effort to secure the presidency for Donald Trump. So they put together a high-ranking, high-visibility meeting at Trump Tower without knowing who would be at the meeting. They also allow a creepy publicist to send an email discussing the grand conspiracy. They then do a Charlie Brown football moment and do not actually disclose the promised incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton. Does that track with any cognizable Russian intelligence operation? What possible advantage is there in revealing their operation, promising intel, and then not actually sharing anything of value? The Russians are not perfect but they are not morons. If this was Russian operation, we truly have over-estimated our opposition.

Russians do not usually set up meetings at places like Trump Tower with an unknown number of persons to discuss secret operations. Setting up such a meeting would give others leverage against the Russians by disclosing their operation. Russians are not known to hand over leveraging information, particularly for nothing in return. Spies are by their nature control nuts.

As more information has dribbled out, I’m becoming suspicious that all is not what it seems. I don’t pretend to have the answers to what really is going on, but a few developments have stirred questions.

The Hill reported, Exclusive: DOJ let Russian lawyer into US before she met with Trump team:

The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.

This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.

Later, a series of events between an intermediary for the attorney and the Trump campaign ultimately led to the controversy surrounding Donald Trump Jr.

Yet Veselnitskaya stayed far beyond the time period of her “parole immigration,” ended up at Trump’s doorstep, at congressional hearings, and all about town. Strange.

And as The Observer notes, Veselnitskaya and Hillary Clinton were on the same side of the issue, with a Bill Clinton connection:

In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank—for which he was paid $500,000. “Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Nothing is as it seems.

Just tonight, Loretta Lynch issued a statement through a spokesman that was a very Clintonian denial.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Lynch said the former attorney general “does not have any personal knowledge of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s travel.”

In his remarks in France, Trump appeared to cite a report in The Hill that the Justice Department issued Veselnitskaya a special immigration waiver so that she could defend her client, a Russian firm, in an asset forfeiture case in New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in New York told The Hill that it let Veselnitskaya into the country on a grant of immigration parole from October 2015 to early January 2016 after her initial request for a visa had been denied.

Court records show that when Veselnitskaya sought permission to extend her stay, the U.S. attorney at the hearing told the judge that the special visa the Russian lawyer received was part of a “discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances.”

The U.S. attorney described the grant of parole immigration as extremely rare.

There also are reported links between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the firm the produced the mostly (if not entirely) discredited salacious “dossier” on Trump and was doing oppo research against Trump. The Daily Caller reports:

Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, also joined the Russian lawyer and “worked with her on a legal case for years,” according to The Washington Post.

Fusion GPS is the firm that reportedly commissioned a phony “dossier” authored by former British spy Christopher Steele that alleged salacious and largely erroneous charges about President Donald Trump.

Most news organizations reject the dossier as dubious at best, but it eventually was published by BuzzFeed 10 days before Trump was inaugurated.

Christopher Cooper, the founder and CEO of Potomac Square Group, also joined Veselnitskaya. His company does campaign work for foreign principles and foreign governments including the governments of Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UAE, and Nigeria as well as Russia. The company’s clients have included Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Potomac Square also partnered with Dean’s campaign manger Joe Trippi on behalf of the families of radical Islamic terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay.

I appeared earlier today on Newsmax TV with Bill Tucker, and we talked about the Trump Jr. meeting. I expressed my concerns:

“I don’t think we need to go full conspiracy theory, but there’s something very unusual about this whole thing. There’s something that is very odd about this woman coming in on, I think they called it a visa amnesty or parole, or something like that. A very special category that I think had to be approved at the higher, or highest, levels of the Department of Justice. And she overstays the visa, and no one notices?

Something’s very strange here. And then she arranges a meeting with the inner circle, or through somebody the inner circle of the Trump campaign. Something is just not sitting right here. And then it turns out that she may have some connection to oppo researchers for the Clinton campaign or the Democrats who were trying to get dirt on Trump. Something just doesn’t seem right here, and I think it’s worth asking a lot of questions because this doesn’t just happen.

Somebody with her connections doesn’t just happen to show up at the doorstep of the campaign of one of the two major parties, who just secured enough delegates to win the nomination. It’s just very, very strange, and given her background and given what DOJ knew about her, something’s not adding up here.”

Note: Bill Tucker mentioned the co-founder of Fusion GPS testifying next week before the Senate. After our program, it was reported that appearance was canceled.