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Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not “collusion” or illegality

Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not “collusion” or illegality

Trump opponents popping the champagne corks is probably the best thing Trump Jr. has going for him

The NY Times has an article today about email exchanges between Donald Trump Jr. and a person setting up a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising damaging documents and information about Hillary Clinton’s connections to Russia.

In a preemptive move, Trump Jr. published the email exchange on Twitter (here and here) just before the Times published its story.

The emails are highly embarrassing and politically damaging, but as usual, the media and other Trump opponents are overstating the case. The media overstating the case and popping the champagne corks are probably the best things Trump Jr. and the Trump administration have going for them.

The emails show no actual evidence of “collusion” or illegality. There is nothing indicating the information to be offered was stolen or otherwise improperly obtained, or that other than being willing to listen, the Trump campaign was involved in how the information was obtained. To the contrary, the promised information was “official records and information.”

This also took place prior to the hack of the DNC being publicly known, so there was no reason to suspect that this was hacked information. Notice how the narrative has changed from the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians to “hack the election” to the Trump campaign being willing to have a meeting with someone who may have damaging oppo research.

And of course, there was no there there. There’s no indication any information actually existed.

Trump Jr. displayed incredible amateurishness in how this was handled. There isn’t any doubt that the Clinton campaign, if offered “official records and information” showing improper Trump dealings with the Russians would have taken the meeting.  But her campaign would have been savvy enough to do it through surrogates and allies, and to provide key players with deniability and distance. We know this because in January 2017 Politico reported that the Ukrainian government helped Hillary with opposition research on Trump, but she did it though “allies.”

Trump Jr., by contrast, took the bait, and brought others from the inner circle into it. In so doing, he provided seeming confirmation for a preexisting narrative. Even if the actual emails don’t show it.

The lack of suspicion of someone who approaches with such a promise is quite astounding. I’m always suspicious of unsolicited tips and contacts. Is this person for real, am I being set up, and so on, immediately run through my mind. That appears not to have been the case for Trump Jr. here. If, as intelligence officials have stated before, the goal of the Russians was to disrupt the U.S. political environment, it didn’t matter whether there actually was damaging information on Hillary — Trump Jr. merely taking the meeting was the hook the Russians had into a later disruption.

So my overall take on this is that the Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not collusion or illegality.

I explained my position on the Tony Katz Show earlier today.

(click here if audio viewer doesn’t load)

My take is not the collective narrative, but the collective narrative repeatedly has gotten ahead of itself and the actual evidence.

Here are some key excerpts from the NY Times article, including some portions that are largely ignored in the media frenzy, Russian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It,’ Donald Trump Jr. Said

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” …

He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Russian government attorney.”

Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would likely bring along “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers….

The precise nature of the promised damaging information about Mrs. Clinton is unclear, and there is no evidence to suggest that it was related to Russian-government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails….

The back story to the June 9 meeting involves an eclectic cast of characters the Trump family knew from its business dealings in Moscow.

The initial email outreach came from Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and entertainment publicist who first met the future president when the Trump Organization was attempting to do business in Russia.

In the June 3 email, Mr. Goldstone told Donald J. Trump Jr. that he was writing on behalf of a mutual friend, one of Russia’s biggest pop music stars, Emin Agalarov. Emin, who professionally uses his first name only, is the son of Aras Agalarov, a real estate tycoon sometimes called the “Donald Trump of Russia.”

The elder Agalarov boasts close ties to Mr. Putin: his company has won several large state building contracts, and Mr. Putin awarded him the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation.” …

Mr. Kushner recently disclosed the fact of the meeting, though not the content, in a revised form on which all those seeking top secret security clearances are required to list contacts with foreign government officials and their representatives. The Times reported in April that he had failed to list a number of Russian contacts, which his lawyer called an error.

Mr. Manafort also disclosed that a meeting had occurred, and that Donald Trump Jr. had organized it, in response to one of the Russia-related congressional investigations.

Trump Jr.’s lawyer issued the following statement:

https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/884599737101545473

Was this “collusion”? That’s not a legal term, and it depends on how you want to define collusion. Mirriam-Webster‘s definition is: “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.” Based on the emails, the purpose was not for an illegal or deceitful purpose, it was to expose allegedly improper conduct by a political opponent. But “collusion” is so ill-defined, that the media is running wild with it, and as usual, overstating the case:

Don’t think for a second the media or other Trump opponents actually care about the substance of Trump Jr.’s emails or meeting. If they actually cared about collusion with foreign governments, the January 2017 Politico report on actual collusion between Clinton allies and the Ukrainians would not have gone down the media memory hole.

I don’t underestimate the potential political damage from this. It breathes new life into the attempt to delegitimize Trump’s victory.

Perhaps had this not come after a year of mostly false and anonymous stories that have been serially debunked over time, it would have more legs.

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Comments

And this information came from the Russian Crown Prosecutor himself (and the position is apparently hereditary), according to the email. Hmmmm. The Tsar is still around? When one receives an email with a obvious joke, all may not be as portrayed by the MSM.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to puhiawa. | July 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    The American MSM has committed suicide with their Corrupt (and stupid) “Russia, Russia, Russia” Lie.

Thanks Professor for this elucidation. So tired of all of this Trump collusion nonsense from the mainstream media. They, like the boy who cried wolf, would make it hard for me to believe them even if they had something that was actually true (which they don’t and won’t.)

    heyjoojoo in reply to TPHobbit. | July 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I don’t think it ever will be.
    American journalism is dead.

      n.n in reply to heyjoojoo. | July 11, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Journalism, with rare exception, serves national, special, or peculiar interests, including the publisher and journalist. This does not preclude valid information and analysis, but it does confirm the validity and wisdom of the traditional standard: multiple, independent sources.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to TPHobbit. | July 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    But we have abundant Evidence of the
    MSM Colluding, last year….

How was the obama admin in possession of Trump jr.’s personal emails?
Did they survailing the entire Trump team?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to justice. | July 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    “You Betcha!”

    Milhouse in reply to justice. | July 11, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Who says it was? Where did you get the idea that this came from there?

    Jackie in reply to justice. | July 13, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I was thinking the same thing. Obviously Jr. Was hacked since the Times was given copies of the emails. Sessions is totally incompetent. He recuses himself for no reason. Does nothing about Comey’s best friend running an investigation which is against the statute. He doesn’t have the guts to tell Meuller that Meuller has to recuse himself and now he does nothing about these leaks. Trump has an Attorney General who is gutless and an Assistant AG who appoints Comey’s mentor clearly against the law. Trump can’t do everything he needs help and he’s not getting it.

The NYT is using the WaPo/Watergate playbook, hoping for a guilty verdict from a trial by press, or to force an incongruity that will engender a resignation.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to n.n. | July 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    That bus has already left the station, and the Dems have already thrown the New York Slimes and Washed-Up Post under it.

    Tom Servo in reply to n.n. | July 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Nobody in the MSM is even trying to apply one tiny bit of critical thought to what this email evidence is telling them. (well of course because they’re trying to conduct a witch hunt, not figure out what was going on)

    But the original email that they are excited about (with the “Crown Prosecutor”? That should be a red flag right there) promises all kinds of info, BUT when the interviewee shows up, she knew nothing about it and had nothing to offer.
    (I do believe the Russian lawyer when she says was summoned to the meeting, she didn’t set it up) Obviously the original email was a carefully constructed set of lies, and this SCREAMS that the entire thing was a setup for both sides, by someone who had an ulterior purpose from the start (like documenting some embarrassing emails with Trump Jr’s name on them)

    This is the kind of false flag operation an oppo research / dirty tricks political operative would set up. All of the actual evidence we have suggest strongly that this is what was actually going on, if anyone would care to look at it honestly. That also would be why news of this just came out now – they were sitting on it as a back up plan if the main attack against Trump Sr. started to fizzle out.

      Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | July 11, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      (I do believe the Russian lawyer when she says was summoned to the meeting, she didn’t set it up)

      Also the fact that she was represented as a government attorney when in fact she turned out not to have any connection with the government.

johnnycab23513 | July 11, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Amature is what we, the voters want. We are sick and tired of the fraud and corruption of the democrat party and all of the career Tunis like McCain, Graham, Paul, Ryan, etc. These crooks tell us what we want. Trump listens to us tell him what we want!

    Voyager in reply to johnnycab23513. | July 11, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    That’s the thing that struck me about this too. The “professional” thing to do is to do it in such a convoluted and opaque way that no-one could really prove whether you’d been up to it or not.

    The Trumps, on the other hand just do it, and don’t bother keeping all of this in the shadows. He released the entire email chain, warts and all! Nobody does that; it’s all layers and layers of artifice with hollow chests underneath it all.

For starters, this story completely vindicates Trump of collusion.
If there was collusion, why would it have been necessary to take
this meeting? Podesta and the DNC were hacked in March and May
respectively. This meeting happened in June. And yet, The NY Times and multiple leakers have tried vigilantly to make the case until they couldn’t.
This is the smoking gun proof, but not the kind the readers of the Times have hoped for.

I could see DJT Jr. glossing over the “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” part of the email, and mostly not giving a damn about where or how the information was gotten since the Comey-Clinton email press conference was still in the future and Trump was way behind in the polls.

Here’s the thing I want to know. It’s a question that has gone unasked anywhere that I’ve read about the emails and that is, who is this Goldstone guy and how would he have known of any efforts by the Russian government to assist the Trump campaign? Because I really want a deep dive into Rob Goldstone’s bona fides and why he would be acting as an intermediary for the Russian government.

Truthfully, this smells from where I sit.

    Tom Servo in reply to Dave. | July 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    Exactly – why would this have been given to Goldstone, of all people?

    But consider the claims in the email that set this up – first, that the info came from the “Crown Prosecutor”, a ridiculous lie on its face.

    That they had damaging info to hand over – they didn’t, another lie.

    That the person there were sending to meet him was interested in helping him – another lie, she gave them nothing and appeared to not even know what was supposed to be talked about.

    That the person they were sending was representing the Russian Government – she wasn’t, another lie.

    In the face of that information, which we KNOW, what are the odds that the statement “The Russian Government is supporting Trump’s candidacy” was a truthful statement?

    That entire email sounds worthy of the men who write the Prince of Nigeria scam emails more than anyone else.

    Milhouse in reply to Dave. | July 12, 2017 at 12:04 am

    who is this Goldstone guy and how would he have known of any efforts by the Russian government to assist the Trump campaign?

    Well, he got it from his friend Emin, who got it from his father Aras, who presumably got it from someone who supposedly got it from the “crown prosecutor” (which may merely be a clumsy translation of a genuine Russian title). Was Goldstone in on the hoax, or merely an innocent conduit? Was Goldstone the source that leaked the email last week, or was it someone CCd or BCCd on Goldstone’s original email to Trump Jr?

    Arminius in reply to Dave. | July 12, 2017 at 5:35 am

    In case anyone missed it in the article Emin is an Azerbaijani singer and songwriter. Emin is his stage name; his full name, if any one is interested, is Emin Agalarov. Goldstone is a promoter, so that’s the link between those two. They’ve worked together. I’m not sure when Goldstone and Trump first met but Goldstone had developed sufficient contacts with the Russian government as a concert promoter that he was able to convince Trump to hold the Miss Universe contest in Moscow a few years back.

    Rob Goldstone is of course not Russian but British. Which might explain why he called the prosecutor general of Russia the Crown prosecutor. A Freudian slip; the simplest explanation is that he unthinkingly used term he’s most used to.

    “Was Goldstone in on the hoax, or merely an innocent conduit?”

    I think Goldstone got played along with DJT Jr. I don’t think the Russians would trust him enough to let him in on their real plans. For one thing he’s not a trained operator he’d be too nervous to go through with it (This is why I believe the stories of the two female assassins who killed Kim Jong Nam in the Kuala Lumpur airport when they say they thought it was part of a reality TV show because the plan was such that only a complete patsy would have knowingly participated; VX gas is safe to handle and only becomes deadly when the two components are mixed, so the second girl was in real danger and why you can see her on the security camera running to the nearest bathroom to wash it off as she had gotten the complete mixture on her hands). Also unless he’s a complete idiot he would have to know that as soon as the non-governmental Russian lawyer showed up empty handed he would have to know he had just been exposed to his business partners as a liar. Like the two NORK patsies in Malaysia I my semi-professional assessment is that he was duped.

    The lawyer may or may not have been at least partly in on the plan. But she would have known she was completely safe and she would have no reason to be nervous abut anything.

    Right now the only people colluding with Vladimir Putin are the Democrats. Perhaps only as useful idiots but frankly I don’t think they care. Putin isn’t some mad genius. He had no idea who was going to win in November. He always plays both sides. In Europe he’ll funnel money to leftist groups like the Black Bloc and Antifa. Then he’ll turn around and funnel money to the skinheads. Since Russia is weak, his goal is to create chaos and mistrust in the system. To delegitimize who ever becomes President. Since Russia doesn’t have the economy to get stronger, he plays his weak hand to make his adversaries such as NATO in general and the US in particular.

    Since the Democrats share the same goal, to delegitimize Trump, they’ll happily dance to Putin’s tune.

In the immortal words of Al Gore Jr., “No laws were broken.”

    Milhouse in reply to myiq2xu. | July 12, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Exactly. At the end of the day, even if the Trump campaign had knowingly worked with the Russian government to publish true information that would sway voters their way, that would be completely legal, regardless of how the Russians had obtained the information, and regardless of whether the Trump people know how the Russians had got it.

buckeyeminuteman | July 11, 2017 at 3:26 pm

It’s true, the Trump campaign during the Primaries was pretty amateur and childish. The campaign leading up to November hit all the right notes. And the Administrations since November has been hitting it out of the park! I’ve never been so optimistic in my adult life about the outlook for our nation.

Another pathetic attempt to make something out of nothing. Nothing any more embarrassing in these emails than in the DNC emails. Actually, they are far less embarrassing. They also prove the Trump campaign did not take the bait. Bait which may have been dangled in front of them by the same people who paid for the bullshit ‘dossier’. This appears to me to have been a failed attempt to compromise the campaign, one which Jr. & Jared manifestly rejected.

The MSM are drooling thinking they’ve finally hit the jackpot. Not.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | July 11, 2017 at 4:08 pm

I agree the media will try to make it politically damaging, and it is probably “amateurish” by current standards but maybe that is part of the problem.

The way I see it, Trump Jr. took a meeting at the request of a family friend because someone wanted to volunteer information about his dad’s adversary. That seems entirely normal. What son who is as close to his father as Jr. seems to be to his wouldn’t do that? Maybe the people who are “professionals” and try to put distance between the candidate and the tipster are the shady, untrustworty ones.

OneVoiceInAmerica | July 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm

If the issue is information coming from foreign sources to impact US elections, would John McCain be guilty of coll-uuuuu-sion, based on his involvement in the Russian hooker dossier?

    Liberty Bell in reply to OneVoiceInAmerica. | July 11, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    The smart play for the Democrats and media would be to sit back and let the Republican’s paralysis on healthcare damage them in the mid-terms. Instead they solidify Trumps support by peddling poppycock.

    Keep it up girls.

practicalconservative | July 11, 2017 at 4:41 pm

I am not even sure it is amateurishness, Professor. Bill Clinton’s tarmac meeting with Loretta Lynch did not garner media outrage. The media will highlight what the media chooses to highlight. What was once “news” has devolved into gamesmanship and narrative. If you are a media target, no matter how savvy you are, liars will continue to lie about you.

The calls have been so shrill over the past few months that the media is very much like the boy who cried wolf. Even if they found something substantial (which they have not) voters would not believe the media or Congress at this point. They have sacrificed their last vestiges of credibility in a kamikaze mission to get Trump at all costs.

Journalism is dead in America. It is just propaganda now.

    I think many people, even fervent Democrats, have tuned these folks out. They are preaching to a flock that has left the meeting hall.

    Only they really care now.

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Since such “high-level and sensitive information” did not appear at this meeting, that by itself should pretty much end speculation that the Russians did indeed support Trump in any way. If they did, they’d have sent something useful.

    Milhouse in reply to tom swift. | July 12, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Nope. You are assuming without any basis that the message to Goldstone did indeed originate (1) from inside the Russian government, and (2) from someone in the government who would have been in on any official desire to help Trump, were such a desire to exist. It’s completely possible that, even at that date, there was a government plan to support Trump, but the Goldstone contact originated (1) from outside the government, or (2) from someone inside the government who wasn’t in on this plan.

Yeah, the first word that comes to mind when Team password:”password” Pantsuit is mentioned is “savvy”.

The left is behaving as if a foreign government offering dirt on a candidates political opponent is an act of war and the person receiving the information is guilty of treason. Is the American public really that stupid? We do it, they do it, everyone does it and if the end result is a more informed electorate, what’s the problem?

    Milhouse in reply to Sanddog. | July 12, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Exactly, but yes, people are that stupid, and easily believe such claims, no matter which side they’re made by. (Witness all the people crying treason over various D shenanigans that don’t meet the legal definition. Bill Clinton accepting PLA money, for instance, was illegal but not treason.)

OleDirtyBarrister | July 11, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, “Sean Spicier” is an entertaining troll on twitter. Liberals do not like him. Enjoy it.

https://twitter.com/sean_spicier?lang=en

healthguyfsu | July 11, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Nadaburger

Normally (for the Dems at least) when a suspicious character claims to have ‘dirt’ on your opponent, you send a Trusted Minion Group to have the meeting, such as OFA or another Dem shill.
1) If the dirt is real, they will pass it along to the campaign.
2) If the dirt is nothing (as they normally are), nothing happens.
3) If it is a setup, the Dem shill group rolls happily under the bus, the campaign displays their clean hands, and life goes on.

Now, the Trump campaign.

Something to remember: they have no *Trusted* Minion group, so when a possible governmental leak pops up, they can’t delegate the meeting. Still, they tried. Note not just one, but two witnesses in the meeting to cover DJTjr. They had the meeting, there was nothing to the tasty bait other than the lawyer using the bait to plug her own project, and they left. One of most probably a dozen or two meetings on that day.

Reactions:
Republicans: Yawn. Is that it?
Democrats: Russia! Russia! Russia! Impeach! Treason! Froth! Foam!

From GatewayPundit:

Natalia Veselnitskaya was sitting with Obama’s Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul during a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, 8 days after cold-contacting Trump Jr. in Trump Tower.

That looks like Emin Agalarov sitting next to Natalia Veselnitskaya. He was mentioned in Donald Trump Jr’s statement this morning. Emin helped set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya.

Veselnitskaya was also connected to Fusion GPS, the DNC opposition research firm that produced the fraudulent and discredited Trump Dossier.

In my opinion, the worst thing that Don, Jr can do with this incident is try to further explain it. So far, he has given a clear and concise account of the whole incident from beginning to end. There is NO evidence which contradicts the accuracy of this account or even calls it into question. It is the same as is he picked up a paper bag on the side walk and looked inside and then threw it in the nearest trashcan. People are free to speculate upon what the bag held, but if he claims it was a ham sandwich, there is no evidence to contradict that statement, and as no one would get upset or excited if the bag contained a ham sandwich, one would simply ignore further questions about it and move on.

Working in his favor is the fact that a majority of the people in this country have come to the conclusion that the Trump campaign was not involved with the Russian government to influence or fix the election. They recognize that this is all nothing more than a pipe dream disseminated to discredit the duly elected President of the United States of America by the “fake news media and anti-Trump forces.

File this as item #9328 where the desperate media flails about once again with meaningless accusations.

More MSM failure.

Amateur is right:

The Demoncrats for thinking they could get away with such a setup.

And the GOP (Trump Jr) for falling for it!

Collusion is simply the name we give to the things we choose to do together. Seriously. Look it up.

I wonder what next weeks outrage will be? Anyone want to start placing bets?

When the phrase”with the Russians” is used stating possible bad behavior by Trump or any of his people, then this must implicitly refer to those in the Russian government. If it did not and referred to anyone identifying as a Russian citizen or someone of Russian descent, then it just becomes to murky and trivial (the butcher on the corner where you buy your steaks might be “Russian”. but who knew?).
>
That being the case, how do you report a meeting with a person claiming to represent the Russian government and who has some information in which you are interested, but, upon having that meeting, you discover that the reports of spicey information and their being a part of the Russian government is all a ruse to get your attention for a meeting? Afterwards, when people ask if you had any meeting with Russians (i.e., those in their government), then the correct answer is “No” since the ruse has shown the person to not be part of their government. Liberals are demanding a “Yes” answer to this question (and anything else is perjury and treason) because Don Jr. thought he was meeting with Russians when he went to the meeting. So what is the correct answer?

    Valerie in reply to Cleetus. | July 12, 2017 at 10:34 am

    What does an appellate court do when it gets a pro se appeal hand written by a nut? They read the “brief,” try to determine if the garbled language discloses some sort of point, may give the guy a hearing, but usually, gently deny relief, usually because there is no relief to grant.

    Police get this type of “lead” similar to this set of emails all the time. Any time there is a splashy story in the news, they are likely to get people who had nothing to do with the crime confessing. That is one of the reasons why they withhold some details from the news stories. When the wannabe cannot deliver the right details, they politely turn them loose, without comment or fanfare.

    Don’t famously wealthy entrepreneurs experience the same thing? Isn’t half the fun of the Apprentice TV show based on DJT firing overpromising wannabes? I saw a clip from some TV show in connection with the Access Hollywood tape, where the actress is wearing a skimpy dress, and clearly makes an offer for sex in order to get hired. DJT quietly says one word, “No,” and leaves. I submit that this is the model for his kids, and it is a good one.

    Young Mr. Trump sets up a meeting based on garbled emails from a family acquaintance (Crown prosecutor? Really? Would a heavily-massaged message originating with the Clinton campaign contain just such a clue that nothing in the chain is supposed to be taken seriously? Just asking.), goes to a meeting, cuts it off after finding it nonproductive, and leaves. He then properly forgets about it, because it was just one more wannabe misrepresenting herself.

    Politically naiive, my a$$. This is how ethical businessmen operate. I like the contrast with the Clinton Campaign, and the way they “handled” the approach from China.

      Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | July 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      “Crown Prosecutor” is Goldstone’s term, not the original Russian. He merely translated it to the closest English equivalent he knew.

William A. Jacobson: This also took place prior to the hack of the DNC being publicly known, so there was no reason to suspect that this was hacked information.

That is incorrect. Russia is a kleptocracy, run by an ex-KGB autocrat, that had already used cyber-warfare against other nations, including new, fragile democracies in Europe. There was every reason to be suspicious as to the source of the proferred information.

Of course, now we know that the Russians hacked the DNC.

William A. Jacobson: Notice how the narrative has changed from the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians to “hack the election” to the Trump campaign being willing to have a meeting with someone who may have damaging oppo research.

That’s because Trump and his organization have lied repeatedly about their contacts with the Russians, and this is direct evidence that they were willing to collude (engage in secret cooperation, especially in order to cheat others) with the Russian government.

William A. Jacobson: If they actually cared about collusion with foreign governments, the January 2017 Politico report on actual collusion between Clinton allies and the Ukrainians would not have gone down the media memory hole.

Is Ukraine a hostile power that has used cyberwarfare against other nations? Has Ukraine annexed territory through the use of military infiltration?

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