Donald Trump Jr. tweeted outrage Monday morning when the TV news cycle clung to Sunday’s breaking news about his meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer:
Among those knotting Donald Jr.’s knickers, NYT columnist Nicholas Kristoff noted on MSNBC that both sides do opposition research during presidential campaigns, “but you don’t get in from an adversary state.” Donald Jr.’s latest explanation of that meeting, Kristoff said, begins to show an outline of quid pro quo.
“Incompetence isn’t the best defense, especially when talking about criminal behavior,” Kristoff snarked, when asked if maybe Trump Jr. and other attendees do not realize the potential legal issues with the meeting.
President Donald Trump’s regular Monday Morning Tweet Storm could not wrest TV news away from his son’s storyline. News outlets were too busy splashing around in Don Jr.’s Sunday statement about the meeting he took, during the presidential campaign, with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Donald Jr. insists Dad had no knowledge of the meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, held at Trump Tower in June 2016 and also attended by POTUS’ son-in-law/campaign strategist Jared Kushner and his one-time campaign chair Paul Manafort.
Word of the meeting first came to light back when Kushner had again changed his official report about contacts with Russians. It marked the third such meeting Kushner failed to disclose on government clearance forms.
The New York Times published a major story on that meeting, calling it the first confirmation of a meeting between members of Trump’s family and Russians during the campaign.
Trump Jr originally said adoption of Russian children was the subject of the meeting. After the NYT update, however, he issued another statement saying he had been asked by someone he knew from the Miss Universe Pageant to meet with the lawyer, who might have information helpful to Trump’s campaign. He asked Kushner and Manafort to attend, and Veselnitskaya said “she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Don Jr. said.
But “her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense” and “she then changed subjects and began discussing the adoption of Russian children and mentioned the Magnitsky Act,” he added.