After it was revealed this weekend that Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians to discuss getting dirt on his father’s presidential rival, Trump Jr. took to Twitter to suggest his behavior was typical for any campaign staffer to engage in.
Trump Jr. sardonically stated that, “Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent,” in a Monday morning tweet.
Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
Trump Jr. was responding to a report released by the New York Times on Sunday which revealed that he had met with a Kremlin-backed lawyer in order to discuss information she had on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president. The information ended up being nothing, according to the report, but the implications are still huge for the Trump camp: they indeed met with Russians in order to influence the election.
Indeed, Trump Jr. seems to miss the whole point over why people are upset, and his statement comes off more as an admission than anything else. The issue over whether he or any other member of the campaign had met with someone to find disparaging news on an opponent for political purposes isn’t the reason why people are concerned with his interactions.
The problem lies somewhere deeper: that Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign were willing to use information obtained from a foreign source in order to effectively change the outcome of the election. Effectively, the charge of collusion is hard to dismiss here.
It’s as Richard Painter, former ethics lawyer for the Bush administration, said shortly after this new information came out: the implication that Trump Jr. engaged in this meeting at all “borders on treason.”
When it comes to campaigning, “We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies, unless we want to be accused of treason,” Painter added.
As of this posting, President Trump has not yet acknowledged (on Twitter or elsewhere) the fact that his son met with Russian agents during the campaign in an effort to use information obtained by them for political purposes against their opponent. Trump has, in fact, released a blast of tweets and retweets, all of which have avoided his son’s transgressions.