It’s like watching a drip coffeemaker slowly fill a cup. The constant drip of information is leading to the inescapable conclusion there was a cup full of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, something many seasoned politicians really didn’t want to believe at first.
As Stephen Colbert said, “Donald Trump, Jr. may not really be the bright one.” Possibly because of the investigation of Jared Kushner, Don Jr. is starting to drip out information on meetings he was involved in. We know Jared had nearly 100 meetings with foreign agents conveniently left off his initial SF-86, the form required to get a security clearance. It requires a detailed listing, under penalty of perjury — every contact someone has had with foreign government officials in the last seven years.
Kushner is now taking all this seriously because of the Robert Mueller investigation. The LA Times reported the investigation “would lead a good Washington counsel — and Kushner’s lawyers, Jamie Gorelick initially, and then suddenly on Friday, criminal defense specialist Abbe Lowell, are among the best — to conclude that Kushner needed to “get ahead of the story” and turn over the emails (a development the Times learned from people “familiar with” Kushner’s application, who requested anonymity because the questionnaire is not a public document).”
So now Don Jr. admits to attending the meeting he first denied happened. His description of the meeting changed by the day. First it was only a few minutes and about Russian adoptions with three people; now we learn it was a meeting with six or seven people including a Russian lawyer and a former Russian military intelligence officer, maybe an interpreter, based on an invitation offering ‘Russian government information on Hillary Clinton.’
Donald Trump and I grew up at the same time. People were building bomb shelters in their backyards because we were afraid of the Russians. We had drills in school, hiding under our desks or going into the hall, to get away from potential breaking glass and radiation. There was never any doubt the Russians were our enemy.
So Donald Trump, who said in Paris he has only been in politics for a couple of years, is again lying. He has been involved with politics and politicians for decades. He bragged about how he would give politicians money for favors and how he loved getting together with them and supported ones he liked. His tutor was Roy Cohen, the infamous sleazy lawyer. He clearly understood what opposition research is and how it impacts campaigns. Surely he himself provided dirt to politicians he liked about others he knew.
So did he school his son and son-in-law as to what was legal? Who knows?
Pretending to be naïve about politics is just another game to Trump. The sad part is it got him to the White House. Now let’s hope his house of cards comes falling down. My fear is he already asked his lawyers about his ability to pardon his son, son-in-law, and others. He will likely convince himself it’s just like another bankruptcy. You clear the deck with pardons, get it over with, and move on.
Meanwhile, the American people and the reputation of the United States continues to suffer. It will take decades to repair the damage.
Based on the information dripping out we have likely only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we will learn about Trump’s campaign and his Russian connections. We will surely hear about more meetings, more collusion, more sleazy people involved. As with any mob investigation, and the Trump family is looking more and more like a mob, we will probably find out the most by following the money. Maybe we will even see his tax return. Going to jail for tax evasion is still going to jail and it’s likely that’s where the lot of them belong.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.