It’s unbelievable to see the President’s repetitive, ongoing mantra of “no collusion,” uttered most recently on Fox Business news in an interview with Maria Bartiromo — a sit-down with a friendly face on a friendly network in which Trump felt so comfortable with his own propaganda that he actually reached the conclusion that “people won’t stand for it” if the Mueller report ends up being full of negative findings about him.
The reason his insistence is so incredible after all this time is that it was actually less than a year after the date of the election that gave him his seat in the Oval Office by the time there was concrete proof already in the public sphere that there was “collusion” not just between Russia and the Trump campaign, but between one of Putin’s own lawyers and Donald Trump’s own son — personally.
We’ve known about the infamous Trump Tower meeting for even longer than that — the gathering of Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort from the Trump campaign, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was representing the Kremlin along with an attaché of translators and Russian intelligence. It took place in June of 2016, and the revelation of that meeting was the first major indicator that there were contacts between the Trump camp and Russia outside of real estate deals, as far as the Mueller investigation was concerned.
Many drew inferences from the details of that meeting that it was an effort at quid pro quo; Veselnitskaya was primarily known to law enforcement in the United States as an emissary of Putin who lobbied against the sanctions levied on Russia under the terms of the Magnistky Act, and the official story that was initially floated about the purpose of the Trump Tower meeting seemed to line up with that, albeit with a little dot-connecting.
Both Veselnitskaya and Don Jr. claimed the meeting was about “Russian adoptions,” which to the average American reading about the meeting would mean nothing. But that’s what they were counting on. What they weren’t counting on was anyone looking deeper into the meeting, which law enforcement did almost immediately — a moratorium on Americans adopting babies from Russia was Vladimir Putin’s response to the Magnitsky sanctions, and even bringing up the subject was a huge red flag for American intelligence agencies.
There was endless intrigue surrounding the gathering, including accusations that Trump himself, after insisting that he knew nothing about the event, had personally penned the draft of his son’s false statement about the purpose of the meeting. Eventually, however, it came out that Junior had perjured himself before Congress, and that the Russians had offered “dirt” on Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton for use in the 2016 election.
But it was Veselntiskaya herself who ultimately proved the “collusion” angle, whether she intended to or not.
In a Bloomberg interview all the way back in November of 2017, Veselnitskaya admitted that the promised “dirt” on Clinton was intended to be directly in exchange for changes to how Russia would be affected by the Magnitsky Act, and she said that Don Jr. himself made the offer.
This is all intended as sort of a reminder of how everything went down. A simpler re-phrasing of that last part there would look something like this:
Russia promised to help Trump get elected if, after he was in office, he would promise to lift sanctions against them.
Call that what you will — collusion, conspiracy, treason — but the fact is that we’ve known it for a long time now. And Donald Trump’s denials of collusion just get sillier and sillier by the day.
Featured image is a screen capture.