On Saturday and Sunday, The New York Times published two stories that are the most damning evidence we have so far of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. First, the Times reported the existence of a meeting in June 2016 between Donald Trump Jr., aka Trump’s least favorite son, and Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with connections to the Kremlin. Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Jared Kushner were also in attendance.
Back in March, Trump Jr. had explicitly said that he didn’t have any meetings with Russians while “representing the campaign,” stating, “Did I meet with people that were Russian? I’m sure, I’m sure I did. But none that were set up. None that I can think of at the moment. And certainly none that I was representing the campaign in any way, shape, or form.” But the meeting described by the Times on Saturday certainly looks like it was set up.
In response, Don Jr. claimed that the meeting was primarily about Russia’s adoption policies. But then on Sunday, the Times followed up with another scoop: according to five unnamed sources, Veselnitskaya had promised DJT Jr. some sweet, sweet kompromat on Hillary Clinton, giving the incident a very collusion-y twist. (There is no proof that Veselnitskaya actually provided any damaging information.)
This forced Don Jon Jr. to change his story yet again. He conceded that he wanted the dirt on Clinton but that no dirt was to be had. As he told the Times, “After pleasantries were exchanged the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” The conversation then allegedly turned to Vladimir Putin banning the adoption of Russian children by American foster parents.
Then, on Monday morning, Trump Jr. tweeted the following:
So to recap: At first, Jonny Jr. claimed that he never set up a meeting with Russians to talk about sabatoging Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Then, when the Times found out he did set up the meeting, he claimed it was just about adoption. Then, when the Times found out that it was in fact about the campaign, he claimed that it was about adoption AND the campaign (but mostly about adoption). Then after a night of backlash, Don Don dismissively tweeted, “What, as if you wouldn’t have met with her to talk about the campaign??”