DID PRESIDENT Donald Trump just hand Special Counsel Robert Mueller an admission that indeed, his campaign sought to get Russia’s help to get dirt on Hillary Clinton in order to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
On Sunday, August 5, Trump tweeted: “Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
This is after layers of lies he and his administration have fabricated on several contacts made with Russians which that have evolved and contradicted each other.
The particular private meeting President Trump tweeted about was arranged by Trump’s eldest son Donald Jr. with a Russian lawyer connected to the Kremlin on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower in Manhattan — two weeks after the real estate mogul/reality star clinched the Republican nomination. Donald Jr. was excited and enticed to move forward after he was promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.
Also in attendance among members of the Trump’s campaign were Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Their version of the truth evolved from the meeting never happened to the meeting was all about the Russian adoption program after the New York Times contacted the campaign with information about it. The statement released by Donald Jr. and Kushner, however, did not mention anything about discussions with reference to the campaign.
In his statement as reported by the New York Times, Donald Trump Jr. said: “It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow-up.”
He added: “I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.”
However, the “version of the truth” about the true objective of the meeting again evolved a few days later when The Times published emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and entertainment publicist who helped arrange it. Mr. Goldstone said he had “something very interesting” — sensitive information that “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
The White House was then still holding on to the “adoption” “version of the truth” when President Trump surprised everyone with a revealing tweet on July 17, 2017, saying: “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That’s politics!”
Trump then intensified his attack against the media reporting on these exposes that made them change their narrative of what transpired during the meeting, and as the Mueller probe of the alleged collusion progressed to include indictments and guilty plea from Russian officials and some members of his campaign, he started vilifying and undermining the Mueller investigation calling it a “witch hunt”.
The president of the United States even chose to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections by cyber attacks and continue to assail our democratic institutions and processes to continue creating discord and chaos in the country and in our relations with our allies — a fact that has been revealed by the U.S. intelligence agencies.
He went on to change his narrative again to say there is no such crime as “collusion”, but claimed he did nothing wrong. However, he remained elusive in agreeing to sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
As the Mueller probe gathers more evidence testimonies, including a claim by Trump’s former attorney/fixer Michael Cohen alleging that Trump knew about the meeting in Trump Tower, Trump intensified his rant on Twitter, claiming that Don Jr.’s meeting with the Russian in Trump Tower” was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!”
Trump must either be ignorant of the law or ill-advised to state this claim, because what his son did was against the law, according to Title 52 Section 30121 of the U.S. Code which says,”It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make a contribution donation money or other thing of value in connection with a federal, state, or local election, or for a person to solicit, accept, or receive contribution or donation described above from a foreign national.”
Analysts say, soliciting information like “hacked email” or dirt on an opponent from a foreign government— and an adversary at that like Russia, is a clear violation of the U.S. Code. It need not produce any results to be a crime — the mere attempt to do it is already a violation. Don Jr., with his email exchanges agreeing to meet with Russian lawyer who promises dirt on Clinton must then be in legal trouble.
BUT he is not alone. What about President Trump? Mueller has reportedly been examining all his tweets and actions during the campaign and after he was elected president.
When did Trump find out about the meeting? Did he dictate the press statement lying about the true reason for the meeting? Did the “blocked call” Don Jr made as gathered by investigators a secret call made to Trump? Why did Trump announce he was giving a major speech that would reveal about the wrongdoings of Clinton just a few days before the meeting in Trump Tower?
Why did he fire FBI Director James Comey? Why did he lash out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he recused himself from the Russia probe? Why did he tweet about Sessions having to STOP the Russia probe? Why couldn’t he stand up to Putin to defend the United States against Russia’s assault in our democracy?
Why so many lies, misrepresentations, denials, falsehoods, and cover up? What is Trump hiding?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos