The Trump Tower meeting was supposed to prove beyond doubt there was Russian collusion.
Even though no one’s explained what law would have been broken if the Trump campaign had received dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians at the Trump Tower meeting, it was supposed to prove “collusion.” As with almost everything else the media gets excited about as evidence against Trump, it hasn’t worked out to be that big a deal.
As Byron York asks at TownHall.com, “Is The Trump Tower Meeting Really Proof Of Collusion?”
If there is an Exhibit A in the case that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to fix the presidential election, it is the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between three top campaign officials — Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner — and a group of Russians who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
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And if there is a key document about the meeting — an Exhibit A of Exhibit A — it is the email from British music promoter Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr. proposing the get-together. Read in light of the accusations leveled against President Trump and his campaign after the election, the email almost screams: WE WANT TO COLLUDE WITH YOU.
But did it really? Newly released testimony from several participants in the Trump Tower meeting suggests the answer could well be no.
But York points out, the purpose of the false promise was to grab someone’s attention.
The just-released testimony, which includes transcripts of two interviews with Goldstone, is from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation. It suggests that the language of the email — the words that electrified the political world when they were reported last year — were less an invitation to collusion than what Goldstone called “publicist puff,” that is, inflated phrases used to entice the candidate’s top aides to accept a meeting.
And then, when Trump Jr. agreed to the meeting, the Russians, far from offering the promised dirt on Clinton, made a conventional, lobby-like pitch — not a surprise, given that the American law and lobbying firm Baker Hostetler was behind much of it — to win Trump support for getting rid of U.S. sanctions against Russia in the Magnitsky Act. There’s no evidence that anyone proposed a deal; instead, the Russians got in the door, made their pitch and left when the Trump team wasn’t interested.
Goldstone’s email pitch made the meeting sound like something much bigger. But reality did not back it up.
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