The news was delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars:
“President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”
To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: So what? A third response is unprintable.
Just as the “Russian collusion” fantasy — a resentful smear cooked up in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s stunning defeat last fall — was finally fading from the fever swamps of the “resistance” and its media mouthpieces, along comes the Times with a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.
They first reported that Trump Jr., along with Paul Manafort (then the campaign manager) and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer “linked to” the Kremlin, back in June, shortly after Trump had clinched the Republican nomination. The second claimed she’d promised dirt on Clinton and the Democrats in order to entice Trump Jr. and the others.
According to the younger Trump, the Clinton angle was just a ruse: “Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” he told the Times.
The real reason, it seems, was that Veselnitskaya wanted to lobby for the repeal of the Magnitsky Act, an Obama-era law that allows the US to deny visas to Russians thought guilty of human rights violations. In retaliation, the Russians promptly ended the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans.
And that’s what all the fuss is about? No campaign in its right mind would turn down an offer of information on their opponent. That is what opposition research is all about. You can bet Hillary wouldn’t have hung up on the person who claimed to have dirt on The Donald. After all, the Clinton campaign lobbied the comedian Tom Arnold two days before the election to release potentially embarrassing footage from Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice.” Arnold declined.
But in the end, the lawyer had nothing, gave nothing, got nothing in return, in a meeting that lasted 20 minutes. This is a scandal?
Having established the smear of “collusion,” the Times must now link every story with the word “Russia” to it in the hopes that the rubes and suckers won’t stop believing that Trump somehow cheated his way into the White House.
Hasn’t the Times learned its lesson from its disastrous Feb. 14 story, also anonymously sourced, about the Trump campaign’s “repeated contacts with Russian intelligence”? In his congressional testimony last month, former FBI Director James Comey said: “In the main, it was not true.”
But then, so are the other “collusion” stories the left is trying to peddle as proof of some sinister plot to subvert democracy. And all because they refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. As the president might say: Sad!
Monday, July 10, 2017
Michael Walsh reports in the New York Post,