Liberals are pushing the “Trump team colluded with the Russians” narrative with renewed zest after a New York Times report on Sunday claimed that Don Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer in June of 2016 because he was told that he would receive damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Appearing on “Morning Joe” on Monday, MSNBC’s Mark Halperin weighed in on the latest Russian gossip. Claiming that Trump Jr. “was ‘forced’ to change his story by seemingly what The New York Times was able to learn,” Halperin noted, “Whoever is helping The New York Times with these stories seems to be doing it in a way to inflict maximum damage, on at least Donald Trump Jr.”
He went on to say that Trump Jr.’s explanation, that the lawyer had no “dirt” on Clinton and really just wanted to talk about the Russian adoption program, wasn’t good enough. “Even if you accept his Sunday version. Accept his Sunday version, ask no questions, have no suspicions, he is in a world of hurt,” Halperin stated.
The Times report said that the Don Jr. meeting at Trump Tower with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya “represent[s] the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.”
Don Jr. reportedly confirmed to the Times he had met Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance; but she did not give him any information about Clinton.
In addition to Don Jr. and the lawyer, then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort attended the meeting, which took place on June 9, 2016.
Don Jr. released a full statement later in the day, which was much more detailed than the one he provided the NY Times. In it, he confirmed that the woman said she had information about Clinton.
Media outlets are now connecting that meeting to the fact that six days later on June 15, hacker Guccifer 2.0 published damaging Democratic National Committee files and Wikileaks published stolen emails from the DNC a month later.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has repeatedly stated he did not receive any DNC emails from “the Russian government or a state party.”
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