Nothing But Nothingburgers

Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

Trump Jr. emails show amateurishness, but not “collusion” or illegality

Trump opponents popping the champagne corks is probably the best thing Trump Jr. has going for him

The NY Times has an article today about email exchanges between Donald Trump Jr. and a person setting up a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising damaging documents and information about Hillary Clinton’s connections to Russia.

In a preemptive move, Trump Jr. published the email exchange on Twitter (here and here) just before the Times published its story.

The emails are highly embarrassing and politically damaging, but as usual, the media and other Trump opponents are overstating the case. The media overstating the case and popping the champagne corks are probably the best things Trump Jr. and the Trump administration have going for them.

The emails show no actual evidence of “collusion” or illegality. There is nothing indicating the information to be offered was stolen or otherwise improperly obtained, or that other than being willing to listen, the Trump campaign was involved in how the information was obtained. To the contrary, the promised information was “official records and information.”

This also took place prior to the hack of the DNC being publicly known, so there was no reason to suspect that this was hacked information. Notice how the narrative has changed from the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians to “hack the election” to the Trump campaign being willing to have a meeting with someone who may have damaging oppo research.

And of course, there was no there there. There’s no indication any information actually existed.

Trump Jr. displayed incredible amateurishness in how this was handled. There isn’t any doubt that the Clinton campaign, if offered “official records and information” showing improper Trump dealings with the Russians would have taken the meeting. But her campaign would have been savvy enough to do it through surrogates and allies, and to provide key players with deniability and distance. We know this because in January 2017 Politico reported that the Ukrainian government helped Hillary with opposition research on Trump, but she did it though “allies.”

Trump Jr., by contrast, took the bait, and brought others from the inner circle into it. In so doing, he provided seeming confirmation for a preexisting narrative. Even if the actual emails don’t show it.

In the immortal words of Al Gore Jr., “No laws were broken.” Don Jr. doesn’t work for the United States Government. He didn’t divulge any secrets. He didn’t make any deals with the Russians to hack the election.


A few points are worth noting. First, the emails support Trump Jr.’s statement that he attended the meeting because he had been told that the Russian with whom he would meet had negative information about Hillary Clinton. The email from Rob Goldstone, who drove the whole process, says that “the Crown prosecutor of Russia met with [Emin’s] father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia….”

This would obviously have been of great interest to the Trump campaign, and Trump, Jr. would have been foolish not to schedule the meeting. In one of the emails he says, “if it’s what you say I love it,” an entirely appropriate response that also showed an appropriate degree of skepticism. Trump may have assumed that the incriminating information would relate to the uranium transactions that are described in Clinton Cash, but there is no elaboration in the emails.

Second, someone in this chain is obviously lying, and it isn’t Donald Trump, Jr. Maybe the Russian Crown prosecutor lied, or maybe Emin or Aras lied, or maybe Goldstone lied, and maybe Natalia Veselnitskaya was in on it. Why any of these people would falsely claim to have dirt on Hillary is unclear. One wouldn’t expect that the lie originated with Goldstone, since as soon as the meeting took place, it would be exposed, and Goldstone could only look like a fool.

Beyond that, all we can say is that Trump, Jr. correctly described what he was told and why he agreed to the meeting. Nothing about that process reflects poorly on him at all.

Third, one of Goldstone’s emails refers to Veselnitskays as a “Russian government attorney,” which she wasn’t. Goldstone, and probably also Emin and Aras (whoever they are) presumably were trying to pump up the importance of their “scoop” by saying the Russian lawyer worked for that country’s government.

Fourth, the Democratic Party press will likely try to make something out of Rob Goldstone’s statement that this “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump–helped along by Aras and Emin.” This statement might carry weight if, in fact, the lawyer had been an emissary from the Russian government, and if she actually had conveyed negative information about Hillary Clinton. But she wasn’t, and she didn’t. Goldstone was being had (or else he was participating in an elaborate scheme to fool Donald Trump, Jr.), and the Russians weren’t helping Trump at all.

It should be noted that Trump didn’t run a traditional campaign. He didn’t hire an army of professionals. It was pretty much Trump, his oldest kids, his son-in-law, and a few advisors, none of whom had extensive campaign experience.

But when you dig down to the bottom of this bullshit pile there is nothing there.

OTOH, some people were really traumatized this revelation of nothingness:


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101 Responses to Nothing But Nothingburgers

  1. She dumped her pet dog at a shelter.

    • The American Economic Association, to which Robert Lucas gave his address, was created in 1885, just when economics was starting to define itself as a distinct discipline. At its first meeting, the association’s founders proposed a platform that declared: “The conflict of labour and capital has brought to the front a vast number of social problems whose solution is impossible without the united efforts of church, state and science.” It would be a long path from that beginning to the market evangelism of recent decades.

      Yet even at that time, such social activism provoked controversy. One of the AEA’s founders, Henry Carter Adams, subsequently delivered an address at Cornell University in which he defended free speech for radicals and accused industrialists of stoking xenophobia to distract workers from their mistreatment.

      That last sentence shows that some things never change.

  2. Anthony says:

    Elijah Cummings just made a statement about Donald Trump Jr. accusing him of treason. I responded by expressing my disappointment that, despite his personal history, he would so easily resort to participation in lynching an innocent man. He should be ashamed of himself, and I now find myself doubting the veracity of his early claims of being the victim of racial bias

  3. I spent 9 years doing pest control. There is something fishy about this story.

    • elliesmom says:

      We call roof rats “squirrels” out here in the boonies.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Our next door neighbors have roof rats living in their HVAC ducts ! They just found out because they couldn’t understand why shards of metal were blowing out their vents when the a/c kicked on. HVAC guy came and made the diagnosis. He can’t replace the duct system til they get rid of the rats! They’re the only ones on the block with first floor vents, seems the rats first moved into their crawl space, then gnoshed their way throughout the system. May have been their for years…… *skin crawling*.

  4. This is from an article in Teen Vogue about the joys of butt sex.

  5. DeniseVB says:

    Good grief, Don, Jr. could have been diddling Putin’s daughter for all I care….according to Dem Rules….no biggie 😀

    • elliesmom says:

      Thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t care what Donald Trump, Jr. does or did. I’m so sick of this BS. I’m also sick of the FB posts asking me to have sympathy for illegals being sent home. Just pack your bags already. Take your kids and your dog with you.

      • DeniseVB says:

        The Don Jr. “news” was debunked yesterday, not sure why Fox spent all day on it. In other news, Mika got a major 3-book deal from a publisher! Lord, take me now! 😉

  6. Anthony says:

    Watching FOX News Specialists and beginning to reeeeeaaaly hate Kat Timpf…

    • Venus says:

      • Venus says:

        that dumb ass actually answered me back — it is scary that he claims to be a law prof.

        • Venus says:

          g d it

          • lateblum says:

            It looks as though “solicitation” has a new meaning. Wasn’t it the Russian who did the “solicitating”?
            To be honest here, I’ve stopped listening to any of it. Since Jr wasn’t even on the campaign committee, and since it was a <20 minute meeting that most people would barely recall, I find the brouhaha about this matter more than a little absurd. I'm also certain that all those who have their panties twisted have their own "people" who do this kind of "dirty work" regularly so their employers (like Schiff, Schumer, Durbin, McConnell, NYT, Scarborough…) are kept at such.distance, not a drip or drop will touch them.
            Also, on radio-news this morning, I heard that last night on Colbert, MJoe said he's "tired of the double standard of the Republicans who continue to look the other way when it comes to the president". I swear to God, I choked on the sip of coffee I had just taken. I have not been able to stop coughing since.

  7. votermom says:

    We did the follow up xray and safety pin is gone! I guess he pooped it out this morning – it was too stinky to check carefully. 🤢

  8. The new season starts Sunday.

  9. Ann says:

    These people want so desperately for there to be something, anything, to justify their hate of the President (and his family) that they’ll glom onto anything. I am so tired of the Russia, Russia, Russia crap.

    Say wasn’t today the day 4chan listed as a line in the sand against CNN? Will there be fireworks tomorrow? Or is it forgive and forget?

  10. Venus says:

  11. taw46 says:

  12. taw46 says:

  13. taw46 says:

    Wow, DeSantis doesn’t hold back anything in this interview.

  14. AFVet says:

  15. They really jumped the shark this time.

  16. taw46 says:

  17. Mary says:

    Ok,then. Message received.

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