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Monday, February 18, 2019

For many months, Donald J. Trump and his closest associates have assured Americans that their presidential campaign had “absolutely no contact” with any Russians seeking to influence the course of the 2016 presidential election. Among those who issued the most vehement denials were Paul Manafort, the Washington influence peddler who served as campaign manager, and eldest son Donald J. Trump, Jr., who called any such suggestions “disgusting.”

Truly disgusting are the brazen lies uttered by all of these individuals. Everyone now knows about the June 9, 2016 meeting in Trump Tower where Trump, Jr., Manafort, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner hosted Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.

Considering the history of falsehoods and evasions by Trump, Jr., Kushner, and Manafort — plus the strong incentive to conceal wrongdoing — their accounts must be treated with profound skepticism. But both Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin (an immigrant who once served in Russian military intelligence) say that they came to offer “evidence” of alleged offenses by Democratic donors to Clinton.

And both say they sought to persuade the Trump camp that the Magnitsky Act of 2012 — an American law intended to sanction the officials who imprisoned and killed Sergei Magnitsky, a tax lawyer and auditor who exposed massive fraud committed by Russian bureaucrats and businessmen — should be repealed.

To many Americans, that must sound like an obscure topic, distant from American politics. Certainly Trump, Jr. and the White House have attempted to spin it that way. Yet the sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act, a statute under consideration in other countries, are a major irritant to Putin.

Certainly the Magnitsky angle fits neatly into the narrative outlined in the emails between Trump Jr. and Robert Goldstone, the publicist who set up the Trump Tower meeting. His first message indicates a series of connections that began with a Kremlin official whom Goldstone calls “the crown prosecutor” — apparently indicating Kremlin prosecutor general Yuri Chaika. That chain extends through billionaire developer, Trump friend, and Putin ally Aras Agalarov, to Agalarov’s son Emin, and to Emin’s employee Goldstone, who wrote:

Emin just called and asked me to contact you…The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his 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 and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

Since the meeting’s exposure, Trump, Jr. and Goldstone have trashed Veselnitskaya, claiming she pretended to have Clinton dirt that she didn’t actually possess. Instead, she supposedly made a few “inane” remarks about the Democrat’s campaign financing. Then she droned on about the injustice of the Magnitsky Act.

Both Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin have more or less  confirmed this version of events, while passively enduring Trump, Jr.’s insults.

But that convenient narrative really makes no sense. Why would a sophisticated Moscow attorney like Veselnitskaya annoy the Trumps with a fake offer of opposition research? Why would she impose an arcane policy issue on a campaign that was preparing for an uphill general election? Why humiliate Agalarov by staging such a charade? And why embarrass Chaika, whose reported patronage has been important to her career?

And what about Emin and Goldstone? Did Trump, Jr. complain to them about that “inane” June 9 meeting? Did they apologize for wasting his time?

If Trump, Jr. truly aspires to transparency, he should post all of the relevant emails that followed the irritating episode he describes.

Because subsequent events suggest that may not be what happened at all.

Months later, in March 2017, the new president phoned New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who refused to return that improper call. The very next day Trump fired Bharara, whom he had previously asked to stay on.

Then in May, the Justice Department abruptly settled a major Russian money-laundering case that Bharara had been preparing for trial, against a company called Prevezon. The settlement cost Prevezon only $6 million, or less than half the original amount demanded by the government lawsuit.

Prevezon was among the companies alleged to have received proceeds from the tax scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, Its principals wanted to avoid a public trial that would revisit the Magnitsky case. The Justice Department declared the settlement a victory, but so did the lawyers representing Prevezon and its owners.

And among those lawyers just happens to be the annoying Ms. Veselnitskaya.

Such circumstances bring back the old days in the Kremlin, when Communist hacks prefaced almost any political observation with the phrase, “It is no coincidence.” Or is it? That is now a pressing question for the special counsel and Congressional investigators.

Header photo by Wikimedia Commons.

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50 responses to “Why Donald Trump, Jr. Should Release More Emails”

  1. old_blu says:

    He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, every time he says something he looks worse than the day before.
    What happened to Dominic?

  2. Carl Sdano says:

    Someone, an investigative committee or department, has all of Trump Jr.s emails, & he knows it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have released the the few that he did in an attempt to save his butt & to create a narrative. Perhaps Flynn is starting to talk, to save his butt. This is pure conjecture on my part, but plausible.

    • dbtheonly says:

      That’s why we wait patiently for Mueller to do his work.

      I’m even opposed to releasing more of Junior’s emails, lest they complicate their admissibility at a trial. Now Junior can release his own emails, but I’d put long odds against that happening.

      • Susanrmorison says:

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  3. RichFromShowMe says:

    “But that convenient narrative really makes no sense. Why would a sophisticated Moscow attorney like Veselnitskaya annoy the Trumps with a fake offer of opposition research?”

    It seems quite obvious “why”, especially since AG Lynch gave her special entry permissions, and she did show up at a Congressional hearing for no apparent reason.

    • yabbed says:

      Nonsense. She was invited by the Russian ambassador who secured that particular seat for her. It’s well reported in the news.

  4. game50 says:

    TheLawyer that meet with Donald Jr…had meeting with Obama years ago…he and Clinton paid her firm and she was a spy for the Russian…there lies the connection between the Clintons the Obama and Loretta Lynch and the lawyer they set up Donald Trump jr. Because that’s how evil they are it’s time to go after the cause and eeffect enough for this BS

    • Bill P says:

      Do you visit the real world often? In your “alternative facts” world delusional thinking is favored. Prove your ridiculous claims.

      • game50 says:

        Bill P: you much be a Democrat ….simply because you don’t deal with FACTS…now go back under your rock…. the sun much be hurting your brain….

        • chino49p says:

          You talk about “evil” while you are the one spouting lies. The Bible says that the devil is a liar and the father of it. He is the ultimate evil, which means that you must be a follower of your father the devil. Sad, because the facts are readily available to prove you are lying which you don’t care about because you are so evil.

          • game50 says:

            Chino49p: : I just state the FACTS…it’s your problem not mine…if you can’t deal with the truth. May God be with you on your journey in learning the Truth. ..God Bless You…????

          • chino49p says:

            You are a natural and spiritual hypocrite. You have proved you don’t know the facts, don’t care about the facts and wouldn’t know a fact if it ran up and bit you. I am sure I don’t want your god=satan to do anything for me, I trust Jesus.

          • game50 says:

            chichino49chino49p: why don’t you check out the following. ..Conservative Today…dated 7/15/17…title..Obama was caught meeting with the Russian leave me alone and. go do your homework..God Bless????

          • chino49p says:

            Sayonara comrade, BTW Putin is waiting for you to get back on your knees and do your duty, so I will leave you alone to enjoy it. You know God about like those Muslim terrorist do.

          • game50 says:

            Chinon49p: he who talks trash must be trash and I guess that’s what you are you better get yourself out of the gutter and God better give you a helping hand on the way up because you’re in the gutter with the devil now leave me alone and go learn the truth God help you.????????????

          • roguerunners says:

            I see you’re trying a little harder with that grammar but you have already been called out so it won’t work. Why don’t you worry about your own Country. We really don’t need your ignorant input.

          • game50 says:

            Roguerunners: I was born in America. .. Stop ASSUMING things….Now go bother someone else and leave me alone you idiot.

          • roguerunners says:

            Still ignorant. Talk about people being in the gutter with the Devil when you elected a self proclaimed sexual predator. Look around. I think you will see that it is you who are in the gutter with the Devil.

          • Independent1 says:

            Conservative Today?? What kind of a joke is that?? Politifact has proven that the average GOP politician/conservative lies at least 75% of the time: Trump lies 91% of the time.

            And you’re trying to use a Conservative Today link for some kind of evidence?? What kind of total moron are you????

          • Independent1 says:

            The graphs below show the splt of the 9% of somewhat true things Trump ever says. Along with the mindset of most right-wing idiots like you.

        • roguerunners says:

          Awful grammar=Russian troll

        • Bill P says:

          I’m not the loony tunes person making totally asinine claims, you are. Where is your proof of “TheLawyer that meet with Donald Jr…had meeting with Obama years ago…he and Clinton paid her firm and she was a spy for the Russian…”. Since you like to indulge guessing, you must be a right wing Drumpf (his real name) supporter and a devout follower of the “alternative facts” gurus.

    • The lucky one says:

      The only part that is believable about “they set up Donald Trump jr.” is that he is clearly stupid enough to fall for something like this but if Clinton set him up why didn’t they use this when it mattered for the election?

    • Independent1 says:

      Sell your soul to the Devil much?? Pathological liar!!

      • game50 says:

        Independent1: didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners it’s not nice to call somebody a liar maybe that’s what you are and that’s why you’re presenting it out to other people so why don’t you look in the mirror and see what you’re facing on a daily basis and now leave me alone and go hide underneath your rock and llive in your little fantasy world.

        • roguerunners says:

          But it’s OK to call someone an idiot like you did me? Haha! Give it up.

          • game50 says:

            Roguerunners: I was just giving you a taste of your own medicine . Don’t ever ever in your life call somebody something that you don’ t, have any idea who they are. Everybody has a right to their opinions so deal with it , and if you can’t get the hell off the site. Don’t bother replying because you’re wasting my time.

          • roguerunners says:

            First of all, a tast of my own medicine? You should have just taken my advice and scooted yourself. First time I’ve seen you on here in many,many years of posting here. So YOU scoot troll. Your fake junk is not going anywhere here.

          • game50 says:

            Roguerunners: if I was fake I wouldn’t be communicating now would I . I guess your mother didn’t teach you any manners . Maybe it’s about time you learned some manners. Now go behave yourself and go stand in the corner. .. and never ever respond back to me again you troll.

          • roguerunners says:

            Hahahahahahahaha! Guess you told me. Hahahahahahahaha!

        • Independent1 says:

          But you have to consider the source. It’s not polite to call some decent a liar (a true human being) but given that you’re supportive of the GOP which is nothing but a gang of murderers – who will knowingly vote for legislation that they know will result in causing thousands even millions of Americans to die you. the calling you a liar is akin to calling pond scum a liar. Would you really go out of your way to be polite to a serial killer? Because that’s what you’re abetting.

    • says:

      another brain dead DUMPSTER follower

      • game50 says:

        Ivory6969@yahoo.c: You much be looking in the mirro with that answer. I guess your another one , that their parents didn’t teach them any manners. Please go find some and leave me out of your craziness.

  5. Beethoven says:

    Something that continues to be overlooked in all this mess is the fact that Donald Trump and his family and their businesses want the Magnitsky Act repealed, almost as badly as Putin does. The Trumps had been negotiating to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and were trying to build opportunities for other businesses in Russia, but the Magnitsky Act put a stop to all that. If Trump could get the Magnitsky Act repealed, his family had plans to make millions, perhaps billions of dollars from businesses in Russia.

    • Independent1 says:

      And they may be making millions anyway, even without getting to build that tower in Moscow. Somehow the 8th guy invited to that notorious meeting is a big player (with Russian connections) in money laundering.

      See this excerpt from a ThinkProgress article:

      Mysterious 8th person at Trump Jr. meeting allegedly ran massive Russian money-laundering scheme

      Kaveladze, a U.S. citizen who was born in the former soviet republic of Georgia, currently works for the Agalarovs as a vice president of their family
      company, Crocus International. But Kaveladze also has a checkered history.

      An October 2000 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
      accuses Kaveladze of being involved in a massive effort, over nearly 10
      years, to launder $1.4 billion of Russian and Eastern European money
      through U.S. banks.

      In a nine-month inquiry that subpoenaed bank records, the investigators
      found that an unknown number of Russians and other East Europeans moved
      more than $1.4 billion through accounts at Citibank of New York and the
      Commercial Bank of San Francisco.

      The accounts had been opened by Irakly Kaveladze, who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1991, according to Citibank and Mr. Kaveladze. He set up more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware for Russian brokers and then opened the bank accounts for them, without knowing who owned the corporations, according to the report by the General Accounting Office, which has not been made public.

      • Beethoven says:

        Maybe Mr. Mueller is looking into this, and will be able to tie Trump to it. I know Donald Trump, years ago, was convicted of money laundering, and had to pay a substantial fine, but got no jail time. Also, the news shows I’ve been watching this week have been talking about a bank in Chicago which loaned Paul Manafort about a fourth of its entire assets late last year (I think in November). Could that have any connection to a money laundering scheme?

        • Independent1 says:

          Let’s hope Mueller is racking up big evidence that will send Trump and his thieving family/friends to prison for years to come. No one in the history of the world ever deserved to spend big time in jail than Trump and his minions.

          According to the following article, Donald J Trump is the fifth worst person to ever live behind Hitler, Stalin, bin Laden and Mao Zedong:

          All-time Worst People In History

          • dpaano says:

            He’s be like another Leona Helmsly!

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          • sigrid28 says:

            But Mueller better do it fast, before Trump has him dismissed. The time lag on building a case by this Special Counsel could work against justice being served (a fact of which I am sure Mueller is well aware). Trump is preparing to replace Sessions with someone who (1) is not recused from matters related to the campaign and (2) willing to find “cause” to dismiss Mueller and/or limit the work of the Special Counsel. Part of the point of this is to drag things out, so Trump and his cronies can continue to reap the benefits they are garnering from what they helped Russia do to our elections.

            The ultimate goal, in the eyes of these American oligarchs, is still achievable: to make as much money as possible from harvesting and selling fossil-fuels before climate change diminishes their value. If you want proof, look at the tiny fine of $2million levied against Exxon-Mobile this week for violations of U.S. sanctions against Russia. Exxon-Mobile is (pretend) protesting loudly but if you see the final goal of Trump and his cronies (including former Exxon president Rex Tillerson), it is apparent that this outrage is all for show. Mueller must get out his results as quickly as he can and make sure that if he is dismissed whatever crimes he and his team have uncovered can be made public.

  6. yabbed says:

    Because the more lies, the merrier for Mueller.

  7. old_blu says:

    MAGA = Morons Are Governing America.

  8. Echo719 says:

    It will not make a difference. No one is going to touch Trump, because Trump is not the only corrupt one. Its a long list that reach the senate.

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