- By Robbie GramerRobbie Gramer is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. He writes for The Cable, FP’s real-time take on all things, well, foreign policy. Before he joined FP in 2016, he used to think in a tank, managing the NATO portfolio at the Atlantic Council for three years. He’s a graduate of American University’s School of International Service, where he studied international relations and European affairs. He has lived in both Washington and Brussels, though he grew up in Idaho and Oregon, so he’s a West Coaster at heart. When he’s not busy reporting, he’s probably busy starting three new books before he has finished the last one or planning a trip to a national park he hasn’t visited yet.
There may be a universe in which publicizing email exchanges showing active — and eagerly sought — support from the Russian government for the Trump presidential campaign is a smart move. This is not one of them.
Donald Trump Jr. just confirmed in a series of tweets the latest story in the the New York Times, which lays out what one former Justice Dept. official suggests could be a “digital smoking gun.” The Times story details how Trump Jr. was in email contact last summer with intermediaries purporting to represent Moscow, who suggested a meeting to discuss material that would “incriminate” Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and benefit the campaign of Donald Trump.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. responded, according to the Times — and also according to Trump Jr., who promptly took to twitter to post screenshots of his email exchanges, which were as the Times had reported.
Here's my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
“Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The [sic] Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday,” said intermediary Rob Goldstone, referring to Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star, businessman, and son of Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, a close confidante of both Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
“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,” Goldstone wrote. (There is no such thing as a “crown” prosecutor in Russia, but there is a powerful prosecutor general.)
“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,” Goldstone wrote.
Trump Jr. said in an accompanying statement he was releasing the entire email chain “to be totally transparent” and insisted the meeting “occurred before the current Russia fever was in vogue.”
Trump Jr., like his father, long pretended that the multiple congressional and federal investigations into possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials was some sort of “witch hunt” or “fake news.”
It turns out, based on Trump Jr.’s own emails, it’s anything but.
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