'Collusion' Smoking Gun?
July 13, 2017 "Information
- Political opponents and US media are calling
the uncovered past meeting between Donald
Trump's son and a Russian lawyer a "smoking
the proof, we are told, that the Trump election
team did indeed collude with the Russian
government in order to win the US election at
the end of last year.
Since the New York Times broke the
weekend of the meeting between Donald Trump Jr
and the Russian lawyer there has been a frenzy
among the anti-Trump political camp that the
so-called "Russia-gate" affair has reached a
for impeachment have grown because, it is
asserted, a member of the Trump campaign team
met with a "Kremlin-connected lawyer who had
information to damage Clinton".
read the story in this way then perhaps the
"smoking gun" conclusion might be made: Trump's
son, Donald Jr, responds "I love it" when told
in an email that a Russian lawyer working
for the Kremlin wants to give him information
that would politically damage Hillary Clinton,
the Democratic presidential contender
against his father.
Trump Jr did indeed respond enthusiastically
to the offer and the meeting did take place
at Trump Tower in New York City on June 9 last
year, two weeks after his father won the
Republican party's nomination for president.
Donald Jr earlier this week
batch of private emails confirming those
Political opponents of President Trump, mainly
Democrats but also Republicans, as well
as prominent news media outlets, like The New
York Times, Washington Post and CNN, are now
saying that the meeting between Trump's son and
the Russian lawyer is the "first hard evidence"
of the alleged Russia collusion to interfere
in US democracy.
However, this version of the story has a crucial
fatal flaw. All the claims made to Trump Jr
about the "Kremlin-connected lawyer" and the
"Russian government wanting to help Trump get
elected" are deeply suspect. The grandiose
claims were made by a former British tabloid
Goldstone who appears to be acquainted
with Trump Jr.
who works as a publicist and an entertainments
manager, wrote to Trump Jr to set up a meeting
with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. The
lawyer was acting for the family of Russian pop
star Emin Agalarov.
turns out that the Russian lawyer wanted to meet
the Trump campaign to make legitimate
representations about US legislation known
as the Magnitsky Act (2010), which has
sanctioned several Russian individuals and
business people over alleged human rights
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the attorney, has this
told US media
that this was the sole subject of the meeting
with the Trump campaign, and that she was not
acting on behalf of the Russian government,
but rather in a private professional capacity.
She also said that she never had any intention
to discuss Hillary Clinton with Trump Jr. As far
as she was concerned, the meeting was only
about issues related to the Magnitsky Act.
Kremlin has confirmed that Veselnitskaya does
not work for the Russian government. In fact,
the Kremlin said it was not even aware of her
Jr also confirmed in subsequent media interviews
that his meeting with Veselnitskaya was an
anti-climax. He says he heard "nothing"
about Clinton from the Russian lawyer, whom he
said wanted to talk about Magnitsky issues. "I
realized that this was the real purpose for the
meeting," said Trump Jr.
means that Trump Jr was misled by the music
publicist Rob Goldstone. For whatever reason,
Goldstone embellished the nature of the
forthcoming meeting with the lawyer as being
about juicy political gossip to help the Trump
other words, the former tabloid hack was putting
his own spin on the matter by claiming that the
lawyer was "Kremlin-connected" and was conveying
"information from the Russian government
to damage Clinton in order to help Trump's
lawyer for the family of Emin Agalarov, the
Russian singer who asked Goldstone to set up the
meeting between Trump Jr and Veselnitskaya, has
now come out to rubbish the claims made
"The vast majority
of what Rob Goldstone said in email exchange
with Donald Trump Jr is not accurate,"
Agalarov's family attorney, Scott Balber,
told RT. "The
only thing that's true is that Emin asked the
meeting to be arranged. The rest of it is not
true, it's false."
there you have it. It appears that the US media
frenzy this week about obtaining a "smoking gun"
implicating Trump in collusion with the Russian
government to subvert the American presidential
election is yet another over-the-top sensation
with little factual basis.
put, the Russian government was not involved
in US election interference, as the Kremlin has
maintained all along.
US media are basing their latest collusion
allegations on are merely claims made by a
former British tabloid hack and pop star
publicist who would have had self-serving
reasons to ham up the "goods" in order to sell
Trump Jr a scoop.
not be the first time that the Russia-gate
affair has relied on dodgy information from a
dubious British source. Recall that the "dirty
dossier" was authored by former British MI6 spy
Christopher Steele, who made outlandish claims
that the Kremlin had "Kompromat" on Donald Trump
Sr from hotel orgies with Russian prostitutes.
Granted, one could censure Donald Trump Jr
for being willing to receive information
from what he believed to be Russian government
sources to take down Clinton. But, hey come on,
that's politics and the dirty business of
"opposition research" which all parties engage
in. It's impossibly naive and self-righteous
to pummel Trump Jr over it.
the salient fact remains that there was no such
transfer of information from the Russian
government to the Trump campaign. The US media
are once again going off on a tangent, chasing
their tails and tilting at windmills.
To make a grandstanding big deal about Trump
Jr's conduct is the height of hypocrisy,
especially in light of Hillary Clinton's
campaign having commissioned the British ex-spy
Christopher Steele to dig dirt on Trump Sr, as
by award-winning investigative journalist Robert
"Russia-gate" affair is a wild fiction dreamt
up by powerful American elements who frankly
refuse to abide by democracy. To make things
worse, Russia is embroiled as a villain in the
piece, which ensures US-Russia bilateral
relations deteriorate to dangerous levels
of hostility, where even the breakout of war has
become a real possibility.
Washington and the US media have been in thrall
to this fantasy for the past seven months, and
yet still no evidence has been unearthed
to justify the squandering of taxpayer money and
of American government. It's not Russia that is
undermining US democracy. It is Americans
so-called "smoking gun" of Trump Jr meeting a
Russian lawyer for 20 minutes last year is
another dud in a heap of duds. This is no
smoking gun. More like a joke water pistol.
This article was first published by
Finian Cunningham has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles published
in several languages. He is a Masterís graduate
in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a
scientific editor for the Royal Society of
Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a
career in newspaper journalism. He is also a
musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he
worked as an editor and writer in major news
media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish
Times and Independent.
views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of Information Clearing House.