Over the past several days, Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump, has come under fire from the media over a series of emails he published on Twitter.
Here’s my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
The emails showed that Trump Jr., along with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, took a solicited request to try to gain damning evidence against Hillary Clinton from Rob Goldstone, a Russian pop star’s publicist.
Not only did the meeting occur, but Trump Jr. expressed his interest in helping his father win the presidency through these means, telling Goldstone “I love it” if he had anything to aid in defeating Clinton.
In June 2016, when the general election was still in its infancy, Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with a complicated background who claimed to have dirt on Clinton. However, the meeting bore no fruit, and Trump Jr. since claimed its intentions had nothing to do with Clinton whatsoever.
That led to Trump Jr.’s explanation that he committed no wrongdoing, since he gained nothing from his interactions.
What ended up becoming a lost story in this saga, though, is what prompted Trump Jr. to release his email chain in the first place. The New York Times had planned to run a story on this same email chain, but after the New York Times requested comment from Trump Jr. about it, he decided to publish his emails on his own accord.
.@DonaldJTrumpJr posted these emails after being informed that The New York Times was doing a story on them https://t.co/CgdD1xUIgt https://t.co/3SQWSccyZC
— Clifford Levy (@cliffordlevy) July 11, 2017
How the Times gained access to these emails is unknown.
Some pundits across the media landscape couldn’t believe that Trump Jr. published this information — and not just that he did it on Twitter, but also voluntarily.
Like, so many people out there were trying to track this down. And it just…got delivered on a tweet. What the hell.
— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) July 11, 2017
The story dominated headlines throughout the week, mostly because the media and public had not forgotten how much weight Trump put on his opponent’s emails during the presidential race.
It also amplified Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which he mentioned at the time was partly to bring less attention to the Russia investigation. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller continues to investigate Trump for possible obstruction of justice from his firing of Comey.
Trump Jr. appeared on “Hannity” Tuesday night to explain himself, which his father also praised.
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2017
Questions still abound as to Trump’s knowledge of this meeting and whether he had anything to do with, or even knew about, its planning.
Later that week, word emerged that the White House was “paralyzed” by Trump Jr.’s email publication. Vice President Mike Pence apparently didn’t know this was coming either.
Among the biggest ramifications of Trump Jr.’s meeting is that there is now solid evidence that high-ranking members of Trump’s election team attempted to “collude” with Russia during the presidential campaign, something which Trump had previously denied.
And, on a more ironic note, it brings into question the weight that Clinton’s email scandal should bear in hindsight, if these Trump Jr. emails are what they seem.
Trump Jr.’s future is uncertain for right now. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will ask Trump Jr. to testify before Congress about the interactions disclosed in the emails. Trump Jr. has yet to reply, at least publicly, but that may not stop Congress from looking further into the matter.
Trump spent the week away, for the most part, going between the end of the G20 summit and a personal invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to attend Bastille Day festivities. As for Trump Jr., he hasn’t responded to the allegations since his “Hannity” appearance.
Ultimately, what’s come of these revelations so far is a question of whether Clinton or Trump Jr. will go down in history for having the more significant email scandal. Until more details emerge about Trump Jr.’s visit with the Russians, though, nobody will know for sure.