Things for Donald Trump have just gotten worse.
During a panel discussion on CNN regarding Donald Trump, Jr.’s admission that he met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in the hope of obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton, former CIA operative Lindsay Moran said that the president’s son had fallen into a classic Russian trap.
Legality aside, this is Russian intelligence tactics at their best. Let’s promise Trump Jr. something that he wants, lure him in, bait and switch. It doesn’t matter whether they talked about nefarious activities with him at the meeting — the whole thing is nefarious.
Moran also found it particularly disturbing that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was present at the meeting. As part of the president’s team, Kushner holds security clearances, and Moran sees a huge problem there.
I have conducted background investigations. If you do not disclose meetings with foreign nationals, especially one promising dirt in exchange for something, that’s a big deal. That’s not leaving out an address you had for two months in college. It’s raising a number of eyebrows and can result in a counter-intelligence investigation. It can get you locked up.
But the blowback isn’t just coming from the intelligence community or the media.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday told Steven Dennis of Bloomberg News that she wants Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee about the meeting with Veselnitskaya. Collins said she thinks that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be interested in the information as part of his criminal probe into the activities of the Trump campaign.
For his part, Donald Trump Jr. put forward his excuse for the meeting and it is weak. The president’s namesake stated he “had to listen” to see if there was dirt that could be used against Hillary Clinton. The fact that colluding with a foreign power hostile to the interests of the United States to sway an election is a crime never occurred to Trump Jr.
The Trumps are a close knit family, and anyone who thinks the elder Trump didn’t know what Junior was doing is in a state of denial so deep that it could devour the Pacific Ocean and still have room for more. But in Trump World, if the president or his family does it, then it’s all good. They think the law only applies to others and not to them. Perhaps in the past, that was true. Snakes can slither out of some sticky situations. But when you are on stage in front of the entire world, things as big as what has been going on with Trump and his cohorts do not go unnoticed. Nor, hopefully, will they go unpunished.
The unending refrain emanating from Trump and his echo chamber that there is no proof of any wrongdoing so the entire investigation should be shut down is as ridiculous as the Trump presidency itself. An investigator doesn’t show his cards until he’s got the opposition nailed. Mueller is methodically tapping all those nails with a hammer, and when the last one is in, Trump’s fate will be sealed.