This morning, Donald Trump Jr. made his much anticipated closed-door appearance before Senate Judiciary Committee investigators. After giving numerous contradictory accounts of a secret Trump Tower meeting he orchestrated between Trump campaign senior staff and Russian officials last June, Trump Jr. finally came clean.
The New York Times reports that the First Son admitted that he had, in fact, taken the meeting in the hopes of getting dirt on his father’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. He also acknowledged that the understood at the time that the meeting might spell legal trouble for him and the campaign.
“To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out,” Trump Jr read from a prepared statement. “Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.”
While he insists that nothing useful came from the meeting, Trump Jr.’s admission that he both sought campaign information from a hostile foreign power (a crime) and understood that he might be breaking the law flies in the face of numerous earlier claims.
In March, Trump Jr. said he never met with any Russians on behalf of the campaign. Then, in July, he said that the meeting, which included then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, had taken place but focused on Russian adoptions.
Lying to Congressional investigators however, would be a crime and Trump Jr. was forced to come clean, even complaining about the workload on the campaign.
“I had never worked on a campaign before and it was an exhausting, all-encompassing, life-changing experience,” he said. “Every single day I fielded dozens, if not hundreds, of emails and phone calls.”
The threat of committing a fresh crime still may not have deterred Trump Jr. from lying except for the fact that leaked emails already laid bare what he confirmed today. When emailed by Trump associate Rob Goldstone that he wanted to facilitate a meeting with Russians who had dirt on Clinton, Trump Jr. responded, “I love it.”
Trump Jr. had an explanation for that comment. “As much as some have made of my using the phrase ‘I love it,’ it was simply a colloquial way of saying that I appreciated Rob’s gesture,” he read from his statement.
The American people understand what “I love it means,” however. It’s what many of them are thinking as they watch the Trump family house of cards begin to crumble under the weight of its own incompetence.
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