Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.
The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting. In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Mrs. Clinton, but gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.
Mr. Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign.
Like with the memo where FBI Director James Comey allegedly documented a conversation with President Trump regarding his desire for the FBI to drop the Michael Flynn-Russia matter, there was a mere allegation of documentation as opposed to the NY Times being furnished with a copy. But even if such an email exists, Matt Ford of The Atlantic cautions that we shouldn't jump to any definitive conclusions.
Some details about the email still remain uncertain. The precise contents of the email are not offered. Its exact tone and phrasing could produce different interpretations than what the sources told the Times; the report claims the email “indicates” that the source was the Russian government, but does not explain the nature of that indication. The Times report also says there is no evidence so far that Donald Jr. was informed the information could have been illegally obtained, or that he was offered the contents of hacked emails from either the Democratic National Committee or the Clinton campaign. If either of those things turned out to be the case, it would place the president’s eldest son in significant legal peril.
Let's say that Trump, Jr. received damning information about Mrs. Clinton from Russian connected sources and that said info was not obtained illegally. While it would appear the younger Trump would avoid any legal consequences, such a scenario would prove politically damaging to his father's administration. It would resurrect all the chatter of collusion with Russia, which would be especially tumultuous given the impression by some that President Trump came out looking rather feeble in his initial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.
In the end, this may end up being the obligatory "nothing burger." However, just these mere allegations give extended life to the
UPDATE: Trump, Jr. not only confirms email content but unwittingly admits to attempting to collude with Russian connections. Legally speaking it's not a crime but it is felony stupid.