Collusion or delusion?

conway13n-1-web

This post will present my views on the confused affair of Donald Jnr’s meeting with the Russians in June 2016.

The undisputed facts appear to be that on 3/6/16 Donald Jnr received an email from a Russian national he had had business dealings with in the past, offering some compromising information on Hillary Clinton purportedly originating from the Russian government. Less than 20 minutes later Donald Jr confirms he is interested. On 9/6/16 the meeting takes place with eight people present: three of the Trump election team and five Russian nationals. The public statements released by those who attended are consistent – it appears that when no substantive information on Hillary was offered the Trump team lost interest, Jared Kushner left the room after a few minutes and the remainder of the meeting was spent discussing issues around the adoption of Russian children by the US citizens. It also appears that there was no follow up on the meeting.

Rather than sifting through who said what during the meeting I will focus on the big picture. What was the intent of both parties going into the meeting, was the Russian leadership involved and, if so, what was their game plan? Of course this is only my speculation, based on the publicly available disclosures, common sense and my understanding of the shady world of politics.

First we must consider the most obvious possibility that Veselnitskaya was indeed working for the Russian government keen to offer some dirt on Hillary with the intent of helping Trump to get elected. This theory has a weakness which I consider fatal. If the Russian leadership went to the trouble of arranging the meeting with the Trump team why was no substantive information offered? They found a contact leading to Trump’s inner circle, managed to attract Jnr’s attention, got him and two other Trump’s hot shots to sit at the table with five Russian operatives and, well – nothing. Anyone trying to convince me that this is how in June 2016 Putin’s people were trying to help Trump will need to first explain why no meaningful information was provided. Also, if the intention was to discuss confidential and compromising details it is surprising that the Russian team swelled to five – I would expect sensitive information to be discussed with as few witnesses as possible.

I have two other theories which may better explain the real story behind the mysterious meeting.

It is completely possible that Veleniskaya made up the Clinton story to get Trump’s people into the room to discuss her pet project – the Magnitsky Act. She found a person connected to Donald Jnr (Goldstone), took a few random people with her to appear more credible, had no political information to offer and quickly moved on to discuss the adoptions. When that ploy failed she gave up and hence no follow up on the meeting.

The other possible explanation is that the Russian government did indeed send Velenitskaya to Trump Tower but their real intention was not to offer dirt on Hillary but rather to collect a dossier which could be used against Trump. They risked nothing because if Donald Jnr had showed no interest the meeting simply would not have taken place. As things unfolded, Jnr took the bait and the Russians ended up with a bombshell media package that could be (and was) released at the time of their choosing. Trump had the guts to challenge Putin at G20 and, in retaliation, got dealt a body blow by KGB.

I must make clear here that the Trump team showed serious naivety by going into the meeting with the Russians claiming to be Putin’s agents. Donald Jnr may have even broken the law by not reporting the initial contact to the FBI and Kushner absolutely should have declared the meeting in his security clearance. I trust that these transgressions will be investigated and acted on by the federal authorities. But to claim that their single short meeting amounted to “collusion” with the Russian government is laughable. If no sensitive information changed hands during or after the meeting no co-operation or conspiracy can be claimed to have existed so the likes of CNN and NYT have to keep looking for that elusive smoking gun.

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