When you work at a place like Los Alamos, one of the potential job hazards is that the spy services of other countries may try to recruit you. Between required training sessions and the rumor mill stories about successful and other attempts, you learn how it’s done.
Rolf Mowatt-Larssen explains some of it. The Donald Trump, Jr., meeting was of a different sort than what I was warned against, although there are many similarities.
The warning signs are clear if you are aware of how such things work. A Russian (or Chinese, or perhaps other nationalities) colleague offering help out of nowhere, which seems to have been the case for Donald Jr., should raise questions. At a lower level, an acquaintance would not start with such an offer, but merely a personal interaction. Then favors might be exchanged, copies of scientific papers shared, leading up to more questionable types of sharing.
Considering that sequence, I suspect that Mowatt-Larssen’s article is not quite complete. Russian contact with Rob Goldstone, who then contacted Donald Jr., was a gentle testing of the waters, but it’s likely that even gentler testing preceded that.
Both Donald Trumps have been fascinated by Russia since the 1980s. But that is not the same as being willing to work with Russia during his political campaign. The earlier testing would have been among people working for the Trump campaign. This is where Jeff Sessions’s contacts with Sergey Kislyak, Carter Page’s talks in Russia, Michael Flynn’s romance with RT, and probably other contacts paid off for the Russians.
It’s possible that none of those contacts amounted to offers of collaboration,* just collegiality and trust-building. The responses from the Trump campaign, however, must have been favorable enough for Russian intelligence to believe a next step would be reasonable. Colin Kahl points out that Trump senior was also showing public indications in that direction.
Clearly, Donald Jr. had not had the briefings that Los Alamos employees do. But one might expect some caution when an email proclaims Russia’s desire to help get your candidate elected. The fact that he expressed enthusiasm suggests that 1) winning was all, and any help was welcome or 2) there was a continuity of relationship between the Trumps and Russian figures that made the offer seem normal. Caution was eclipsed.
* I dislike the horrendously overused word collusion. Lawyers say it has no legal meaning.
Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.
Not from any of these clowns, Katie.
@TenguPhule: indeed. You can tell that these people have no game plan at all. They are drunkenly moving from one fiasco to another.
There were obviously previous contacts; that’s clear from the emails Trump Jr. released. How else can you explain the “this is part of Russia’s support” line? There was an expectation/belief that Russia already supported Trump. The only thing that’s unclear is if they had already moved from moral to material support.
Matt Taibbi says he was approached a few months ago by an associate of Veselnitskaya.
@germy: Isn’t he already shilling for them for free?
I think the word collusion has been used precisely because it has no legal meaning. It means people cooperating to do something evil. Back before we knew as much as we do now — particularly about the Trump/ Goldstone emails — we could freely speculate about “collusion” without being assailed for inadequate proof of illegality. I agree that now, specifically relating to those emails and that meeting, it is indeed time to start using the word “conspiracy”.
It will be interesting to see if Trump returns to Russia the diplomatic compounds. In that case, I assume that they are holding tapes of the adoption meeting.
What do you mean if?
@Baud: In the article he goes into detail about what was done to Magnitsky. Not a pretty picture.
But he seems to imply Veselnitskaya is more of a small potatoes operator rather than a representative of Vlad.
I agree with Dahlia Lithwick. The Trump ménage is a case for Harriet the Spy, and maybe Dora the Explorer.
I believe the first clue was the Russians.
@germy: Yeah, the Russians don’t do pretty.
@TenguPhule: But Boris and Natasha are very common, everyday names.
Assholes. Just Assholes.
She has obviously been promoted.
AND HERE’S EVIL NEWS NUMBER THREE!!!
Doctor Strangelove’s ending is coming to mind here.
Fucked, we are.
That’s the dude AG Kamala Harris went after. Fvck him and his enablers.
I think, if Trump had not won, the Russian interference would be taking a back burner to whatever “investigation” Chaffetz and who ever else decided to have hearings in emails, Benghazi, etc.
I guess this is a small, very, very small, blessing, I guess.
It was not possible for the Trump team to say no because they are owned by the Russians. Have been in debt to them since the 90’s. In 2008 Don, Jr. himself said Russian money was “pouring” into their business and that Russians made up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of their assets. In addition to the money, there is compromising material on them of other types. They are owned.
@trollhattan: With a Rusty Chainsaw!
I caught a bit of a report this morning on NPR about the Russians wanting their compounds back. The Russian interviewed sounded kind of threatening. I don’t think they’re messing around anymore.
@debbie: Re: the compounds:
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Be of blood cheer. They’re just hurting their case
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
Fuck’em. All Putin did was unite much of the world against him by election meddling. Russia, long-term, is doomed economically
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?:
Yes, but in the short term they can certainly still fuck us up.
This is one of those basic things Congress should do, like passing a budget.
It shouldn’t even make the news.
And yet here we are.
We are run by a bunch of clowns, who can’t do the basic shit they are required to do by the Constitution.
@germy: Thanks for the Taibbi article. I stopped reading him a while back.
As he notes, the connections with the Magnitsky Act are weird. This may be one of those places where we underestimate just how much an American action has irritated Russia, or, more specifically, Putin.
It’s possible that Veselnitskaya is a two-bit lawyer focused on the Magnitsky Act AND a Kremlin cutout to ensnare the Trumpies.
I’m not convinced that the Trumpies have been owned by the Kremlin all along. Entangled, yes, and now the Kremlin may be trying to reel them in.
@Yarrow: Evidently the “deal” consists of “give them the fuck back”
Tell me about it.
These idiots have no idea of the forces they’re messing with here. American credit is the literal gold standard for ALL debt in the world. Defaulting on it or even failing to pay on time risks a disaster that is simply mindboggling.
mai naem mobile
Jared didn’t give a shit about anything except for getting his ass out of the 666 5th Ave building sling. It’s really disgusting. I bet the buidling doesn’t mortally endanger the Kushner empire, just makes tough slogging for a few years until property values catch up to what the moron paid for it.
Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah have said they will not vote for the Measure to Proceed on the Senate health bill. This means that the bill is dead for now. But we can’t assume that it will stay dead. Continue to call your senators.
I don’t know….it sure seems to me as if the entire Trump family is all to happy to be productive ‘partners’ with their Russian money, I mean friends.
@gene108: It shouldn’t even be something Congress has to do. It’s implicit with Congress’ spending authorizations. The “ceiling” shouldn’t exist. It’s there because stupid con-stupid-tives like demagoguing it.
Collusion means creating a secret agreement (literally playing along with someone else).
@TenguPhule: Okay, that was funny.
Any help was welcome. I’m surprised that I never see mention of the fact that the Trump campaign got caught red handed soliciting donations from foreigners and continued to do it well after it had been discovered and they had been told it was illegal.
Mike in DC
Conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and being an accessory after the fact are all actual crimes, and they fit the general concept/rubric of collusion.
Don Jr.’s involvement is peripheral, not the real story. The real story is that Kushner and Manafort dropped everything to attend.
The thing I find most perplexing is that despite the fact that everyone involved who has talked to the media or the public has been repeatedly caught telling demonstrable lies, the MSM nonetheless seems to take their claims that Kushner and Manafort were uninterested, fiddling with their phones or left early at face value.
A law school professor told our class that the purpose of college was to teach us to think and that of law school was to teach us to think like lawyers. I don’t have an opinion on the legal issues of the Trump campaign members’ or administration’s actions, but my gut tells me there is a tremendous amount of dishonesty going on here. None of this is new to anyone on this website-the thoughts and feelings about all of this. The reason I’m prompted to comment in a friendly atmosphere, is, growing up in the 50’s, watching old Popeye cartoons, after taking insult after insult from Bluto, he would say “‘I’ve had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.” There’s not much I can do to affect any outcome from here in Louisiana so I’m very, very grateful to those of you in states who are calling, etc, doing things that can have an effect. Thank you. Also, thank you Balloon Juice and some other websites for being a place where I can read the articles and comments from and by people with whom I am ‘simpatico’. Together we can get through this and I believe, and have had the experience that Truth (however you may define it) ALWAYS wins out in the end. It’s just the there can be pain on the way to the end and that’s where we help each other. Take care and have heart.