As First Son and Recently Thawed From Cryogenic Sleep Brylcreem Model Donald Trump Jr. continues to self-immolate like a chain-smoking gas station attendant, the White House sinks deeper into a full-on panic.
Junior's latest genius move was to “scoop” the New York Times by releasing an email chain that shows he thought he was meeting with a “Russian government attorney” last June in order to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
The email chain also demonstrates foreknowledge of “Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump,” and it explicitly identifies the men who set the meeting up as government cutouts, working with Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika.
It also appears to implicate Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who was included in the “email chain” that contained these incriminating details.
Parallel to these developments, an odd pattern appears to be developing with regard to the White House's response to theses bombshells and Russia's response. Item one is this bit of White House Senior Adviser Sebastian Gorka's CNN interview that was flagged by Shareblue's Kaili Joy Gray:
CAMEROTA: “The question is that why then, if this was all on the up and up, did the president's son, Donald Jr., not disclose — not only not disclose it, but didn't actually use the right story when first asked about it? He claimed that the meeting was about adoption, but that wasn't what the real story was. And he's not alone. I mean, let me just pull up this graphic for you of the seven people connected to the Trump campaign somehow — Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Don Jr., Carter Page, J.D. Gordon — none of them adequately disclosed their meetings with Russians until the press found out about it. What's going on?”
GORKA: “Nothing. You heard their statements. You heard Don Jr.'s statements that told you everything you need to know. He's not even a member of the administration.”
This offhand remark seemed to be standard distancing of the administration from potential liability, but in light of the later revelation of Junior's emails, it seems more specifically targeted at shielding Kushner, who is a member of the Trump administration.
Item two is Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya's interview with NBC News, also released before Junior's emails. She insists she has no connection to the Russian government, and the Russian government agrees, but the available facts do not.
Viewed through that lens, this portion of Veselnitskaya's interview seems like part of a broader communications strategy:
“I never knew who else would be attending the meeting. All I knew was that Mr. Donald Trump Jr. was willing to meet with me. I could recognize the young gentleman who was only present in the meeting for probably the first seven to 10 minutes. And then he stood up and left the room. It was Mr. Jared Kushner. And he never came back, by the way. And the other individual who was at the same meeting was always looking at his phone. He was reading something. He never took any active part in the conversation. That was Mr. Manafort.”
Veselnitskaya seems to be making a strained effort to insulate Kushner and, to a lesser degree, Manafort from the fallout from this meeting while leaving Don Jr. to twist in the breeze.
Manafort isn't a member of the administration, either, but his own deep ties to Russia give the Kremlin plenty of motivation to protect him, and Kushner's participation in the meeting is an obvious threat to the current White House, but Don Jr. is just some guy who keeps machine-gunning himself in the bloody stumps where his feet used to be.