Analysis: Seven things we learned from the Trump Tower transcripts

By Aaron Blake | Washington Post

The Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of congressional testimony on Wednesday. The trove of information provides a new window into that ill-fated June 2016 Trump Tower meeting before which Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging Russian government information about Hillary Clinton – from what turned out to be a Kremlin-tied lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

The episode has been a centerpiece of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And now we know much more about what the people who were there said under oath about it.

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Here are some key findings.

Trump Jr. confirms ‘I love it’ was about dirt on Hillary Clinton

One line from Donald Trump Jr.’s emails stood out: “I love it.” Publicist Rob Goldstone said his source could provide “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia.” He said the information had come from the “Crown prosecutor of Russia,” which isn’t an official government title in Russia, but “crown prosecutor” is roughly the equivalent of the attorney general in Goldstone’s native Great Britain.

Trump Jr.’s response: “Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

In his testimony to Congress, Trump Jr. confirmed he was talking about the opposition research when he said “I love it.”

This is key because Trump Jr. wasn’t completely clear about what he was talking about. It suggests Trump Jr. was anxious to have the meeting specifically because of the opposition research that would supposedly be supplied by officials sources in the Russian government. His initial explanation of the meeting suggested it was primarily about adoptions, though that explanation quickly fell apart.

Trump Jr. says President Donald Trump may have influenced misleading explanations about the meeting through Hope Hicks

The Washington Post has reported that the president dictated some of the misleading explanations for the meeting – which aides worried could open him up to charges of a coverup.

Trump Jr. said he didn’t know about his dad’s direct involvement and actively discouraged it, but he said he believes Trump may have influenced the messaging about the meeting through then-White House communications aide Hope Hicks:

“Q. To the best of your knowledge, did the President provide any edits to the statement or other input?

“A. He may have commented through Hope Hicks.

“Q. And do you know if his comments provided through Hope Hicks were incorporated into the final statement?

“A. I believe some may have been, but this was an effort through lots of people, mostly counsel.”

Trump Jr. says he doesn’t know if a key call to a blocked phone number was his father

Trump Jr. made a phone call after speaking with Russian pop star Emin Agalarov about the meeting, but we don’t know who it was to because the number was blocked. A big question has been whether …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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