Monday, July 10, 2017

Trump Jr.'s "Stunning," "Breathtaking" Admission

Is this really stunning/breathtaking?
I honestly can't tell. 'Kremlin-connected" is extremely unspecific. And it sounds like Trump Jr. was played--the stuff about Clinton info seems to have been BS to get a meeting in order to talk about a different topic. Obviously he went into the meeting intending to meet with someone who said she had damaging info on that what's allegedly stunning? Is that illegal?
   I'm not trying to be an apologist here...I just can't tell. And the final sentence of the story seems a bit anticlimactic: the info is likely to "likely to alarm" investigators? Alarm them...or...constitute evidence of wrong-doing?
   Honestly, between the rolling Trumpwreck on the one hand and the anti-Trump hyperbole/hysteria on the other...I've lost any sense of proportion I ever had.


Blogger The Mystic said...

This seems to me like yet another revelation of questionable undertakings about which the defensive story changes every time new facts emerge.

Initially, Trump Jr. said he never met with anyone from Russia. That feel through, so he then declared he met with her, but it not about anything Clinton-related. Then, that feel through, so he declared she did tell him it was Clinton-related initially, but then it totally wasn't.

That's the kind of rolling story change you see in every single investigation of a convicted criminal ever put on TV. It's the kind of pattern which immediately puts investigators on alert, and it should, 'cause that's the kind of pattern into which someone intent on denying the truth must fall.

So it's not, in itself, an utter admission of guilt, in my understanding, and as you point out, the media frenzy really clouds the matter. However, it seems to me that the pattern here is as I've outlined above and the facts about that kind of pattern which I mention above are...well...facts.

We don't want to become utterly convinced of guilt here - we have to maintain fallibility and openness to evidence, even if it runs against the mounting alignment with known patterns of criminal behavior in this regard, but I suspect a statistical evaluation of subjects of investigation who exhibit this pattern of reactionary story modification would lend overwhelming credence to the belief that something rotten is afoot.

Seriously, someone needs to outline the major inquiries regarding the trump campaign and the story changes. To wit, we've got:

1) Flynn said he never met with anyone. Then he admitted he did. Then he was under scrutiny for those meetings by our own security agencies. Then he took the fifth. Then he said he has "a story to tell" in exchange for immunity which wasn't granted.

2) Trump bashes our own intelligence agencies and proclaims them untrustworthy ("these were the people who thought Saddam had WMDs!"). He regularly displays a benefit-of-the-doubt and benevolent disposition to Putin despite failing to display such a disposition towards..uh..anyone else?

3) Trump's son said he never met with anyone. Then he said he did, but it wasn't about anything campaign-related. Then he admitted it was a meeting with a pretense of campaign-related information which is exactly the kind of information of which the Russians are suspected of providing to him, but he denies that any such information was provided.

4) Insert list of other campaign officials denying interactions with Russians here...

It's getting pretty wildly incredulous, if you ask me.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yes--right. I agree with that. Absolutely. In the context, this is significant. Yet another datum that points in the worrisome direction.

I guess I was puzzling over the peripheral stuff assessing it as "shocking" or whatever, which seemed hyperbolic to me.

I also wasn't sure whether or not people like Trump Jr. just meet with people constantly, and one crazy Russian "with Kremlin ties" (which the story doesn't even allege that he knew about, right?) might barely even register on his radar.

Not to say this isn't fishy! It's fishy as hell.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original NYT piece on this story claims that the lawyer is "linked" to the Kremlin "...according to confidential government records described to the New York Times."

Why do we still buy this chicanery? Sure, have the investigation, but the media isn't doing its part to help coax the other side into agreement. Even if NYT did have access to "confidential government records," what does this mean exactly?

We always seem to get a story that goes something like: Trump administration/campaign embroiled in controversy due to seemingly improper communication(s) with the Russians, and we know this because an unnamed official within the intelligence community gave us his estimate of the situation.

I know that the investigation is ultimately what will turn evidence (if there is any that is accessible), but some (many?) of the connections that are being drawn by the media seem shoddy at best.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Just to point out again that this was the main headline at the Wall Street Journal. That alone seems to me to rule out the possibility that this is 'anti-Trump hyperbole' / hysteria'.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I take the point DJ...but...the WSJ is a pretty straight-up news organization...its the editorial page that's notoriously slanted.

I agree that the WSJ is not the NYT...but the real test is how accurate the headline is, not who wrote it. Is it really *stunning*?

Kevin Drum is hardly a Trump-coddling neo-reactionary, and his assessment seems pretty much the same as mine, I'd say:

He seems to think it's more like another little datum that doesn't change much--i.e. not stunning.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Fair enough Winston. Still, I'd be more inclined to regard it as a storm in a teacup if (as with many of these stories) it didn't expose a bunch of previous emphatic blanket denials as straight-up lies.

In other words, what the Mystic said.

1:14 AM  

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