When, Donald Trump Jr. decided to release all (or maybe not all, who knows?) of the emails leading up to his famous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney at which he had been promised Russian-compiled dirt on Hillary Clinton, I expressed skepticism about whether it would turn into a bigger deal.
I figured that even if the meeting was corrupt or collusive, as long as everyone at the meeting stuck to the story that nothing much happened, it was unlikely to turn into much than proof that the Trump campaign was willing to collude. I also noted, based on a piece by a Russia-wise journalist, that the attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, appeared to be more of a creature of the Moscow state government, rather than the Kremlin, and that people should be careful about referring to her as “Kremlin-linked.”
On both of those scores, I need to take back my first reactions. Turns out there were several more people at the meeting — and that those additional people seem to add to the potential shadiness of it. Also, more people means more people who might end up divulging what really happened at the meeting.
Since Trump Jr., who claimed by his release of email to divulge everything there was to divulge — which got him a public compliment from his father for his “transparency” — was withholding the identities of several more people who were at the meeting, the “transparency” gag is exploded.
Now, it turns out that Veselnitskaya was not only connected to the Moscow state government but had also done work for the FSB, which is the Russian version of the CIA. I hereby request permission to take back my first reaction, which was to predict that the meeting “might actually turn out to be a nothing-burger.”
In fairness to myself, the full paragraph in which “nothing-burger” appeared went like this:
“Since I haven’t mentioned it yet, here’s where I am on the Donald-Jr.-colluded-with-the-Russians thing. It might turn into something Trump-presidency-threatening, but I’m not ready to get ahead of the evidence, and I have a hunch it might actually turn out to be a nothing-burger.”
My current hunch is that it might turn out to be a something-burger. But what good are hunches. Everyone at the meeting should testify under oath, and let the investigation proceed.
UPDATE: Special counsel Robert Mueller has officially asked all participants in meeting to save all documents related to it.