Either this leads somewhere, or the New York Times has painted itself into a corner.
Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.
This indicates a few things:
- The NYT does not possess the email. If they had it, they’d have said so.
- The “three people with knowledge of the email” don’t have it either or they’d have given it to the NYT.
- The specific language in the email may or may not be indicative of some government effort.
The email was sent by someone with only tenuous connections to Russians. Rob Goldstone was familiar with the lawyer who ultimately met with Trump Jr.
NYT’s byline includes Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman. They are all capable reporters but they are following the same leaky leads they’ve used in the past which have been refuted in various forums.
Based on the absence of facts here, it appears that the NYT is trying to steer the investigation in directions it would like to see it move. This is a kind of baiting, using counterfactual claims, to get Robert Mueller’s investigators, or the Senate Intelligence Committee, to demand the email. They’ve already asked to speak with Trump Jr., who wisely retained an attorney.
Then the NYT reported on the attorney as if there was a patina of guilt or a criminal aura about him.
Other than the “three people” the NYT cited, every single party to the email exchange and the meeting itself, have denied charges of Russian government involvement or a hint of collusion. The NYT is creating an atmosphere of “guilty because you deny it” around their claims.
They even had the temerity to claim that the story itself has taken the wind out of the president’s sails.
News of the meeting involving the younger Mr. Trump, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort blunted whatever good feeling the president’s team had after his trip to Europe for the Group of 20 economic summit meeting.
Putting words into administration officials’ and Trump family members’ mouths, selectively including statements, leaks and descriptions that fit their pre-determined narrative, and then framing statements by named official White House and Trump persons as responses is dangerous journalism.
We should expect more of the New York Times.