The Art of War says that one should never underestimate one’s enemies. Prepare for your enemy to be smarter, better organized, stronger and more capable. Knowing your enemy’s strengths will help you plan the perfect offense and defense. I believe that. But I also believe that some people are dumb as a box of hair, and that their stupidity makes it difficult to plan a cohesive strategy to take them down. I also think that Washington reporters (in particular) are used to dealing with political people who have a sense of shame, who worry about their public image, who have two brain cells to rub together. They’re not used to the Trump family because the Trumps are A) really stupid and B) not well-organized, not stronger, and not more capable. The other shoe has dropped: Donald Trump and his children are evil idiots, not Machiavellian manipulators.
That’s my preface to this story about Donald Trump Jr. Back in July, Don Jr. released his own emails with a shady middle-man who organized a meeting in Trump Tower between Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and shady Russians. Don Jr. basically proved his own attempt at collusion, and there was email evidence (an electronic paper trail, if you will). Don Jr. was hauled in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday to answer questions in a closed session about the meeting. The story around the meeting keeps changing, because Don Jr. is like a child caught in lie, thinking he can just switch stories mid-stream.
Donald Trump Jr. took questions Thursday from Senate investigators about his meeting with a Russian lawyer and other topics central to inquiries into Russian influence in the 2016 election, but he frequently said he could not provide important details, according to people who attended the hearing. President Trump’s eldest son appeared for five hours before Senate Judiciary Committee members and staffers, a sign of the wide-ranging interest on Capitol Hill in Trump campaign and business interactions with Russians.
Trump Jr. was grilled about issues including Russian influence on campaign-related social media communications and Trump Organization plans to build a luxury skyscraper in Moscow. But for the most part the closed-door session focused on his June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer who reportedly promised negative information about Hillary Clinton, his father’s Democratic opponent. That conversation has become central to inquiries into possible collusion between the campaign and Russia. Trump Jr. said he was not aware of what role, if any, his father might have played in drafting an early explanation of the meeting that was widely criticized as misleading. Instead, observers said, he promoted his view that the 2016 meeting was inconsequential.
“The meeting provided no meaningful information and turned out not to be about what had been represented,” Trump Jr. said in a prepared statement that was first reported by the New York Times. At the end of the session, the president’s son tweeted out a statement saying: “I answered every question posed by the Committee . . . until both sides had exhausted their lines of questioning. I trust this interview fully satisfied their inquiry.” That is not likely.
“He’s supposed to come back and testify under oath at a public hearing — that is my expectation,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “There certainly are a lot of areas that have been opened for future witnesses and questioning.” Another Democrat in attendance, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), did not respond to a request for comment after the hearing, but his office later distributed a memorandum of federal statutes prohibiting lying to Congress, suggesting them as something “to keep in mind regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony today.”
Trump Jr. told the congressional investigators he was skeptical of the June 2016 meeting before attending but “to the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character, or qualifications of the presidential candidate I believed I should at least hear them out,” according to his prepared statement. Trump Jr. told the panel he would have consulted with lawyers if any useful information had been provided about Clinton by the visiting Russian. He said that nothing remotely interesting emerged. Overall, Trump Jr. described the meeting as an innocent one, set up on a chaotic day in the heat of the campaign. And he took the opportunity to reject suggestions of collusion with the Russians.
“I did not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” he said in his statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to help resolve any lingering concerns that may exist.”
What he’s really saying is this: “I did not collude with any foreign government… except for that meeting I took with Russian foreign agents to get information about Hillary Clinton, which of course would be the textbook definition of collusion with a foreign government. Whatever, I do not recall.” These people are so dumb and so evil. The Democratic senators are pushing for Don Jr. to next appear before their committee in open session and under oath. Sure. Let’s do it.
Photos courtesy of Getty.