The Russia scandal: Talk turns to treason at Trump Tower

PUBLISHED: 13:30 13 July 2017

PA Images

PA Images

DPA/PA Images

The shadows of impeachment hanging over the White House have darkened massively… thanks to the New York Times which might yet end up emulating the Washington Post in bringing down a disgraced president.

The string of damning emails Donald Trump Jr was forced to release in the wake of the newspaper’s investigation clearly show the Trump campaign was all too willing to secretly liaise with a sinister Russian plot to help their man defeat Hillary Clinton by interfering in last year’s presidential election. The glee is all too clear, as the president’s son eagerly embraced – even messaging “I love it” – what he was told was a Russian Government attempt to sabotage Clinton’s campaign.

Among many senior Capitol Hill figures – including Republicans – it looks the closest thing yet to the smoking gun that could bring down the presidency. It immediately raises serious questions over whether campaign laws were broken and why senior Trump campaign associates and family members failed to report an illegal hostile act by a foreign power.

The devastating email trail reveals how British born music promoter Rob Goldstone told Trump Jr at the height of the 2016 election campaign that “The crown prosecutor of Russian” had offered “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary an her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”.

In another email Goldstone described the glamorous Russian lawyer who was offering to help, Natalia Veselnitskaya, as a “Russian government attorney” (in reality, she is married to a senior Kremlin official, it has now emerged).

More significantly still, Trump Jr not only agreed to a meeting at New York’s Trump Tower, but emailed intermediary Goldstone to tell him that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, now a senior White House advisor, would also attend, along with Russian-connected Paul Manafort – at the time manager of Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign team.

The fact that all three attended the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya on June 9 last year, at the height of the campaign, has not just rocked Washington but sent the odds on an eventual impeachment soaring. The trio will now face a grilling from the various congressional investigations taking place into the Russian Connection scandal and will also be targeted for questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the investigation into potential criminal offences on the scale of Watergate.

But the key question yet to be answered is whether the secret liaison was reported to Donald Trump himself. His son denies it, but even senior Republicans were raising their eyebrows at the idea that The Donald himself would have been kept out of the loop.

Trump Jr’s decision to release the email chain was an apparent attempt to pre-empt publication in the New York Times which first exposed the story of the Veselnitskaya meeting.

In a statement posted on his father’s favourite medium, Twitter, Trump Jr explained: “To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9th 2016. To put this in context, before the current Russian fever was in vogue.”

But the White House’s position is threatened further by the fact that Trump Jr initially told the New York Times that the meeting was only about the ban on Russian children being adopted by American citizens.

And before Trump Jr was forced to release the email trail, Veselnitskaya herself denied she had gone to the meeting with information about Clinton and was only interested in the adoption issue. Damningly she told American’s NBC channel: “It’s quite possible that maybe they were looking for such information, they wanted it so badly.”

As Republican party leaders struggled to come to come to terms with ‘EmailGate’ and its potential implications, Richard Burr, Republican chief of the Senate Intelligence Committee, offered: “It’s too early to draw any conclusions, but we’re gonna look at everything and go where the facts lead us.”

His Democratic counterpart, Senator Mark Warner, stressed the significance that the emails had also been forwarded to Kushner and Manafort and that they had attended the Trump Tower meeting and had failed to report apparent Russian interference in the US election. Said Warner: “They have got a lot of explaining to do, because all these denials of any knowledge of Russian Government involvement now seem to be a gross contradiction.”

While Senator John McCain, a former presidential candidate and frequent critic of the Trump administration, said: “This is only the beginning ... there’ll be many more shoes that will drop yet.”

Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year, weighed in explosively by declaring: “Nothing is proven yet, but we’re beyond obstruction of justice and moved into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason.”

Suddenly, TREASON is the new buzzword being touted by Capitol Hill Democrats....and dreaded among Republicans fearful for their prospects of holding on to Congressional power in next year’s mid-term elections.

In his interview on Fox News, Trump Jr sought to portray himself as a political neophyte, at one point describing politics as a ‘dirty game’ and employing the business terminology ‘opposition research’ to explain the Veselnitskaya meeting.

But the main purpose of the interview was equally clearly to insist that Donald Trump Snr had known nothing about the meeting before or after it took place.

Earlier President Trump issued an uncharacteristically muted statement (on legal advice, I’m told) in which he called his son a “high quality person”.

The supreme irony of the current storm is that it centres around the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow (franchise holder Donald Trump) – where the President’s son first met the intermediaries who set up the Veselnitskaya Trump Tower rendezvous.

The Moscow pageant was at the centre of the unproven and hotly denied claim by an ex-British intelligence agent that the Kremlin hold kompromat material of Trump Senior allegedly cavorting with Russian hookers in a hotel suite in the Russian capital.

The astonishing twists, of course, come just days after that Trump/Putin face-to-face at the G20, following which the White House was at pains to push the line that the US president had “robustly addressed” Russian interference in the election with his counterpart. But how robustly was the question posed by sceptics after the Kremlin briefed that Trump had accepted Putin’s not guilty assurances.

The sceptics’ view was reinforced by the fact that at his Warsaw press conference little more than 24 hours earlier Trump again appeared to contradict the overwhelming view of US intelligence chiefs and express doubts over the Kremlin’s culpability.

It was more than just scepticism though, which greeted the president’s next bravado lesson in making up global policy on the hoof. Within hours of returning stateside, and to general incredulity on Capitol Hill and among intelligence chiefs, Trump announced a cyber partnership to protect elections with none other than, er, Russia!

To add to the mounting question marks over his mental state and grasp of reality, 12 hours later still Trump returned to Twitter to totally contradict himself with: “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security Unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t…”

The initiative had lasted about as long as his latest attempt to close down the Russian Connection investigation.

Paul Connew is a media commentator, broadcaster, author and former Sunday Mirror editor

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

Friday, November 17, 2017

Somaliland is introducing the world’s most advanced voting system. It is, says CALESTOUS JUMA, just one example of the way African countries are surprisingly skipping ahead in technological innovation

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Britain’s bungled Brexit negotiations have sparked a messy divorce from the European Union – and it is about to get even nastier.

Friday, November 17, 2017

PAUL CONNEW on the ongoing investigations into the Trump administration's Kremlin links

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Georgia spawned Stalin, the monster who forever poisoned the legacy of the Russian Revolution. But it also produced a tantalising alternative vision of what that revolution could have led to. JUSTIN REYNOLDS explores the forgotten history of the fleeting Democratic Republic of Georgia, which offered a flicker of hope before it was extinguished

Friday, November 17, 2017

Comedian, musician and writer MITCH BENN on a year in which politics is quite literally crazy

Friday, November 17, 2017

Britain’s tech sector is flying. But, asks ANGELA JAMESON, will new Government cash be enough to stop Brexit bursting the bubble?

Friday, November 17, 2017

This week’s New European Podcast has dropped - and we are focusing on Brexit’s dreamiest couple.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What makes some men act inappropriately? Psychiatry professor PHILIP GRAHAM explores the science behind harassment

Thursday, November 16, 2017

STEVE ANGLESEY counts down the worst Brexiteers of the week

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

In his most celebrated poems, Rupert Brooke gave a classic evocation of England. But, argues CHARLIE CONNELLY, his work has a very European context

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

RICHARD PORRITT with the week's big stories

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tim Martin, boss of the Wetherspoon pub chain, is pestering drinkers with his pro-Brexit beer mats. ANTHONY CLAVANE wonders whether his customers might find it too much to swallow

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The internet does not distinguish between good and bad. If we want to survive it, we might have to, says NATHANIEL TAPLEY

Monday, November 13, 2017

What do the Hard Brexiteers think of ‘taking back control’ only to have the US wade into the UK’s trading standards? ANGELA JAMESON investigates whether chlorinated chicken is back on the menu

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Almost half of NHS doctors from Europe are considering quitting the UK because of Brexit, according to a new survey.

Monday, November 13, 2017

MPs will get the chance to vote down Brexit in parliament – but we will leave the EU whatever the result, David Davis has said.

Monday, November 13, 2017

PAUL CONNEW on how, despite everything, the President retains his support base

Monday, November 13, 2017

As the Brexit Bill continues its chaotic progress through the Commons, pro-European peer HUGH DYKES warns that the Lords are ready to take up the fight when it reaches them

Friday, November 10, 2017

Research by the British Election Study suggests the ethnic minority vote was crucial in the EU referendum.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The playwright, author and critic on the fight against change

Friday, November 10, 2017

Editor-at-large ALASTAIR CAMPBELL on why leaving the EU is so damaging to the health service

Friday, November 10, 2017

Being forced to wear one takes all meaning away from this symbol, says comedian, musician and writer MITCH BENN

Monday, November 13, 2017

For a true idea of the untold tragedy of gun crime in the US, look beyond the mass shootings to the ‘mundane’ murders. ANDREW PURCELL reports

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Britain’s unofficial poet laureate Tony Harrison tells ANTHONY CLAVANE about how the divisions exposed by his landmark poem, V, are as raw now as ever

Friday, November 10, 2017

Article 50, which triggers Britain's exit from the EU, can be reversed, according to the man who wrote it.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

RICHARD PORRITT rounds up the losers and losers (because there are no winners) of another crazy seven days on Planet Brexit

Thursday, November 9, 2017

RICHARD PORRITT with the week's big stories

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

CHRIS SUTCLIFFE on media

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A new international study shows how narcissism and an unrealistic belief in national greatness led to the successes of Donald Trump and Brexit. SCOTT OLIVER reports

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The government has announced there will be a delay of "no more than three weeks" in publishing its secret papers on the economic impact of Brexit.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PETER TRUDGILL on the Nordic roots of a French wine

Monday, November 6, 2017

Is the House of cards about to fall? PAUL CONNEW examines a blockbuster week in the White House as the Russian Connection begins to really bite

Monday, November 6, 2017

Turkey has just got its 93rd political party. But, says SUNA ERDEM, the Good Party and its leader Meral Aksener could bring the troubled country the rejuvenation it desperately needs

Friday, November 3, 2017

Andy Wigmore's attempt at 'sarcasm' on Vote Leave's use of bots was a characteristic piece of mischief from this sharpshooting Brexiteer, say RACHEL DAVIS and RICHARD PORRITT

Friday, November 3, 2017

President Xi Jinping’s position is strengthened and his vision for China is clear. But, says CHARLES BURTON, it means he will have to take the blame if things go wrong

Friday, November 3, 2017

With Donald Trump doing his best to up the ante in his stand-off with Kim Jong-Un, the optimistic argument goes that China will eventually step in to restrain its North Korean neighbour. But, KATHARINE MOON argues, this is wishful thinking. Pyongyang won’t kowtow to Beijing

Friday, November 3, 2017

Throughout his career, the designer acted as a curator of his own work. As our culture correspondent VIV GROSKOP reports, we now have two museums fit to showcase that talent

Friday, November 3, 2017

EMMA JONES recalls her time working in the magazine industry with its very warped view of women

Friday, November 3, 2017

Britain has never produced another hero like Dan Dare. In a landmark year for the lantern-jawed pilot, CHARLIE CONNELLY pays tribute to a figure who has shaped our art, literature, science, architecture and even musical theatre

Friday, November 3, 2017

RICHARD MILLS on the sometimes surreal, sometimes tragic, story of Vladimir Dedijer, a Yugoslav partisan fighter, member of Tito’s inner circle and a big Huddersfield Town fan

Podcast

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter