Political News

The 6 most troubling parts of Don Jr's emails exchange with Rob Goldstone

Posted July 11

Donald Trump Jr, minutes before The New York Times published a story detailing emails he sent and received regarding a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, released the email chain himself via Twitter on Tuesday.

The exchange between Trump Jr and Rob Goldstone, a publicist for a Russian musician named Emin Agalarov Don Jr. had met during the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Russia, is remarkable -- and seems to create even more problems for both Trump Jr. and his father.

I went through the emails -- helpfully transcribed by my friends at The Fix! -- and plucked out the stuff that seemed particularly problematic or interesting.

Goldstone: "The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras [Agalarov] this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."

A few things here. One, as the Times helpfully points out, there is no such thing as the "Crown prosecutor" in Russia. So, it's not exactly clear who Goldstone is referring to, but one good possibility is the prosecutor general of Russia -- a man named Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, who was appointed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. This person, who, again, was appointed by Putin and works in an official capacity in the Russian government, is offering up "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary."

Hard to say Don Jr. didn't have any idea what he'd be getting -- or hoping to get -- out of the meeting.

Goldstone: "This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

"Is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

I mean.

So. Again, Don Jr. knew what he was getting into in this meeting. And the expectation was this would be "very high level and sensitive" information.

Goldstone: "I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first."

First, some context: "Rhona" is Rhona Graff -- Donald Trump's personal assistant. And what is clear is that, according to Goldstone, this information is very, very secret and very very important. So important that he doesn't want to risk running it through Donald Trump's personal assistant.

Trump Jr: "Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

This is super important. Don Jr. expresses zero misgivings about meeting with someone who has information gleaned as the result of a Russian government operation aimed at electing his father to be president. Trump Jr.'s initial reaction is only: "If it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer."

His thought seems to be how to use the information -- and when to use the information -- for his political advantage. That's it.

Trump Jr: "Rob could we speak now?"

Three days after first being informed of this information, Goldstone again reaches out to Trump Jr. And Trump Jr. replies that same day, hoping to get on the phone ASAP. Which means he wants the information as soon as humanly possible.

Goldstone: "Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday."

What's changed is that instead of having a phone call with the Agalarovs, now a "Russian government attorney" is flying to the US and can meet with Don Jr. in person.

Don Jr.'s insistence that he didn't know the name of the person he was meeting with still stands but is now totally meaningless. He may not have known the name of Natalia Veselnitskaya but he knew that she, according to Goldstone, was a "Russian government attorney" sent by the Agalarovs to pass on allegedly incriminating information about Clinton. So, her actual name matters much, much less.

Correction: The headline of this post has been updated to correct the spelling of Rob Goldstone's name.

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