Screenshot: Drudge Report

Conservative media juggernaut Matt Drudge has long been a defender of and even a reported advisor to Donald Trump. He’s never seen a negative story about our megalomaniac-in-chief that he couldn’t dismiss. But today, he was faced with a scandal that appears to be big trouble for the White House and all he could say was, “THE EMAIL,” typed below a photo of Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

Over the last few days, the New York Times has filed multiple reports about a meeting that took place on June 9th, 2016, at Trump Tower between some of Donald Trump’s closest inner circle and a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has close ties to the Kremlin. The meeting appeared to be one of the clearest examples of attempted coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives hoping to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

Advertisement

Donald Trump Jr, who along with Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner attended the meeting, confirmed that the facts of the report were true. At first, he claimed that the meeting’s focus was mostly to discuss a Russian adoption program that was suspended by the Kremlin in retaliation for American sanctions. The fact that he was meeting with a Russian operative to discuss the possible easing of sanctions while Russia was attempting to get his father elected would have looked bad enough. But Trump Jr decided to clarify his statement and told the Times he met with the lawyer because he was promised that she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr says that no compromising materials were delivered and he considered the meeting a waste of time.

On Monday, the Times revealed that it had three sources with knowledge of the initial email that was sent to Donald Trump Jr to arrange the meeting with Veselnitskaya. These sources say that the email explicitly informed Trump Jr that the materials being promised were “part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”

The Times reports that the email was from former British tabloid reporter Rob Goldstone, who has worked with the Trump’s Miss Universe pageant. Trump Jr has previously confirmed that the meeting was arranged by an acquaintance he met at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Mr. Goldstone denies any knowledge of the Russian government’s involvement with the meeting. He claims he was asked to arrange the meeting by the Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. Agalarov’s father is Aras Agalarov, an oligarch who reportedly has close connections to Vladimir Putin.

Advertisement

President Trump himself was allegedly unaware of the meeting. Some of his aides found out a few days before he returned from his trip to Europe at the end of last week because Kushner had to revise his foreign contact disclosure form to include the meeting.

No, this is not a smoking gun. It’s just a meeting in which Trump Jr admitted to discussing sanctions with a lawyer close to the Kremlin while he was on the campaign. Then he admitted he took the meeting because he was seeking intel about Hillary Clinton. And he is alleged to have received an email saying that the Russian government was attempting to sway the election in his father’s favor. That is what this is.

Trump Jr retained a criminal lawyer who specializes in defending the mob today.

These are ominous developments for the Trump regime. And for now, all Matt Drudge can say about it is: “THE EMAIL.”

[New York Times]