We now know that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attempted to collude with the Russian government in an effort to win the 2016 presidential election. We also know that the meeting, which Trump, Kushner and Manafort thought was with a Russian government official, included a man who is former Soviet counterintelligence with an apparent expertise in the dangers of email hacking.

While some Republicans have expressed concerns about the meeting, many others are making excuses for the trio, claiming that “anyone” would have accepted the meeting, and poor Don Jr was just “a kid” (at age 39) who knew little about politics — anyone in his position would have flirted with treason!

Nothing could be further from the truth. When I first started working in the US Senate, I was approached by a Soviet embassy official who wanted to be my new best friend. I immediate called the Senate security office, which informed me the man was KGB. I was new to politics, but I knew right from wrong, and I avoided that guy the entire 5 years I worked in the Senate. Soviets and Russians are trouble, and you don’t need a lot of political experience to know it (though Manafort had decades of Washington experience, and still attended the meeting.)

Another excuse coming from Donald Trump Sr’s lawyer, religious right anti-gay activist Jay Sekulow, is that Don Jr. didn’t break any laws. But how do we know? Don Jr., and Kushner and Manafort hid this meeting for the past year, and Junior only released his emails about the meeting because the New York Times had them and was about to publish them anyway. What’s more, Trump Jr. put out disinformation about the meeting, not realizing the New York Times had the entire real story. So if Don Jr. didn’t tell the full story last week, why do we believe he’s telling it this week?

Second point: Trump’s defenders claim that nothing came of the meeting, they didn’t get the dirt they wanted, and that the meeting ended up not being with current Russian government employees. But how do we know? We’re to trust Donald Trump Jr., and the Russians, claims that they weren’t really there on behalf of the Russian government and that no material was handed over to the Trump campaign? Also, it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort accepted and went to this meeting on the understanding that they were meeting with Russian government officials interested in helping Trump win the election. The actual status of the meeting attendees doesn’t change the fact that Trump & Co. thought they were meeting with Russian government officials, and were perfectly fine with it.

But there’s something else equally important: It’s not just about the law, it’s about being a good American. You just don’t accept help from America’s enemy, and that’s what Russia is. There’s no sugar-coating it. These same Republican congressman who are defending Trump Jr. knowingly accepting Russian government help to win the election would have assembled a literal firing squad had Chelsea Clinton done the same. But that’s not even the point. It’s not just about hypocrisy. It’s about disloyalty. It’s about the Republican party caring more about Moscow than Milwaukee. It’s about the GOP dumbing treason down. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign normalized sexual assault, and his presidency is normalizing treason.

What’s next? Trump is in trouble. That does not mean he’s going to be impeached any day soon. But, the Russia story, which was a growing inconvenience turned into a major scandal this week. We went from “no evidence of collusion,” to “sure they colluded, but there’s no evidence (yet) of treason.” And who’s to say there won’t be more shoes to drop in this ever-shoe-dropping scandal? Just look at Donald Trump Jr’s emails. Junior didn’t act terribly surprised, or concerned, that the Russians were apparently endorsing his dad’s campaign and wanted to help. You’d think the normal response would be “really, you’re kidding?” In Don Jr’s case, it was simply “I love it.” As if it was expected, normal, not out of the ordinary. Which raises a few questions.

1. Did Don Jr, Kushner and Manafort have previous meetings with Russians interested in helping the campaign?

2. Did anyone connected to Trump have any later meetings with the Russians, or their middlemen? This is the particularly relevant point. Don Jr., Kushner and Manafort welcomed the Russian government’s help last June. Why wouldn’t they have welcome it again at a later date? The message to the Russians was clear — we will gladly accept your help. In fact, the biggest concern anyone had about the meeting is that they didn’t, they claim, get any real dirt on Hillary. So did the Russians come back and offer more information and/or help at a later date? Why wouldn’t they?

3. Who’s to say they didn’t receive any dirt on Hillary from the Russian government? They hid the existence of this meeting for a year. Kushner didn’t even report it on his security clearance application form (the SF86, as it’s called). Why should anyone believe that this meeting that was hidden for a year didn’t produce any real results, simply because Don Jr. says so.

And finally, how in Lord’s name does Jared Kushner still have a security clearance after not reporting this meeting, along with 99 other foreign contacts, to the intelligence community when he applied for his clearance? How do you forget that you held a meeting with the Russian government in order to seek their assistance in winning the presidential election? I mean, did Kushner really have that many collusion meetings that he couldn’t remember one more? Poppycock.

Kushner’s security clearance should be suspended pending clearance by FBI special counsel Mueller. If you agree, add your name to our call to action.

In the end, the eagle knew before all the rest of us.

trump eagle

I’d never watched the entire video — Trump is scared to death of the bird throughout the shoot. And it keeps messing with his hair!

Back by popular demand are our “Trump/Putin” t-shirts, which sold so well last time that I brought them back, especially now that they’re topic. Consider them a donation to support my work. Here’s me wearing mine on the National Mall in DC. It was quite a popular shirt that day, everyone talked to me about it. The shirts come in a variety of colors, and women’s styles as well:

Also be sure to check out our new “Nevertheless she persisted” t-shirt, which comes in a variety of colors and styles:

Only one more week to get these shirts! Thanks for your support, JOHN

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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6 Responses to “Treason”

  1. Demosthenes says:

    This is a succinct discussion of the Russia issue. The example of what you faced makes your post important in showing Uday/Fredo Trump, Kushner, and Manafort still are hiding relevant details of their collusion with Russian spies. Undoubtedly Mueller is on it.

  2. Badgerite says:

    Always trust an Eagle.

  3. Badgerite says:

    John Denver. The voice of a Liberal.

  4. Badgerite says:

  5. woodroad34 says:

    Including Jeff Sessions, the dark elf, who just amends his security form with an “Ooopsies” and everything is alright. DT part Deux doesn’t have the most illustrious and moral background and to just be excused from everything (which I’m pretty sure was the modus operandi for his entire life, like W) is beyond the pale. I’m pretty sure he just shrugs all this off with the thought that daddy will take care of everything. He needs a big ol’ Prison Bro spanking.

  6. mgiltz says:

    Great story about your days working in gov’t! I also loved when people used other specific examples, such as when Gore’s campaign was sent unsolicited video of Bush prepping for their debates, what did they do? Pick up the phone and call the FBI. (Ditto the JFK story.) They keep moving the goalposts on what’s ethical but eventually the Republicans are going to run out of field.

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