The next holiday dinner for the Trump family just got a lot more awkward – that is, if they’re not yet in prison and are even able to attend. Donald Trump Jr testified before Congress today about his meeting with Russian government representatives during the election. While it wasn’t aired publicly on television, portions have quickly leaked out. Junior’s testimony, a bumbling effort to get himself off the hook, instead served to nail himself and his father for obstruction of justice.
Here’s the key passage from Trump Jr’s testimony, as published by the New York Times: “To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate, I believed that I should at least hear them out … Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.” (link). Now let’s break down what just happened here.
First, and obviously, Donald Trump Jr just admitted that his initial public response about the meeting was a lie. After the media first exposed the meeting, he had claimed the meeting had nothing to do with the campaign. Lying to the public or to the media is not automatically a crime in and of itself. But in this instance it’s fairly elementary to conclude that Junior initially lied to the public with the intent of throwing off the ongoing investigation into his father’s Russia scandal – meaning that Junior just admitted to committing obstruction of justice. More importantly, he just nailed his father.
It’s since come to light that Donald Trump himself crafted the initial false statement that Donald Trump Jr gave. Now that Junior is officially admitting that statement about the Russia meeting is a lie, he’s admitting that Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice by telling him to lie about its nature. This is likely why Junior tried to avoid testifying for as long as he did: he was a in a no-win situation to begin with, and his witlessness has made it even worse than it had to be for himself and his father.
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