Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has zeroed in on Donald Trump Jr’s Russia meeting as a way to nail Donald Trump for obstruction and nail the entire campaign for collusion, Russia is attempting to realign the chess board in its favor – at the expense of the Trump family. Representatives of the Russian government are now trying to sell the premise that they didn’t collude with the Trump campaign; the Trump campaign was merely trying to collude.
Natalia Veselnitskaya, the attorney who unofficially represents the Kremlin, is now trying to sell the notion that she pitched the meeting to Donald Trump Jr’s friend Rob Goldstone as being strictly about Russian sanctions, according to a CNN report (link). If that were true, it would mean that Goldstone then turned around and lied to Junior about dirt on Hillary Clinton being on the table, in order to get him to attend. How does this change things?
If Russia’s new stance were to be believed, it would mean that Russia wasn’t meeting with Donald Trump Jr to try to rig the election, but that Donald Trump Jr thought he was going to be rigging the election by meeting with Russia. It all too conveniently gets the Russians off the hook. Vladimir Putin could claim that he has nothing to do with it. The Russian government intermediaries wouldn’t have to avoid the United States for the rest of their lives in order to avoid prosecution. The catch of course is that this is all too convenient.
There’s no reason to expect Robert Mueller to fall for Russia’s new scheme unless it turns out to be the demonstrable truth. In the meantime, it’s clear that Russia is throwing Donald Trump Jr under the bus by painting him (and not Russia) as the one who was looking to collude – and in turn, throwing Donald Trump under the bus because he’s the one who obstructed justice by trying to cover up the meeting. Is Russia punishing Trump for failing on sanctions, or just trying to cut its losses?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report