Yesterday we received news that was unsurprising yet nonetheless stunning: during the campaign, Donald Trump Jr was in regular contact with Russian-controlled cyberterrorist outfit WikiLeaks. Regardless of the intermediary sourcing involved, it’s difficult to imagine this story having surfaced without WikiLeaks having been behind it. Further, it’s impossible to imagine WikiLeaks leaking something like this without Vladimir Putin’s approval. Now we have to look at how we got here.
Consider the timeline of the past week. Donald Trump runs off to Asia to meet with Putin. Whatever Putin says during their conversation, it spooks Trump to the point that he immediately runs out and tells the American media that he believes Putin’s claim that Russia didn’t rig the election. Then Trump says to the media that “people will die” if the investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal continues. Then, during a joint press conference with the leader of Vietnam the next day, Trump incongruously blurts out that U.S. sanctions against Russia should be eased.
Based on Trump’s public comments, it already appeared that Putin told him to get sanctions lifted, and suggested that someone involved would get hurt if that didn’t happen, and it sent Trump into a panic. Now it appears that a few days after all this, Putin had WikiLeaks leak its communications with Donald Trump Jr, as a way of harming Donald Trump’s son, and driving home the message that Trump needs to find a way to get those sanctions lifted. This may not be the first time Putin has targeted Trump Jr, either.
Back when word of Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian government lawyer leaked to the media, I suspected at the time – but couldn’t prove – that Vladimir Putin had leaked it in order to send a message to Donald Trump about getting Russian sanctions lifted. Now, just days after Trump and Putin met, and Trump came away nervously babbling about sanctions and people getting hurt, a new damaging leak surfaces about Trump’s son – and it appears sourced back to Putin. Do the math.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report