Trump’s Inner Circle Sought Russian ‘Dirt’ on Clinton
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Trump’s Inner Circle Sought Russian ‘Dirt’ on Clinton

Trump Jr., Son-in-Law Kushner and Campaign Manager Manafort Met with Kremlin-Connected Lawyer During the Campaign

Dirty business. The New York Times landed a bombshell in the Trump-Kremlin conspiracy investigation over the weekend. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign. Trump Jr. said the attorney’s comments were “vague, ambiguous and made no sense.” Present at the meeting were Trump. Jr., First Son-in-Law (to be) Jared Kushner, then-campaign chief Paul Manafort and the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Here clients include state-owned businesses and a senior government official’s son, whose company was under investigation in the United States at the time of the meeting. Her activities and associations had previously drawn the attention of the F.B.I., The times reported. Trump Jr. said his father “knew nothing of the meeting or these events.” Federal prosecutors and congressional investigators are trying to determine whether the Trump campaign encouraged Russian efforts to meddle in the election. The meeting at Trump Tower—on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination—is the first confirmed private meeting involving his inner circle and a Russian. Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was mostly about adoptions of Russian infants.

Blind spot. Meanwhile, Trump Sr.’s on-again-off-again bromance with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has cooled a bit since the couple’s two-hour Hamburg diplo-tryst. After effectively dismissing our own intelligence community’s position that Russia attempted to sway the presidential election, Trump said he wanted to make nice with Russia and perhaps set up a cybersecurity unit that would prevent future election hacking. Then, he didn’t. In a late Sunday night tweet, Trump threw cold water on the idea—while praising a Russian-U.S.-brokered ceasefire in Syria. Both Democrats and Republicans had already rebuked Trump on the cyber-security plan, as well as his relationship with Putin. “When it comes to Russia, he’s got a blind spot,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

Inside enrichment. Some Republican representatives and senators are boosting their own finances with investments in health stocks as they debate Trumpcare, a bill that could ruin the finances of lower-income people in our country. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) bought between $50,000 to $100,000 in UnitedHealth stock. An account owned by the wife of Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) bought UnitedHealth stock worth as much as $30,000. Conaway, a GOP deputy whip in the House, has a long history of investing in firms connected to his official duties. The STOCK Act was supposed to curb these abuses, but it has been watered down, and parts of it have been repealed.

American isolationism. European heads of state have stopped acting nice about their divisions with Trump. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Europe must “take our fate into our own hands.” The Group of 20 summit meeting was held in Hamburg. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord has been widely condemned.

July 10, 2017