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July 11, 2017

7-11-2017 Donald Trump Jr. faces new Russia scrutiny (Vox) Nuggets….

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and former campaign chair Paul Manafort all met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 election, in pursuit of information that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton. [NYT / Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo, and Adam Goldman]

  • Donald Trump Jr. initially told Times reporters that the June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was to discuss adoption issues between the two countries. [NYT / Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo, and Adam Goldman]
  • But after being confronted by more of the Times’s reporting, the younger Trump later changed his story, admitting that Veselnitskaya offered up potentially compromising information on Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, but the information was too “vague” to be useful. [NYT / Jo Becker, Matt Apuzzo, and Adam Goldman]
  • US intelligence agencies including the FBI, CIA, and NSA have established that the Russians worked to interfere in the 2016 election to try to get Trump elected (in part because of Putin’s animus toward Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton). What we still don’t know — and what the FBI and congressional committees are investigating — is whether the Trump campaign actively worked with them. [Intelligence Community Assessment]
  • The latest Times story is notable because it’s the first to suggest that members of Trump’s campaign actually met with a Russian contact to get information that could have damaged Clinton and the Democrats. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • It’s also notable because Trump Jr.’s story keeps changing, and is contradicting many previous denials from the Trump administration about contact with the Russians. The New York Times story made it clear they did. [Washington Post / Aaron Blake]
  • Russia news is bad for President Trump and his popularity. A new poll found that the majority of Americans now believe the president did something either illegal or unethical related to Russia, with another 36 percent saying they think he did nothing wrong. [NPR / Jessica Taylor]
  • That poll is also showing a starkly partisan divide on the Russia issue, with 72 percent of Republican voters saying they think Trump did nothing wrong. A much smaller sample size interviewed in Northern Michigan by Vox’s Lindsay Maizland said the same thing, adding they think the media is making too much out of the story. [Vox / Lindsay Maizland]

 

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