“In retrospect I probably would have done things a little differently,” Donald Trump Jr. – the son of President Donald Trump – told Fox News hours after he made public several e-mails he exchanged before meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016.
Rob Goldstone, a British music publicist who set up the meeting, wrote that Russian officials were offering “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton)” as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr’s reply read, in part, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
Of course, speculations and political pressure around President Trump’s so-called dealings with “the Russians” re-emerged stronger than ever as a result, plunging the White House into some real embarrassment. According to several US intelligence experts, it’s true such a correspondence between Russian individuals and Trump Jr. was clearly inappropriate given the state of the bilateral relations and the presidential election that was going on.
However it couldn’t be deemed part of a credible intelligence effort to influence the US electoral process because of the simple fact that e-mails were exchanged “in the open” in non-encrypted ways, from/to public individuals and with clear mention of so-called “Russian government support.”
If it were a real intelligence operation, it would have been dealt with utmost discretion, using trained assets from inside the Trump team and not Trump’s family directly. Also, no mention of Russia would have ever been made in any document whatsoever.
The fact that President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton was something known by everyone and the fact that one individual says the Russian government does this or that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Russian intelligence efforts to serve Russia’s interests abroad are well known and this isn’t the sole country acting that way; in fact one should assume that every country with worldwide interests does the same.
From a US viewpoint, one shouldn’t underestimate the scope and depth of the Russian intelligence activities and this is true about all other major countries. The New York Post summarized that whole situation in simple words: “Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.” ; meaning one should be realistic and stick to the facts.
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