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US election deal with Russia comes back to bite Donald Trump after emails leak

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Will new revelations start to unravel US president’s tangled web of lies about lies, asks Simon Basketter
Issue 2563
Donald Trump meeting French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris earlier this month
Donald Trump meeting French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris earlier this month (Pic: IIP Photo Archive/Flickr)

US president Donald Trump’s eldest son accepted help from the Russian government for his father’s election campaign, emails revealed last week.

Trump attempted to shrug off his son’s actions as naivety, praising his openness and transparency. “He is a high-quality person,” was the inevitable tweet.

Trump Jr had a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Accompanying him were the president’s son-in-law and right-hand man Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who was to become the Trump campaign manager.

Trump Jr was told that Veselnitskaya would provide him with information that could “incriminate Hillary”, the Democratic presidential candidate.

The “high level” information that Veselnitskaya was willing to offer was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Trump”, said the email.

The meeting was arranged by Rob Goldstone, a British publicist working on behalf of Russian pop star Emin Agalarov. Agalarov’s father, a developer, worked with the Trumps on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

One of Goldstone’s emails said that the information incriminating Clinton was “ultra sensitive”.

Agreeing to the meeting, Trump Jr wrote to Goldstone, “If it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.”


In response to the scandal Trump insisted that his White House “is functioning perfectly, focused on HealthCare, Tax Cuts/Reform & many other things.”

But he was undermined further this week when his plan to gut health coverage was abandoned after two Republican senators made it impossible to pass.

He was said to have been hunkered down in the White House, glued to cable television news.

The whole thing is a confusing and mysterious mess. The emails may be a “smoking gun” but it is not clear who has actually been shot.

The episode may be a “nothingburger”, as Trump’s backers claim, or a whopper of a scandal. Trump’s ability to lie about even his previous lies means that the scandals do have the potential to destabilise him.

Trump’s lawyers have now hired lawyers in the run up to various investigations into what did or didn’t happen.

Then Trump went to France to hug its president Emmanuel Macron while they both looked at weapons to celebrate Bastille Day.

Trump did suggest that he may perform a U-turn on his pledge to abandon the global climate deal agreed in Paris in 2015. “Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord,” he said, without making clear what he meant.

But when Trump eventually arrives in Britain the protests need to bring not the hundreds there were in Paris but hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets.

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