The Washington Post
By Philip Bump
Image courtesy of The Daily Buzz
In a conversation with reporters on the flight to Paris on Wednesday, President Trump discussed the question of the week: His son Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who Trump Jr. believed could provide him with negative information about Hillary Clinton.
“Don is — as many of you know Don — he’s a good boy,” Trump began. “He’s a good kid. And he had a meeting, nothing happened with the meeting. It was a short meeting, as he told me — because I only heard about it two or three days ago.”
Trump’s defense appears to have rested on how useless that meeting was, much as his son’s defense did.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this portrayal of events is accurate. It’s what Trump Jr. said happened, and it’s what the Russian lawyer with whom he met, Natalia Veselnitskaya, said happened, too. Unless one of the other attendees says something different — a group of people that extends to the president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort (the one “playing with his iPhone”) and music promoter Rob Goldstone — that’s the story that we have to go with.
And, for now, it doesn’t matter. Once Trump Jr. (and Manafort and Kushner) walked through the door of the office or conference room where the meeting was happened, the damage was already done.