Donald Trump Jr.’s emails dropped like a bomb late Tuesday morning. And not a smart bomb.
The correspondence released by Don Jr. — via Twitter, naturally — in advance of a New York Times piece on their contents say a lot more than the sum of their words.
They display, quite clearly, that during the 2016 campaign, the son of the man who would be president eagerly arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer in order to obtain state secrets — Russian state secrets — that would give his father an edge in the US election.
The Trumps are unapologetic, causing heads to explode in what’s left of the reality-based community, which in turn elicits cheers from Trump’s fandom, because those cranial paroxysms are what they put him in office to do.
Among his dwindled hardcore, the Russian meeting might even be construed as patriotic, seeing as it was orchestrated to help defeat Hillary Clinton, whose name keeps coming up even though she holds no elected office.
But it’s a problem. An American representative of an American candidate for American office sought outside influence to apparently manipulate the political will of the American people. Does anything else matter?
More challenging to the argumentative prowess of those Trump supporters who dare to click on the New York Times link is that this meeting — or any of its kind — was unequivocally denied by the president, his son in law and everyone in his inner circle, mostly via Twitter but also on official disclosure forms designed to track meetings with foreign entities. Willfully concealing the meeting suggests perjury, criminal intent and possibly treason.
Surely the majority of his people will pass on reading the stories or applying any sort of historical context to them, instead executing the sort of knee-jerk defense with which Trump critics have become all too familiar, both online and, sometimes regrettably, in person.
And though Trump’s support has reached an all-time low, just about every Republican member of the House and Senate are among his supporters, at least when it counts.
We’re seeing it now: mealy-mouthed scoldings of the president and his son from the standard-bearers of the GOP in Washington and shaky assurances that the entire matter is already under investigation.
Meanwhile, an alternative narrative is already being constructed, one that paints Trump Jr. as a victim and not simply a moron. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. All that matters here is that there are still so many people willing to believe it.