The investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to Russia is heating up — and hitting close to home, with new revelations released this week detailing how his son may have offered to change policy in order to get “dirt” on his father’s political rival.
It’s no secret by now that Trump Jr., along with his brother-in-law and Trump administration adviser Jared Kushner, met with a Russian lawyer with strong government connections to the Kremlin named Natalia Veselnitskaya in the summer of 2016. While the Trump campaign (and Trump himself) had previously denied speaking with anyone who had ties to Russian leaders, when this meeting was discovered by American media, Trump played it off as typical opposition research.
But in an interview with Bloomberg published on Monday, Veselnitskaya revealed that the meeting was set up to discuss a quid pro quo arrangement, alleging Trump Jr. had promised her that in exchange for negative information on Hillary Clinton, the Trump administration would change policy to favor Russia’s interests.
According to her, Trump Jr. had said, “Looking ahead, if we come to power, we can return to this issue and think what to do about it,” referring to the 2012 Obama-passed Magnitsky Act, which prohibited certain Russian banking transactions from taking place in the United States. But when Veselnitskaya couldn’t produce documents linking Clinton to illegal campaign donations by wealthy liberal donors, the meeting fell through, and nothing substantial came of it.
Still, the fact that a deal had been offered by Trump Jr. at all is a serious allegation — and one that Veselnitskaya has said she’s prepared to speak about to special counsel Robert Mueller, and even to Congress.
We shouldn’t be surprised any longer about these revelations coming to light — the American people understand by now that they cannot trust Trump to tell them the truth on any issue, much less the issue of his campaign’s ties to Russia. Yet while we may no longer be surprised by these revelations, we should remain outraged by them.
If Veselnitskaya’s revelations bear true, it means that the Trump campaign was willing to sell out our country in order to win an election. That’s deeply troubling, and it borders on treasonous.