Donald Trump Jr. freely acknowledged that he met with a Russian lawyer last year in hopes of getting some dirt on Hillary Clinton, but since he didn’t even get any news about how her Parkinsons led her to leak an email ordering the troops in Benghazi to stand down, he figures it’s no big deal. Reaction on the right was a bit predictable, for the most part. For instance, here’s Paul Joseph Watson from Alex Jones’s InfoWars:
Oh, but that’s just some crazy “alt-right” conspiracy loon on the interwebs! What about an actual Republican senator from Utah? Bet he won’t call it a nothingburger!
He has a point, you know. There was no Trump administration at all last June. Don’t you people even have a calendar? Donald Trump was not even inaugurated (with the largest crowd in history) until January 20 of this year, you know.
Mind you, not all Republicans were as indifferent to the news as Senator Orrin Hatch; Trey Gowdy, not exactly a lefty, went on the Fox News and said the whole thing was crazy-making:
Someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say, “From the time you saw Dr. Zhivago until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single one of those [contacts with Russia], and we’re gonna turn them over to the special counsel, because this drip-drip-drip is undermining credibility of the administration.
We didn’t think Gowdy had the cultural references in him! We didn’t think he had ANY cultural references in him! Wonkette is always glad to admit an error.
Politico helpfully noted that “the time you saw Dr. Zhivago” was Gowdy “referring to the 1965 movie,” though they didn’t include a link to IMDB. We therefore feel compelled to add the exasperated comment on Russian stereotypes by Sergei, the Ukrainian (not Russian) enforcer from season 2 of The Wire:
Some of the early coverage of Don Jr.’s email was missing a bit of context, as Media Matters pointed out. On Tuesday afternoon’s “Outnumbered,” Fox News tossed up a quote from the emails that made some very creative use of ellipses!
What did they leave out? Maybe something kind of important, like the bit where the emails mention Russia, its government, and that government’s desire to help Donald Trump, which is kind of the point of the story:
Catherine Herridge, Fox’s “chief intelligence correspondent,” didn’t mention that key detail in her report, either, and afterwards, host Sandra Smith said Baby Don was a pretty swell fellow for being so transparent and releasing those emails. Then Meghan McCain had to go and spoil the illusion by reading out the Russia stuff that Herridge had elided and saying that was “the biggest concern in these emails” and “I think that’s going to get them in the most trouble.” Credit to Meghan McCain for bringing a moment of reality to Fox, hooray.
And then there were the moments of surreality, like Conservative Intellectual and Convicted Felon Dinesh D’Souza’sthoughtful take on the emails:
You can actually hear him wisely stroking his chin, there. In fact, said D’Souza, maybe the New York Times wants to investigate Dinesh D’Souza, huh? Do they, HUH?
Conservative intellectual, folks. You know who else met with Russians? Franklin Delano Roosevelt!
Why isn’t the New York Times calling for an investigation of Franklin Roosevelt, huh? (There you go, Mr. D’Souza, feel free to use that gotcha if you need to — be sure to credit us.)
Roger Stone texted Axios with some suggestions of what Team Trump might consider doing in terms of damage control:
The president can turn the tables and dominate the dialogue by ordering the indictment of [James] Clapper, [John] Brennan, [Susan] Rice and [former president Barack] Obama for the wholesale unconstitutional surveillance of Americans… I would seriously arrest [and] perp walk every one of these criminals, making as big a show of it as possible.
You have to admit, if Trump were to arrest Barack Obama, that would definitely change the focus of the news cycle. We’re not entirely convinced it would really be a win for Trump, however happy it might make his most rabid followers. On the other hand, look! We’re talking about Roger Stone! Mission accomplished, Roger.
[wopnkbar][/wonkbar]Tuesday evening, Don Jr. went on Sean Hannity’s Scold-O-Rama, where Hannity told all the liberals and Destroy Trump Media people watching that they need to look at the REALLY scandalous examples of collusion by Democrats, like how Hillary Clinton invaded Ukraine, and the Deep State is colluding to destroy Donald Trump. Then Don Jr. explained that, “In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently,” which is arguably the first time any member of the Trump family has ever been known to reconsider their own actions.
He didn’t even think to notify the FBI that he’d had contact with someone he was told came from the Russian government, because things during the campaign were going “a million miles an hour” and also he really didn’t wanna, because maybe he was going to get some dirt on Hillary Clinton. The line about the Russian government wanting to help his daddy didn’t especially bother him, because really, he’s just that stupid, and doesn’t know nothin’ about conspirin’ with no Russians, and Hannity didn’t push him any further on it, because the real news is the media’s horrifying double standards.
Papa Don was very pleased with Baby Don’s performance, and also, remember, anonymous sources — like the ones saying Don Jr. had been told the Russian lawyer lady represented the Russian government? — are usually completely made up:
So let’s just call this one done, shall we? Obviously, Don Jr. has answered all the questions Sean Hannity could think of, and it’s time to get on with the serious business of America, like pointing out how ugly Mika Brzezinski’s bleeding facelift is.
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