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Does the Trump presidency effectively end here?  

With the release of Trump Jr.’s emails, the president’s floundering administration has suffered a political wound that can’t be healed


 
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2016, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for his father Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Gilbert, Ariz. Trump has retained a New York-based lawyer to represent him. Alan Futerfas confirmed in an email to The Associated Press on July 10, 2017, that he's the lawyer for Donald Trump Jr., who has acknowledged meeting during the presidential campaign with a Russian lawyer whom he thought might have negative information on Hillary Clinton.(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

In this Nov. 4, 2016, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. campaigns for his father Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Gilbert, Ariz.(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Journalists, historians and political scientists will write about Donald Trump and the Russians for decades. It is a story that is so rich with details, filled with so many unbelievable characters and implausible plot twists, it will be mined for years and years.

The Trump children, in particular, will play prominent roles in these retellings. Ivanka, for example, is almost Shakespearian in this tale—her air of regal presumption echoes mad King Lear’s daughter Goneril. The archetype for Donald Jr., however, can’t be found in an Elizabethan drama. His combination of blustering arrogance and hapless stupidity is more modern—imagine the bullying villain wearing a pink Lacoste shirt (collar popped) in a John Hughes film who ends up with a bloody nose in the final act. Today, Donald Jr. earned himself his very own chapter in these future books; a chapter entitled “The e-mail”.

For months, the Trump team denied any interaction with the Russians. Then, one by one, they recanted and admitted to a long list of encounters and contacts. Donald Jr.’s turn came this week, when he first denied having met with any Russians, then admitted to meeting one at Trump Tower last June. But, Donald Jr. argued, he only did so as a favour for a friend (even though he chose to bring along the two most important people in the campaign: then-candidate Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, and son-in-law Jared Kushner).

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Then Donald Jr. claimed they only talked about adoption issues. This story changed quickly yet again, and soon he admitted that sanctions were indeed discussed. Shortly after that, he conceded that he had been offered damaging information on Trump’s political rival Hillary Clinton, but there was nothing wrong with that, he blustered.

Finally, in an apparent attempt to get ahead of the story, Donald Jr. released the original email chain that led to the meeting. In it a Moscow friend whose family was well-connected to the Kremlin offered to arrange a meeting with a “Russian government attorney” who had “very high level and sensitive information” that would incriminate Clinton and that was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump”. Donald Jr. immediately responded by saying, “If it’s what you say I love it.” The meeting took place six days later.

This, finally, after months of leaks, theories and speculation, is the proverbial smoking gun. President Trump’s son, his campaign manager and his most trusted advisor met with someone they believed to be a Russian government official who wanted to help their campaign by providing confidential information on his opponent. A shorter description of this is “illegal collusion with a foreign government”. Or, as Jens David Ohlin, the associate dean of Cornell Law School, describes it: “a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy” to commit election fraud.

There are only dark times ahead for the 45th president of the United States. He might be able to distance himself from Manafort, but not his son-in-law, and not his own namesake. The operating assumption now, both for the media and for special counsel Robert Mueller (who is already investigating the president for obstruction of justice related to the Russia scandal), is that Trump at the very least knew about this collusion, and quite likely played an active role.

RELATED: Trump talks to Putin. What could go wrong?

The Mueller investigation, the parallel congressional hearings, and the increasingly effective inquiries of the New York Times and the Washington Post, will only grow louder and larger, crowding out his agenda and overshadowing any of his messages. Twitter rants will not make this go away.

In recent weeks Republican officials had already begun to edge away from the president. He has been unable to get them to approve most of his appointments or to rally around new healthcare legislation to replace the hated Obamacare. His proposed joint cyber-security unit with Moscow was greeted with dismay and derision from his own party. The release of Donald Jr.’s email will make it not only easier for them to distance themselves from one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history, but possibly obligatory. At this point, it seems all but impossible for the president to rescue his approval numbers or implement his agenda.

Last week, Trump led an administration that was under-staffed and chaotic—unable to deliver on any of his more significant campaign promises. The revelations in his son’s email would cripple even the most robust presidency. For Trump, even if this does not lead to impeachment, is likely a fatal political wound putting his White House into palliative care for the remainder of the term. And, if it isn’t, if Trump does manage to shake this off and move forward, that would mark the effective end to the rules and norms that have governed United States politics for the last century.


 

Does the Trump presidency effectively end here?  

  1. Trump needs to get his war started … asap. Venezuela is almost ripe. The Syrian invasion force is still in Jordan. He who hesitates will be impeached.

    • We need another war like we need another hole in our head.
      Are you going to volunteer for that next war that you are suggesting for Trump to start?
      Look at recent wars and tell us what, if anything they made a better world we live in because of these wars in the past 25 years, initiated mainly by US and NATO?
      Like wars in Iraq (1 & 2), Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Sudan?

      • I’m guessing Kevin post was tongue-in-cheek.

  2. Another Non-Story but I’ll let Komarade Gilmore have his Wet Dream……

  3. Sexism is very expensive.

    The US has crashed, and the world has moved on.

    The WWII era is finally over.

    • Still beating that old drum Emily. Clinton didn’t lose because she was female, she lost because she a very poor second choice and still is.

      • You’d still rather have Trump? The man who makes Dubya look like Einstein?

        Clinton had her faults, but come on!!!

        • Rather have an narcissistic than a crook. The wicked witch has lots of baggage and no capability.

  4. Any GOP representative who does not condemn this will have a lot of trouble. Which side of history will they fall on. Mueller is still on the job. Looking into the money trail. Face it you must assess your risks of retribution for breaking with Trump and your future reputation.

  5. There is nothing fatally debilitating in the e-mails, and nothing came of the meeting. So it is a nothing burger. It looks more like it was part of a setup by the Fusion GPS guys.

    The Democrats and the Republicans who paid Fusion GPS to create the fake dossier were the ones who were contacting Russians left and right in the construction of that fake dossier. And they were passing it back and forth amongst themselves and much of the media. Now that IS Russian collusion.

  6. “He called all Mexican Rapists! He’ll never get the nomination.”
    “He admitted on tape to grabbing women’s private parts without permission. He’ll never win the vote!”
    “He wants to keep Muslims out of the USA. He’ll never last.”
    “It’s been 7 months and NOW we have proof he’s a puppet of the Russians! He’ll be impeached by December.”

    The media has a great track record of predicting the future. You’re all treating this as NORMAL. It’s NOT normal. Stop reporting on it as such.

    How about you tell us what’s going on in OUR country first and leave the DT#45 info to a once-a-week round-up of dystopia. This reality show has lost my interest.

  7. Still not obvious to me why Donald Jr. felt the requirement to release the emails given their adverse content. Attempting to “get ahead of the story” does not seem like a reason for so thoroughly incriminating himself and doing damage to his father’s administration.

    • The NY Times apparently had the e-mails last night and were printing them this am. They called to say they were printing them and wanted a comment……. the e-mails were printed on Twitter by Donald Jr. who stated he did so in order to be “transparent.” The Whitehouse denied the POTUS had any knowledge of the meeting and referred questions to Donald Jr.’s lawyer. The POTUS twittered his belief in his son’s innocence.

  8. I read the published emails verbatim. Other tan Donald Jr. saying that if they had incriminating evidence on Clinton, he’d love to see it, the rest is just about arranging a time and place for a meeting. Who wouldn’t want to hear some dirt about their opponent. After you hear it and how it was obtained, one has to decide if it’s credible and whether to use it. So this is not a link to the reported Russian hacking. And what everyone has to remember, if there was no dirt on Clinton, there’d be nothing to release. But she produced lots of dirt. Anyone who is surprised that the Russians favored Trump over Clinton is smoking something. As Secretary of State, Clinton spent over $100 million trying to delegitimasize the Russian election that made Putin president. That’s like poking a bear in the eye with a stick. Putin made it clear after that how much he detested Clinton.
    I guess the worst case if Komrade Gilmore is right and Trump is gone (which I highly doubt) then Pence will become President and the Trump agenda will get executed without all the drama. That would work just fine.

  9. Don’t be ridiculous. This is just one more highly publicized attempt to delegitimize the US election. The Democrats, and many Canadians, should just get over it. Trump won. Hillary lost. And maybe Alberta will get the pipeline. Yay!

    • https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/trump-jr-russia-email/533304/

      The Republicans were always in favour of the pipeline. Obama vetoed it. As long as Republicans have a majority in the congress and senate and hold the office of POTUS, there is no reason to believe the pipeline won’t go ahead. Meanwhile, legal experts weigh in on the significance of the e-mails and meeting, both of which were seemingly undisclosed until the NY Times broke the story.

      • I just watched all of the legal gurus on both CNN and Fox. The score was 2 to 1 that there is nothing illegal that went on. Interesting that the emails said it was about incriminating evidence against Hillary related to her dealings with Russia. I suspect that related to the large transfer of funds to the Clinton Foundation after Hillary sold Russia a majority interest in U.S. uranium production.

        • Actually talking to the Russians and taking them up on an offer to help his father get elected might not be illegal but it certainly puts lie to the claim that no one in the Trump campaign was ever contacted by or spoke to the Russians about the Russian government aiding Donald Trump in getting elected. What I find fascinating is that Don Jr. Actually stated that he “forgot” about the offer he received from the Russian govt. That claim really stretches all credibility given how often his father has tweeted his disdain for the investigation. If you want to make this about Hiliary Clinton then by all means do so but I don’t believe Robert Mueller or the committees investigating are going to cooperate and let the investigation into Trump and Russia go.

          • I’m sure they will never let anything go that has the potential to malign Trump. I’m okay if Trump gets booted or steps down. Then Pence will be President for the next 7 years and implement all of the policies Trump got elected on but without all of the drama.

  10. Trump’s supporters are impervious to facts. My guess is that his administration will end on Inauguration Day, 2021, but not before.

    • And if it ends before, Pence will become President and move ahead with Trump’s policies until 2025. That might be an even better outcome than letting the Democrats get an earlier chance to ruin the U.S. again.

  11. Gimore buried the lede. ” if Trump does manage to shake this off and move forward, that would mark the effective end to the rules and norms that have governed United States politics for the last century.”

    Trump’s winning the Republican nomination and the general election marked an end to the “rules and norms” of US politics.

    Click bait headline on a piece from a faux conservative. How did the ego tour of a new conservative party treat you Scott?

  12. 8 months of 24/7 mainstream media anti Trump propaganda and still no wrongdoing found.

    Not for lack of trying and plenty of wisjful thinking.

    With the audacity to blame Trump for the distraction.

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