Skepticism about President Donald Trump’s denials that his campaign colluded with clandestine Russian efforts to help him win last year’s presidential election are fueled by a disturbing reality:
Trump operatives misled, lied or failed to disclose at least a half-dozen secret meetings they had with Russians last year until confronted afterward.
In the latest episode, the New York Times revealed on Saturday that Trump’s son and son-in-law, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, along with then-campaign manager Paul Manafort met in June of last year with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with ties to the government.
Another Times article published Monday night said Trump Jr. had been told by email that he would be offered compromising information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to aid Trump’s campaign.
When initially asked about this undisclosed meeting, the young Trump said it was about adoption, claiming that the discussion revolved around Russian lobbying for repeal of an American law that blacklisted Russian human rights offenders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had retaliated against the law’s passage by closing off American adoption of Russian children.
Confronted by the Times the next day with reporting that revealed that the meeting agenda included an accusation that Russians were financing Democratic campaigns, Trump Jr. changed his story.
But he insisted that the meeting was benign and insubstantial. A spokesman for the president’s lawyer suggested that the Trump team may have been set up by the Russians.
The meeting with the Russian lawyer might…
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