Jo Becker meets Toobin and Turley: What actually happened at that now-famous Trump Tower meeting?
At this point, there's no way to know. Did anything happen at that meeting? At this point, we're slightly flummoxed by one of the people who was in the room.
Donald Trump Jr. was there in the room. So were Manafort and Kushner, rounding out the heavy-hitters three.
That said, the music publicist was also apparently present, listening to every word which was said. On that basis, this doesn't strike us as a case of top-flight international spy-craft.
What is the nature of Donald J. Trump's fealty to the Russkies? We'd like to see a careful probe of that question.
Unfortunately, a major chase is now on, with journalistic procedures perhaps breaking down. Actually, we told you that a chase was on several months back. With the events of the past few days, that chase has turned into a land rush.
In our view, Anderson Cooper has especially gone off the rails. We haven't yet dared to watch Maddow's program from last night, aside from a few glimmers of her instant overstatements.
Then too, there's the New York Times' Jo Becker. You may remember her as the lead author of the paper's 4400-word report about the scary uranium deal.
It may have been the most horrendous news report of the Trump-Clinton campaign. It was filled with journalistic abominations, it banged the drum, loud and strong, against the vile Candidate Clinton.
Becker's "scary uranium deal" report drove a claim about Candidate Clinton which was still getting mentioned on cable last night. Our liberal children gave it a complete pass when it appeared, except for Chris Hayes, who called the report a "bombshell."
Becker's report was an abomination. Now, she seems to be the Times' lead reporter in the Trump Junior chase.
Atop this morning's page one, Becker's report started as shown below. By paragraph 3, we were thinking of her hideous work on the scary uranium deal:
BECKER (7/12/17): The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.We'll be honest. We're among the few people who who aren't "shocked shocked" by the fact that Junior was willing, possibly eager, to hear negative news about Candidate Clinton.
The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
If the future president’s eldest son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material—or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign—he gave no indication.
He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
That said, we thought of Becker's slimy attack on Candidate Clinton when we read that highlighted passage, right there in paragraph 3. Junior "wasn't surprised or disturbed by the notion that [the approach] was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign?"
She stuck that in there right away. Here's our question:
Should Trump Junior have perceived the approach that way at that time?
We have no idea what Junior actually thought or actually knew at the time those emails arrived. But Becker was suggesting that he should have viewed the approach in the context of that "continuing effort" by the Russkies.
Is there any reason to think such a thing? Should that insinuation have been right there in paragraph 3, at the top of the Times' front page?
All in all, your journalists are frequently less than sharp and less than obsessively disciplined. As for Becker, she may have written the slimiest, sleaziest "news report" of the entire Trump-Clinton campaign.
Now, the Times has the "scary uranium" peddler shaping this new thrilling story. That strikes us as a bad deal.
We'd like to see an intelligent investigation of these matters. All over cable last night, we saw and heard excited partisans at work.
We woke to the scary uranium person. Are we the humans really capable of managing our affairs?
Next post: Toobin and Turley