How to be Played: the Only Reason I Give a Sh*t About Donald Trump Jr. - By Greer Clem

Oh, Don Jr. You were almost in the clear. You could have flown under the radar of the raving buffoonary that is your father's presidency. But alas, stupidity seems to run in the family. I didn't want to devote too much time to this topic, but there seems to be a key argument not yet made that merits discussion. 

Obviously, the news that Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting with a Russian lawyer who had promised potentially compromising information regarding the Clinton campaign (and brought Kushner along) is bad. I will not devote a better synonym to this description - it's just bad. But let's examine his statement a little further: "(Trump) said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers...'It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting,' Mr. Trump said." 

If Trump's assessment of the meeting's true agenda is accurate, what does that say about the Trump family? It says you cannot get their attention by appealing to their humanity or their intellect. You cannot say "I want to discuss a law that I found offensive to my people." You have to dangle some smear potential in front of them to get their attention. They have no interest in issues that don't offer a potential reward to themselves. What's the implication of this? We'll get there, but first let's talk about the context of this meeting.

The Magnitsky Act was a bill passed by Congress in 2012 under the Obama administration. It was a response to the death of Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian prison under horrendous conditions. Basically, the law sought to punish those responsible for his death by barring their entrance into the United States and naming them publicly. Putin was so incensed by the bill that the State Duma, part of the Federal Assembly of Russia, voted 400-4 to no longer allow Russian children to be adopted in the United States. Very Putin-esque response. 

So let's bring that back around to Donald Trump Jr. - why on earth would Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, seek out Donald Trump's son in her tirade against the Magnitsky Act? The only plausible answer is that she had reason to believe Trump would win the election and would therefore be willing to discuss removing this law. Why did she believe Trump would win? Because Russia was hacking the election. Plain and simple. Why did she think Trump would be willing to help her cause? Because Trump wants a mutually beneficial relationship, regardless of the implications for American politics or national security. Oh, and Veselnitskaya's company was under investigation by the FBI at the time of the meeting. No red flags there. 

But here's what hasn't been discussed and what really frightens me-  it's not merely the fact that Donald Trump Jr. was stupid enough to take this meeting. It's not how blatant the collusion is at this point. It's not even Trump's response to the accusations. What bothers me is that Russia played the entire family like a fiddle and they sit in the highest position of power in the world completely blind to it. Did anyone in the Trump family know what the Magnitsky Act was prior to this meeting? No, because they have zero experience with international diplomacy or global affairs. Did Russia care? Absolutely not. In fact, it just made their job easier. They knew all they had to do was promise a hint of slander, a mere sprig of corruption that could potentially inculpate Hillary, and they would pounce eagerly. 

Trump has sadly raised his children in his image. Donald Trump Jr. did not ask questions prior to the meeting; once he found out there was no dirt on Hillary, it served no purpose to him. That should scare us all. This family does not care about having a discussion or a debate, about uncovering the truth of what happened to a Russian lawyer who spoke out against the Kremlin. They were promised dirt and, like a shark sensing blood in the water, their eyes rolled back white at the promise of vindication. Russia will continue to play them and they will continue to not see it, and that is what we must combat. Only truth, knowledge, and conversation will win out over deception. This is our battle with Russia, and it is clear the Trump family are not even aware what game is really being played.

Greer Clem