Putting Tonight’s Revelation Into Perspective

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Let me briefly try to place the significance of tonight’s news in a fuller context. We seem to have the first positive evidence that President Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. That’s hardly shocking. But having some proof is quite different from making a logical inference.

Let’s remember these key points.

Two days before the Trump Tower meeting, on June 7th 2016, President Trump made a statement teasing a big speech with new dirt about Hillary Clinton that he said would probably happen on June 13th.

You can video of that statement here.

The speech never happened. It was supposedly delayed because of the Pulse Night Club massacre on June 12th. But it was never rescheduled. There was a different speech. But it seemed clearly not to be the one he promised on June 7th.

This has never constituted proof. But for more than a year (since we first learned about the Trump Tower meeting), it’s looked like a strong indication that Trump knew about the upcoming meeting and was already planning for how he’d use the Clinton dirt against here. (I discuss some of that in more detail in this Prime Editor’s Brief.) It now sounds like we’ll get proof or at least a sworn claim that Trump did know in advance.

At the most basic level, if this is confirmed, it is our first clear evidence that President Trump got the offer to collude, to become part of the conspiracy, and green lighted the effort.

Then there’s what happened in the aftermath of the Times stories breaking the news about the Trump Tower meeting that were published just over a year ago. Mueller’s investigators have focused closely on the fact that President Trump dictated a statement which was released in the name of his son Don Jr. about the meeting. It was a false cover story which quickly fell apart. He claimed it was about adoptions. How did he know about it? Well, it seems that he knew about it in advance. But there’s another thread to the story.

Trump dictated that false statement, with the cover story about adoptions only hours after he had a one on one meeting with Vladimir Putin (with no other US persons involved) which was apparently also about adoptions. As I explain here, if you put all this information together, there’s a pretty strong case to be made that not only did President Trump know about the Trump Tower meeting in advance but that he concocted his false cover story with the assistance of Vladimir Putin. See the details here.

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