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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 7:24 pm | Fair 51º


Susan Estrich: It’s Time to Be Outraged

If his love letters with the Russians weren't bad enough, Donald Trump Jr.'s sarcastic non-apology makes clear just how much he deserves what he is about to get. 

Trump Jr. tweeted: "Obviously I'm the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent..."

No, Junior, you're not the first person to take such a meeting.

But you're the first and only one that I know of to take such a meeting with representatives of an adversarial foreign government seeking to influence the results of our presidential election.

That would only be you, Donald Trump Jr. — the very first to be consorting with the enemy in an effort to undermine the democratic process.

And there is a word for people who do what you did.

The word is traitor.

He is one. No one should take this lightly. No one should dismiss it as just more "Russia" stuff. It is not time to move along. 

While his father was out there leading the crowd in cheers of "Lock her up" because Hillary Clinton received emails from a former White House aide on her home server, his son was exchanging conspiratorial come-on's with the Russians. 

"I love it," Trump Jr. said — "it" being the Russian government's offer to help his father steal the election by passing them dirt on Hillary Clinton. 

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," the intermediary wrote on behalf of the high-ranking Russian government official who wanted to set up the meeting.

They made no bones about it. And little Trump Jr. came running.

Of course, he didn't come alone. This is not a crowd with only one nut case. He brought his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Not just a happenstance, off-the-cuff get-together: a big meeting, one that Donald Trump Jr. reportedly ran — the big man.

Trump Jr. says that he "had to listen." 

No, you didn't, Junior. When the Russians come calling, you don't have to listen; as a matter of fact, you don't have to listen or talk. No wonder Jared Kushner wanted that private line.

Trump Jr. told his brother-in-law, and he told the campaign chair. So why in the world should we believe he didn't tell his dad?

I can just imagine it: "Good news, Dad, it looks like the Russians are coming through. Republican leaders had their doubts, but not Mr. Putin. He knew whom he could count on."

This is what happens next: Trump Jr. gets investigated, along with his brother-in-law, the campaign chairman and every friend and neighbor they've ever had.

Some of the best prosecutors in America have nothing better to do with their time. They will turn on that spotlight so hot it burns his backside.

It is not fun to have a team of special prosecutors on your case for an indefinite period of time to determine what your father knew and when he knew it, and just how stupid and venal you and your relatives and friends are (as if we didn't already know).

This much we know already. Trump Jr. has some very powerful enemies: That email chain is bad, and someone who had access to it gave it to The New York Times.

Ouch, Junior. Who knows what other evil deeds such a person — or persons — could unleash.  

Junior can drown in sarcasm, but anyone who's been around the block in politics knows that loyalty is a rare commodity, and one that is in short supply in Trump-land.

A White House that leaks like a sieve to the press is a prosecutor's garden. Imagine facing a ship full of rats with the power of a subpoena and the threat of imprisonment.

We already know the name of the man who will hold the Trump family accountable. The only question is when.

There are many of us who wish that Donald Trump had never won that election.

Presumably the Trump family is not among them. Yet.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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