Congressman defends Don Jr over Russian bait-and-switch; to ignore would be ‘dereliction of duty’

Natalia Veselnitskaya russian lawyer met with donald trump jr.
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya pulled a bait-and-switch on Donald Trump Jr. (Image: screengrab)

Donald Trump Jr. did the right thing when he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the 2016 presidential election. More importantly, he did nothing illegal.

That’s what California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said about Don Jr.’s 20-minute meeting with Veselnitskay last June.

E-mail chains showed that Natalia’s friend (an acquaintance of Don Jr.) had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton to secure the meeting. But when they met, she instead lobbied Don Jr. to change an obscure anti-Russia law called the Magnitsky Act.

It was a classic bait and switch, which publicists do all the time when they pitch the media and celebrities. Congressman Rohrabacher said Don Jr. and the Trump campaign would have been remiss to refuse the meeting.

“It would be a dereliction of duty not to give it an honest look,” Rohrabacher told the Hill. “And for anybody on Trump’s team to turn it down, and wouldn’t even look at information … That would have been the wrong thing to do. It was the right thing for him to see if there was some important information.”

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During political races — even smaller ones that don’t involve the U.S. presidency — campaigns spend countless hours doing opposition research on their rivals. This practice has been going on forever.

Hillary Clinton’s allies reportedly colluded with the Ukrainian government and with China to influence the 2016 election, but the mainstream media blithely ignores that.

Rohrabacher — who has served in Congress since 1989 — said he, too, had received similar overtures to change the Magnitsky Act. He said Donald Trump Jr. merely got ensnared in a longstanding Russian effort to change a law that Obama had passed in 2012 whose goal was to sanction Russia for the alleged torture/death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

Multiple sources told the Hill that similar lobbying overtures have been made to journalists, State Department officials and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

In other words, what the anti-Trump media call “collusion” is merely a broad lobbying effort to change an anti-Russia law. It happened before Don Jr.’s meeting, and continued afterward. U.S. officials also lobby foreign governments all the time.

Even liberals like Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz — who voted for Hillary — said Trump did nothing illegal, and the media hysteria is ridiculous.

“I don’t see any crime at this point in time,” Dershowitz told Fox News. “Even if the worst-case scenario is the Russians get in touch with Trump Jr. and say, ‘We have some dirt on Hillary Clinton, come we’ll give it to you’ and he goes and gets the information.”

Dershowitz noted: “That’s what the New York Times did with the Pentagon Papers, that’s what the Washington Post did, and many other newspapers did.”

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Samantha Chang

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