CBS's John Dickerson: OK fine, meeting with Russian lawyer wasn't collusion, but maybe Trump Jr. was 'collusion curious'

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday July 11th, 2017


Think about it like this: You've invested lots of your time, energy and credibility into something. A notion. An idea. A concept. You really thought it was going to be something. Or at least you really wanted to believe that, enough so that you convinced yourself it just had to be.

Time goes by. The concept is not materializing into what you had envisioned. You're starting to feel bewildered because you were so sure you had something there. But you're so invested, you just can't let go of it. So even though every rational view of the available evidence suggests you should cut your losses and move on, you're not seeing this rationally. And anything that offers even the slightest bit of hope, no matter how much of a stretch, is enough for you to believe that maybe, just maybe . . .

Got that? Just like every other pointless chapter in this non-story, Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya doesn't even come close to the "collusion" the media so desperately wants to believe took place. In Trump Jr.'s telling, Veselniskaya hinted that she had dirt on Hillary only to pull a switcheroo and turn the meeting into a discussion about adoption policy - which didn't get far.

Or, as Veselniskaya tells it, the meeting was always going to be about adoption policy in particular and sanctions in general, and everyone knew that going in. She allows that maybe Trump Jr. and others associated with the campaign inferred there would be Hillary dirt on offer, but at any rate, there was none - nor was there much of a conversation at all as it turned out.

The media thinks they've got something, though, because of two points:

First, there is apparently an e-mail Donald Trump Jr. received prior to the meeting that informed him this was part of an effort by Russian government to help his father's campaign.

Second, there is the fact that he did not "disclose" the meeting.

Let's take them one at a time: If I get asked to attend a meeting by a Russian woman who says (or who I think said) she has dirt on Hillary, and then I get an e-mail saying this is being coordinated by the Russian government, I probably do exactly what Don Jr. did here. I bring a couple people with me to the meeting to try to get a sense of what's going on. Just because you go and talk to the woman doesn't mean you actually engaged in any collusion. It means you wanted to get to the bottom of it, and of course, if she did have legitimate dirt on Hillary, you wanted to know what it was. Then you'd go to the next step of vetting where it came from and whether it was actually something you would want to use.

Also, how could there have been extensive collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government if the first Donald Trump Jr. heard about it was in this e-mail? And how far could it have gone if they took this meeting, quickly determined it was a waste of their time, and cut it short?

GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent

Yet from this, John Dickerson somehow gets that Don Jr. was "collusion curious" for going to the meeting at all. Of course he was curious, but that doesn't mean he was intrigued by the idea of colluding with the Russians. It just means he wanted to know what the heck this was all about. If you believed an enemy government was trying to help your campaign win, you'd want to know what that was all about. That's not the same thing as being happy about it or wanting to participate in it.

Now, as to the question of disclosing the meeting, I honestly don't know what legal obligation you are under as a campaign surrogate to "disclose" every meeting you have, or to whom you're supposed to disclose it. If Donald Trump Jr. received a congressional subpoena ordering him to disclose all contacts with Russians and he declined to disclose this, then that's a problem. I don't know if any such subpoena exists. But failure to disclose, while it's a problem in its own right, is not an indication that there was anything untoward in attending the meeting.

So here's where we stand: Just like everything else we know, this doesn't show collusion. But hey! It kinda sorta maybe shows that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to collude!

No it doesn't. The only thing this shows is how desperate the media are to cling to their flimsy collusion narrative, against all evidence and all common sense. They're obsessed, and nothing can cure them of their obsession because they don't want to be cured.

By the way, Don Jr. has put the entire e-mail chain on Twitter, so if you think there's evidence of collusion here, you're seeing things I'm not:

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!