|International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.|
Boom. There's now some followup email relating to the beloved Trump Tower meeting of June 9 2016, from the famed English music publicist and funny hat fancier Rob Goldstone who arranged the meeting with Donald Jr. on behalf of Emin Agalarov, to Trump's ex-caddy and social media guy Dan Scavino (the one who writes the mostly literate tweets and retweets the impossibly racist ones) and to some Russian friends, obtained by CNN. It's the latter that especially interests me and our own little patch in the public garden, with a reference that means more to us than it does to most investigators:
In one email dated June 14, 2016, Goldstone forwarded a CNN story on Russia's hacking of DNC emails to his client, Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, and Ike Kaveladze, a Russian who attended the meeting along with Trump Jr., Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Manafort, describing the news as "eerily weird" given what they had discussed at Trump Tower five days earlier.
One of the sources familiar with the content of the email downplayed the interaction, saying news of the DNC hack was surprising because in the run-up to the Trump Tower meeting, the Russian participants had promised information on illicit Russian funding of the DNC. But that dirt was not provided to Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort during the meeting, according to accounts from the participants.
The DNC hacking was not brought up at the meeting, another source said, explaining it would not be 'oddly weird' if the topic had been broached.Well, excuse me, there's one thing that's completely new here, the idea that "the Russian participants had promised information on illicit Russian funding of the DNC", because I'm pretty sure I've never heard anything like that before. Have you? The most specific thing I remember is the suggestion in Veselnitskaya's memo, prepared for the meeting, that Bill Browder's Hermitage Capital "may also have donated to the DNC", which would be illegal but British, not Russian, and the allegation that the all-American Ziff brothers were Democratic donors (and "It cannot be ruled out that they also financed Hillary Clinton campaign"). And then the folder of printouts described by Rinat Akhmetshin, which sound so much like certain pages from the DNC emails as we know them from WikiLeaks.
But you know what would have been extremely oddly weird? Given that nobody had publicly heard of the DNC hack on June 9, it would have been at least memorable if the subject had been broached, and folks would remember it when the news story came out a few days afterwards.
It would have been spectacularly oddly weird if the topic had been broached in a scenario like the following: If one of the Russians present at the meeting had said that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked and they had the stuff, and the American said, oh, that's ridiculous, we would have heard if something like that happened, get the fuck out of here, and then five count 'em five days later it turned out on CNN that the DNC had indeed been hacked!
Where did that crazy Russian lady leave her folder last week? somebody might have wanted to know. I don't have a clue, Manafort could have said with a quizzical smile. You know what I mean?