Wednesday, December 6, 2017

More Veselnitskaya

Maat, goddess of truth, via Stillness in the Storm.

Is this story from NBC News on the true side?
Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation, the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained exclusively by NBC News.
The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn't have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump misunderstood the nature of the meeting after receiving emails from a music promoter promising incriminating information on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump's Democratic opponent.
It's not exactly what she herself told NBC in July 2017. In fact it's totally different—in that story Junior wasn't interested in the Clinton Foundation but the Democratic National Committee:

She also said that in the meeting, Trump Jr. asked her just one question.
“The question that I was asked was as follows: whether I had any financial records which might prove that the funds used to sponsor the D.N.C. were coming from inappropriate sources."
That's a pretty odd discrepancy, and of course it's clear that one or the other of those statements is a lie.

The Clinton Foundation theme goes along nicely with the figure of Junior,  who's the family representative of the Alex Jones wing of Trumpian thought, and also with the situation of the Russian anti-Clinton effort as it was back in the summer of 2016, when alleged corruption in the Clinton Foundation when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state (I discussed it at some length at the time) was more or less the biggest item, from the Daily Caller to the International Business Daily and Bernorbusters to Breitbarters. So it seems pretty likely on its face that the information Junior was hoping for was stuff about the Clinton Foundation. Nobody was publicly suggesting anything funky about DNC contributors, then or later.

On the other hand, as I keep explaining, there was confidential information about DNC contributors in the email documents Fancy Bear had just stolen from the committee that May, and if my hypothesis is right, when Veselnitskaya arrived at Trump Tower for the meeting of June 9 2016, she was carrying a sampling of them in the plastic folder she left behind her, according to Rinat Akhmetshin (along with the five-page memo on Hermitage Capital and Sergey Magnitsky that she herself was most interested in talking about and that baffled and annoyed Junior to the point of making him attempt to run away).

My thought for this new story is that Junior likely did ask about the Clinton Foundation, and that the question about the DNC was in fact Veselnitskaya's answer: no, nothing about the Clinton Foundation, but we do have these emails. Or maybe the lie was that Junior "asked just one question"—perhaps he asked two. But what we do know is that while the DNC emails wouldn't provide any useful information to the Trump campaign on funky contributors, once they were examined, because there wasn't any, they did provide something: all the letters that could be used through the WikiLeaks dump to bolster the Sandernista theory that the DNC had rigged the Democratic primary in Clinton's favor.

The semiotics of lying holds, once again, that the structure of a lie is a function of its need to hide a corresponding truth: Veselnitskaya wasn't hiding the fact that Junior mentioned the Clinton Foundation, she was hiding the fact that she brought up the DNC emails, not Junior (how would he have known anything about them, on June 9, if not through her or her colleagues?), and that that was the purpose of the meeting. In the newly released material from her Senate appearance, she seems to find that mentioning the Foundation does that job better (I imagine there's an FSB transcript of the meeting, from a recording made by Kaveladze or Akhmetshin, and she used it to prepare for the questioning). I'm counting the whole thing as evidence, at any rate, in favor of my hypothesis.

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