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Hey Donald Trump Jr: It’s the Russians stupid!

Yet another huge blockbuster story last night from the New York Times. We knew that Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with a Russian attorney last summer in the hopes of receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton. What we did not know is that Trump Jr. was notified in advance of the meeting that the damaging information about Hillary was coming from the Russian government, and that the meeting was with a “Russian government attorney.” Yet Trump still went ahead with the meeting.

And we know the NYT story is true because Donald Trump Jr. released the email chain this morning, showing that he was notified in advance that the damaging information was coming from the Russian government.

The NYT reports in a follow-on story that Don Jr. responded in minutes:  “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Here are the emails Donald Trump Jr. released on Twitter this morning. The emails confirm that Trump Jr. was notified in advance that the meeting was about the Russian government helping Trump win the election by giving his son incriminating information about Hillary:

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“The crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to prove the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

This is the email that Trump Jr. reportedly responded: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Here are some of the emails released by Donald Trump Jr. himself:

And here’s the portion of the email Trump Jr. shared in which he’s notified that the meeting is with a “Russian government lawyer”:

Why this matters:

1. The Trump campaign repeatedly denied having any meetings with Russians during the campaign. Now we know that there were lots of meetings, including Donald Trump’s own son, along with son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort. Why did this try to hide these meetings?

2. Maybe now we know why they’d lied about these meetings. Trump’s own son appears to be confirming that the Trump campaign, in its battle to win the election and beat Hillary Clinton, was willing to knowingly take help from the Russian government. It’s just unthinkable.

3. This also means that Donald Trump Sr’s repeated denials of the fact that Russia wanted him to win, and that Russia was trying to help him win, were lies. Trump’s own son was notified a year ago that Russia wanted Trump to win, and was willing to help. It’s difficult to believe that Junior never mentioned any of this to dear old dad.

4. No one who attended this meeting — Don Jr., Kushner, or Manafort — contacted the FBI about this?

5. Mike Pence is either a liar or woefully out of touch. Here’s a video of Pence from this past January doing his best Father Knows Best “aw shucks” denial of any meetings with Russians:

I think Don Jr. is in serious trouble. And were this a normal administration, and a normal political atmosphere, and a normal Congress, Donald Trump Sr.’s presidency would be in serious jeopardy. But these are not normal times. In the end, Donald Trump will be forded to pardon his son, unless New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman can find any state laws that were broken, as presidential pardons only cover federal law.

And finally, who is leaking all of this? Who would have Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain, and who would want to leak it in order to hurt him? It sure looks like someone close to the Trump family and campaign who has a grudge about Don Jr.

I know I shouldn’t be surprised by anything Team Trump does at this point, but I’m simply blown away.

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