Chip off the old block: Donald Trump Jr. tells lies nearly as well as his dad

Given all the lies Donald Jr. has told so far, why should we believe him about what happened in that meeting?

Published July 15, 2017 7:00AM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Donald Trump Jr. (AP/Susan Walsh/Matt York/Salon)
Donald Trump; Donald Trump Jr. (AP/Susan Walsh/Matt York/Salon)

President Donald Trump has exceeded all expectations with his astonishing volume of lies.

Now we know that his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is a chip off the old block.

Trump Jr.’s true character was recently revealed in the Russia scandal as he subjected the nation to an appalling barrage of outright lies.

It began earlier this year in March when Junior claimed that he never participated in any scheduled meetings whatsoever with any Russians regarding his father’s presidential campaign. But then the New York Times reported that, in fact, on June 9, 2016, Trump Jr. hosted a meeting in his very own offices in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Caught red-handed.

Ohh, that meeting. Trump Jr. responded by dismissing the meeting as trivial because it was about the adoption of Russian children, which he said was “not a campaign issue.” He tried to downplay the meeting in various other ways, such as by stating that it was “short,” “introductory,” and had “no follow-up,” and that he was just “asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance.”

But the Times further reported that, in fact, the entire premise of the meeting was for Junior to receive damaging information from Veselnitskaya about the campaign of Hillary Clinton to benefit the Trump campaign.

Caught red-handed again.

So Donald Jr. took another swing at it. He admitted that the purpose of the meeting was to receive damaging information, but tried once more to downplay the meeting as unimportant, saying that he did not even know the person’s name before the meeting. But the reporting by the New York Times indicated that regardless of whether he knew Veselnitskaya’s name, Trump Jr. knew full well that she was a Russian lawyer believed to be connected to the Kremlin.

Caught red-handed yet again.

The Times then informed Trump Jr. that it was about to publish a story that revealed the contents of a certain chain of emails that contradicted much of what he had stated.

Uh oh.

In a petty ploy to deprive the Times of being first to publish the story, Trump Jr. preemptively published the damning emails himself, shortly before the end of the period voluntarily afforded to him by the Times to comment. In a stunning act of brazen duplicity, Trump Jr. proclaimed to the public that his reason for releasing the emails was “in order to be totally transparent.”

Ha! It’s hardly “transparent” after he had already been caught lying and was about to be exposed anyway.

Does this at least bring us to the end of Junior’s lies?

Unfortunately, no.

In an attempt to spin the devastating revelation in his favor, Trump Jr. then appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News program, whose firebrand host miraculously transformed himself into a snowflake for the interview. And Junior obfuscated yet again.

During that Fox interview, Trump Jr. blatantly mischaracterized a phrase from the email chain. In one of his reply emails about receiving the damaging information on Hillary Clinton, he had written, “I love it,” and then followed that with, “especially later in the summer.”

Any reasonable observer would conclude that Trump Jr. was suggesting that the best time to release the damaging information would be “later in the summer,” at a time closer to the election, in order to maximize the sabotage.

But in the interview with Hannity, Trump Jr. tried to turn the obvious meaning of this phrase on its head by claiming that “especially later in the summer” meant that the information was not of immediate importance to him.

Yeah, right. That flies in the face of the plain language in the email. Never mind the fact that these same emails show Trump Jr. scurrying to set up the meeting quickly, suggesting that he deemed it highly important.

Trump’s own assessment of his eldest son’s performance on Hannity was merely “good.” Conspicuously absent were any of the typical Trump superlatives, like “beautiful,” “fantastic” or “huge.” Poor little Junior, damned by faint praise.

Let’s not overlook one other doozy of a performance by Donald Trump Jr. On July 24, 2016, in the heat of the campaign, Junior was asked in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper about suggestions by Democrats that Russia seemed to be inserting itself into the election in favor of Trump. “I can’t think of bigger lies,” he proclaimed with righteous indignation. “It’s disgusting. ... They will lie and do anything to win.”

Of course, this was only a few short weeks after Trump Jr. had received the email clearly indicating that Russia was in fact seeking to insert itself in the election in favor of Trump. Now this is a level of hypocrisy that must have made his father proud.

Overall, the degree of Trump Jr.’s lying is simply astonishing. One lie after another, without even a trace of shame for being caught red-handed in the previous lie.

And these are just the pants-on-fire, obvious lies. For a person who lies like this, not a single word that escapes from his Trump-hole can ever be trusted.

This leads to the obvious question: What else is he lying about?

Trump Jr. claims that his father knew absolutely nothing about this meeting until now.

Come on. Does he think we were all born yesterday?

Trump Jr. claims that he had no reason to inform his dad of the meeting because it turned out to be nothing but a dud. Veselnitskaya apparently failed to produce any damaging information against Clinton. So he didn’t tell Trump about the meeting because there was nothing to tell.

Nice try, slick.

Even if the meeting itself turned out to be a dud, it is obvious that Junior would have certainly informed Trump about the meeting. He would have informed Trump before the meeting ever took place. He would have informed Trump immediately upon receiving that first email. After all, that email was nothing less than a bombshell.

That first email from publicist Rob Goldstone, sent on June 3, 2016, stated that the damaging information about Clinton originated from none other than “the Crown prosecutor of Russia.” Good heavens! That would suggest that it came from the very top of the Kremlin, from someone close to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. And it was being communicated to the Trump camp clandestinely through a Russian billionaire who was a previous business partner of Trump’s and who was also connected to Putin, so it was highly credible.

The email further stated that this is “very high level and sensitive information.”

If that weren’t enough, the Goldstone email expressly stated that conveying the damaging information was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” in his presidential campaign.

Whoa! This email announced that the Russian government was secretly mobilizing to support Trump!

Yet, according to Donald Trump Jr., we are to believe that he sat on this sensational development without ever telling his father.

It’s utterly preposterous. We all know what most likely happened. Upon receiving that email, after popping his eyeballs back into his head, Trump Jr. shot out of his chair and rushed into Donald Trump’s office, beaming with delight, to tell him all about it.

President Trump also claims that he knew nothing about any of this until now. Like father, like son. It’s laughable that either of them thinks anyone would fall for that.

What’s more, on June 7, 2016, only hours after Trump Jr. had scheduled the meeting with the Russian lawyer to occur two days later, Trump spoke at a campaign event where he teased the audience by telling them that in a few days (i.e., presumably after the meeting) he would give a “major speech” detailing “corrupt dealings” by Hillary Clinton.

What was Trump referring to? Perhaps Trump expected to receive the damaging information at the June 9 meeting, and hoped to include it in a speech a few days after that.

Now there is an explanation that actually makes sense.

What about Trump Jr.’s claim that the meeting with Veselnitskaya was a dud and produced nothing? Can we trust him about that?

Of course not! We cannot trust Donald Trump Jr. about anything. He is probably lying about that, too.

In fact, if the meeting had not been a dud, what would Trump Jr. say about it now? Naturally, he would lie and say there was nothing to it, even if that wasn't true.

So what actually occurred in that June 9 meeting? Well, we can only suppose. Perhaps this was the meeting where Trump first learned that the Russians had hacked into the Democratic National Committee and obtained their emails. After all, the DNC hack had already occurred long before that.

Perhaps in the meeting Veselnitskaya proposed a grand bargain, in which the Russians would be willing to publicly disclose this trove of hacked DNC emails if Trump would be willing to adopt more favorable policies toward Russia.

Trump, of course, would have jumped at that deal. Lo and behold, only a few days after the meeting, emails hacked by the Russians began to leak out. And sure enough, Trump subsequently espoused astonishing positions favorable to Russia, such as repeatedly praising Putin, suggesting that sanctions should be lifted against Russia and expressing disapproval for NATO.

Perhaps in the meeting Veselnitskaya provided Trump with a covert method for communicating with Russia going forward. That way, the meeting itself could have remained brief, with no apparent follow-up.

Despite this mountain of suggestive evidence, both Donald Trump and his eldest son have repeatedly insisted that there is nothing to the Russia story.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

By Cody Cain

Cody Cain is the author of the new book, "Mend or Spend: How to Force Rich People to Solve Economic Inequality," available here. Follow Cody on Twitter @codycainland.