Email to Donald Trump Jr.: Dirt on Hillary “is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Mark Reinstein via ZUMA

Once again, Donald Trump Jr.’s adversary has timed a leak perfectly. Yesterday the New York Times published an outline of the email that set up a campaign meeting between Don Jr. and a Russian lawyer. It was just vague enough that Junior’s attorney could claim that it came from “someone he knew” and had no connection to the Russian government. Today, the Times has an actual copy of the email chain:

The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If the future president’s elder son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of an ongoing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.

He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Russian government attorney.”

Donald Trump Jr. agreed, adding that he would likely bring along “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, now one of the president’s closest White House advisers.

This is either one of history’s great media cons or one of history’s great ratfucks. At this point, I’m almost more interested in who’s behind this than I am with the revelations themselves.