Mark Reinstein via ZUMA

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There’s something about the whole Trump Tower meeting that might be obvious to everyone by now, but I’m not sure it is. It might not even be especially important. For what it’s worth, though, here’s what I think happened:

  • On June 7 Donald Trump said he would shortly give a big speech (“probably Monday of next week”) about all the dirt he had on Hillary Clinton. Trump was almost certainly anticipating that the upcoming meeting at Trump Tower would provide him with bombshell information.
  • On June 9 the Trump Team met with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower.
  • We now know what Veselnitskaya was pimping. A few days ago Vladimir Putin himself told us that “business associates” of Bill Browder “sent huge amount of money, $400 million as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s the personal case. It might have been legal, the contribution itself, but the way the money was earned was illegal.”
  • That’s it. That was the dirt. This is so thin and so easily disproven that even Trump apparently couldn’t figure out a way to use it. That’s why he never gave his speech.
  • A year later, when the New York Times learned about the Trump Tower meeting, Trump conferred with Putin and then explained that they talked “about adoption.” This now makes sense: (a) the $400 million supposedly came from friends of Bill Browder, (b) Browder is the force behind the Magnitsky Act, which Putin loathes, and (c) after the act was passed, Putin retaliated by banning American adoption of Russian babies. So talking “about adoption” is just a hop and a skip away from talking about that $400 million that Hillary hoovered up in Browder cash.

Long story short, the Russian dirt was a nothingburger, which is why we never heard about it. Trump sure wanted it, but there was just nothing there.

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IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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