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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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