On Monday, the details of Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya got even stickier than they already were. According to the New York Times, Trump’s eldest son received an email from Rob Goldstone, a publicist who helped set up the meeting between Don Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort and the Kremlin-connected lawyer Veselnitskaya. That email explicitly told Trump that the material Veselnitskaya was promising — the “damaging information on Hillary Clinton” — in exchange for the meeting was part of an effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign.
The message, according to the Times, indicated that Putin’s government was the source of the information on Clinton offered by the lawyer, although it did not elaborate on any further details of the larger effort to elect Trump.
Though the incriminating email did not say that the information was related to the Russian hack of the DNC’s computers, it is notable that the June 9, 2016 meeting between Veselnitskaya and the Trump campaign emissaries led by Junior happened less than one week before the story of the DNC hack broke wide open.
But if the promised information had nothing to do with the hack, it indicates that the Russian government effort was much larger and more involved than simple cyber warfare. While breaking into the DNC computers is the more widely accepted definition of “hacking,” a social hack that produces opposition information on an enemy can be equally devastating in its application.
It is likely that the president will deny any knowledge of Goldstone’s email to his son, although to imagine that the three campaign representatives could meet with a Russian lawyer in an effort to get incriminating information about his opponent without Trump’s knowledge is implausible at best.
At the very least, this new information will be of great interest to investigators as they examine any avenues between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that lead to evidence of collusion.
Featured image via Getty Images/John Moore