Fake news: The old Trump Tower canards suddenly recrudescing

The press has gotten itself into a feeding frenzy over a stray tweet from President Trump, stating that the infamous "Trump Tower" meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, was over "dirt on Hillary."

For starters, it's not news.  It was reported earlier, without much excitement, as Byron York has noted in this excellent piece:

The press has gotten itself into a feeding frenzy over a stray tweet from President Trump, stating that the infamous "Trump Tower" meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, was over "dirt on Hillary."

For starters, it's not news.  It was reported earlier, without much excitement, as Byron York has noted in this excellent piece:

As York noted in the piece:

The only problem with the news was that it was not news.  The president had said precisely the same thing a year earlier.  Trump had long ago, and in no uncertain terms, acknowledged that the proposed purpose of the meeting was for the Russians and Russian-Americans to offer dirt on Clinton.

On July 13, 2017, not long after the story broke, Trump, at a news conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, described the Trump Tower meeting as an opportunity to receive "opposition research" on Clinton.

"I think from a practical standpoint most people would've taken that meeting," Trump said.  "It's called opposition research, or even research into your opponent.  I've had many people – I have only been in politics for two years, but I've had many people call up, 'Oh gee, we have information on this factor or this person or, frankly, Hillary.'  That's very standard in politics.  Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it's very standard where they have information and you take the information."

Four days later, on July 17, 2017, Trump put it more succinctly.  "Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent," he tweeted.  "That's politics!"

So you've got to wonder what the press is up to, reporting non-news as sudden, front-page, wall-to-wall coverage news, and piously yet falsely claiming that Trump backtracked when, in fact, he didn't.  Sounds as though the biggest of them are getting leaks from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, if I had to guess.  Thus, they report it all together, and not a one of them remembers that they reported it earlier.  Nothing like a coordinated effort to Get Trump, is there?

Now, to be fair, it could be legally problematic, as Judge Andrew Napolitano notes, explaining that just the agreement of anyone on a campaign to accept information from a foreign source is against federal election law.  Napolitano is a credible commentator on matters of law, and he does lay out the problem.  See this Grabien video of his legal analysis here.

What I think happened is that the Russians approached Trump Jr. for a meeting, knowing he wasn't an experienced political hand and up until then had no interest in politics; told him they wanted a meeting; said it was about adoptions; and then, wink, wink, said they had some "dirt on Hillary."  This would have made the meeting more attractive to Trump Jr., given his interests.  But it still would have gone on under the header of "adoption topic meeting."

Big deal.  It's hard to not turn down a meeting if someone offers some useful information in a campaign, which raises questions about why the law prohibits getting any information from a foreign source.  It's just as easy to post the same information on the internet and have it that way, and it's likely the law was written before the internet existed.  Trump Jr. probably should have told them to post it on the internet, but it was human to ask what the heck it was.  As it turned out, they didn't have anything; they just wanted to lobby him about Russian adoptions and ending sanctions on Russia, and he caught on to their game and got rid of them.

What's far more problematic is in the news the media aren't focusing on: that Veselnitskaya, who was under sanctions, mysteriously got a visa to come to the U.S., courtesy of President Obama's State Department.  That raises issues of entrapment, and that needs to be fully investigated.  It should be enough to make the case Mueller is making fall apart.

What's more, if there was any receipt of actual "dirt" from foreigners by a campaign, it would be the Democrat campaigns that took the foreign information.  In the case of Hillary Clinton, it came first through the Brits, who are technically foreigners, in the person of Christopher Steele, who was commissioned by the Hillary campaign to create a "dirt" dossier, and, second, through the Russians whom the Brits said they got their "dirt" from.  The Hillary campaign also took information from the Australians, via their government, what with the doings of Sidney Blumenthal and all, and, in the case of Bernie Sanders, through the Australian labor unions.  I don't even want to get into what the Mexicans must have funneled over to the Hillary Clinton campaign; their meddling in the 2016 election was something special.  Foreign sourcing of information abounds, and yes, in this case, it can credibly be said that "everybody does it."

It shows you what a crap law this is, given the difficulty of avoiding foreign sourcing in the free flow of information and the very, very, very selective enforcement we are seeing right now.

The legal challenges Trump can mount on any one of these fronts is pretty amazing.  But what stands out now is that the press is engaging in a pile-on feeding frenzy for strange, non-news reasons, and all at once.

Why the heck is that happening?

Image credit: Spencer Neuharth / USFWS via Flickrpublic domain image and CC BY-SA 2.0.