You can usually tell which Trump has been under increasing scrutiny the previous week by the degree of tirades they throw on Twitter. Judging by Donald Trump Jr.’s tweets this week, which mostly consisted of content from The Federalist and Fox News, the president’s son might be growing increasingly nervous.
He should be. Several new details have been reported this week about Trump Jr.’s involvement with Russians during the campaign and after. This includes the revelation on Friday that the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and others at Trump Tower in June 2016, was in fact a Russian spy.
Natalia Veselnitskaya admitted in an interview with NBC that she is a Kremlin informant after emails were leaked showing she worked closely with Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, including in an effort to quash a U.S. criminal probe.
“I am a lawyer and I am an informant,” she told NBC, after having repeatedly denied that bit of information since details of the Trump Tower meeting first emerged. Ahead of that meeting, Veselnitskaya and other Trump–linked Russians had promised Trump Jr. incriminating information on then–candidate Hillary Clinton. The president’s son previously had claimed the meetings were about Russian adoptions.
On Friday, Mother Jones published a story raising the question of whether Trump Jr. spoke of the meeting with his dad. Citing a report by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee—which was issued on Friday as a rebuttal to committee Republicans claiming they had found no evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia—the report noted that Trump Jr. had fielded a call ahead of the meeting from a blocked phone line that could have been Donald Trump. Of course, Republicans on the committee didn’t bother looking into the matter.
The story noted:
According to the Democrats’ report, Trump Jr. exchanged calls about the meeting with [Azerbaijani-Russian pop star] Emin Agalarov on June 6 at [Agalarov publicist Rob] Goldstone’s request. The first call was at 4:04 pm. At 4:27 pm, prior to Trump Jr.’s second call with Emin, Trump Jr. received a call from a “blocked” number. Trump Jr. told the committee last year he did not know who had called him. The Democrats note, however, that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, told the committee that Trump Sr.’s “primary residence has a blocked [phone] line.”
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon also has said he’s certain Trump was informed of the details of that meeting.
On Friday night, BuzzFeed reported that Trump Jr. kept in touch with the Agalarov family after the 2016 election, at least until mid–December, during the presidential transition. “It is not clear how many messages were sent, whether Trump Jr. sent any of them, or how many were sent by either party — although BuzzFeed News confirmed that multiple messages were sent,” the report stated.
Emin Agalarov’s father Aras has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and is a friend of Donald Trump, after Trump and the Agalarov’s hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant together in Moscow. According to House Democrats, the day after the Trump Tower meeting, Aras Agalarov had “an expensive painting” sent to Trump.
“Contacts between the Trumps and the Agalarovs continued after the election as well. While it has been known that the Agalarovs posted supportive messages on social media surrounding Trump’s election and inauguration, it had not before Friday been known that they were directly communicating during that time as well,” BuzzFeed reported.
Meanwhile, Trump Jr. continues distracting his Twitter followers from all of this by attacking the usual suspects (and some new ones), including former FBI Director James Comey, CNN, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester. But no amount of tweeting will stop the legal storm that seems to be currently gathering around the president’s son, in addition to the president himself.