To right-wing media, Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer is a "nothingburger"

››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

After The New York Times reported that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the 2016 campaign in hopes of receiving damaging information on Hillary Clinton, right-wing media immediately defended Trump Jr., calling the report a “nothingburger,” and “a big yawn,” and suggesting it would have been “malpractice” for him not to do so.

Trump Jr. and other Trump aides met with Kremlin-linked lawyer during campaign in hopes of getting incriminating information on Clinton

NY Times: Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner met “with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer” during the campaign after being promised “damaging information about Hillary Clinton.” The New York Times reported that Donald Trump Jr. “was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.” The meeting, which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and current White House senior adviser Jared Kushner “points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians.” From the July 9 report:

President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.

The meeting was also attended by the president’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, and the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times.

[...]

The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help. [The New York Times, 7/9/17]

Right-wing media calls the meeting a “nothingburger”

Fox’s Jason Chaffetz: “I know burgers … and this is a nothingburger.” Fox contributor and former Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz called the meeting “a nothingburger.” When asked if there was “anything wrong with [Trump Jr.] meeting with that lawyer,” Chaffetz said “No.” He also dismissed Trump Jr.’s actions by saying, “That must have happened hundreds of times everyday.” From the July 10 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:

JASON CHAFFETZ: I know burgers, and I’ve got a gut to prove it, and this is a nothingburger.

[...]

SANDRA SMITH (CO-HOST): Was there anything wrong with him meeting with that lawyer?

CHAFFETZ: No, look, he’s a private citizen at that point. They’re in the tussles of a really tough campaign. And somebody comes in and wants to share some information. I mean, that must have happened hundreds of times every day. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 7/10/17]

Roger Stone: “It would be malpractice in the service of his father” for Don Jr. “not to explore the facts here.” Trump ally Roger Stone told Infowars, “It would be malpractice in the service of his father not to explore the facts here.” From the July 9 edition of The Alex Jones Show:

ROGER STONE: It would be malpractice in the service of his father not to explore the facts here. Look, Don Jr. is a very bright, a very ardent supporter of his father’s agenda, a very articulate defender of his father. [YouTube, 7/9/17]

CNN’s Jason Miller: “It would be insane” not to go to the meeting. CNN political commentator and Trump’s campaign communications director Jason Miller claimed, “It would be insane to not at least go and send someone to sit down with them to figure out what they were talking about.” From the July 10 edition of CNN’s New Day:

JASON MILLER: The fact that someone’s coming forward with information about an opposing campaign, it would be insane to not at least go and send someone to sit down with them to figure out what they were talking about. I mean, Robby, I'm sure his campaign was deluged on a daily basis with people saying, "I have information, I want to attack President Trump." And to go and say that somehow there's some scurrilous or untoward activity because you sit down to listen to what someone might have to say about your opponent is absolutely silly. And I think it's a double standard and I think people need to cover the whole picture here. [CNN, New Day, 7/10/17]

CNN’s Ben Ferguson: “It’s very normal to take that meeting.” CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson alleged, “It’s very normal” for Trump Jr. “to take that meeting,” adding, “When I’ve worked on campaigns, I can tell you, there are many people I’ve met with that I didn't know exactly who they were at that moment, because that's the nature of a campaign. When everyone’s coming at you and everyone’s asking you questions and everyone wants to meet with you, that's pretty normal.” From the July 10 edition of CNN Newsroom:

BEN FERGUSON: If you’ve ever worked on a presidential campaign, you have an awful lot of meetings, an awful lot of people after you secure the nomination that want to meet with you. And so I do think when you’re doing 20, 30, 40 meetings a day, and that’s not an exaggeration, there's a good chance that you might answer a question, simply, about "Hey, I didn't meet with anybody that was directly with the Russian government. I didn't meet with anybody who walked in and said, 'Hey, I’m with the Russian government.'" He met with someone who said they had information, opposition research directly related to their opponent. It’s very normal to take that meeting. When I’ve worked on campaigns, I can tell you, there are many people that I met with that I did not know exactly who they were at that moment, because that's the nature of a campaign. When everyone’s coming at you and everyone’s asking you questions and everyone wants to meet with you, that's pretty normal. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 7/10/17]

Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft: “It was another big nothingburger– put out there by the Deep State and liberal media to continue their unhinged Russian conspiracy.” The Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft called the story “another big nothingburger,” adding that it was “put out there by the Deep State and liberal media to continue their unhinged Russian conspiracy.” Hoft also added, “These people are sick and need help.” From the July 9 post:

No misdemeanor was committed.

No crime was committed.

No ethical violations were committed.

It was another big nothingburger– put out there by the Deep State and liberal media to continue their unhinged Russian conspiracy.

These people are sick and need help. [The Gateway Pundit, 7/9/17]

NY Post’s Michael Walsh: Times reports on Trump Jr. were “a big yawn” and “a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.” New York Post columnist Michael Walsh called the Times report and the one from a day earlier, which broke the news of the meeting, “a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.” Walsh claimed the “rational response” to the Times’ articles should be “who wouldn’t?” and “so what?,” concluding that the story was part of the left’s refusal “to accept the results of the 2016 election. As the president might say: Sad!” From the July 9 column:

The news was delivered by the New York Times in the breathless tones that might announce a cure for cancer or the discovery of life on Mars:

“President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.”

To which a rational response is … who wouldn’t? And also: So what? A third response is unprintable.

Just as the “Russian collusion” fantasy — a resentful smear cooked up in the immediate aftermath of Clinton’s stunning defeat last fall — was finally fading from the fever swamps of the “resistance” and its media mouthpieces, along comes the Times with a pair of journalistic nothingburgers.

[...]

Hasn’t the Times learned its lesson from its disastrous Feb. 14 story, also anonymously sourced, about the Trump campaign’s “repeated contacts with Russian intelligence”? In his congressional testimony last month, former FBI Director James Comey said: “In the main, it was not true.”

But then, so are the other “collusion” stories the left is trying to peddle as proof of some sinister plot to subvert democracy. And all because they refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election. As the president might say: Sad! [New York Post, 7/9/17]

Pro-Trump troll Mike Cernovich:

[Twitter, 7/10/17]

CNN’s Jeffrey Lord:

[Twitter, 7/9/17]

Eric Bolling on Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian lawyer: “So what?” Fox’s Eric Bolling defended Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton by asking “how many times Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton arranged a meeting with foreign government to squeeze a donation out of them once or twice.” From the July 10 edition of Fox News’ The Fox News Specialists:

ERIC BOLLING: Eboni, more fake news. More over the top outrage, fake outrage by the mainstream media. So what? Donald Trump, Jr. met with someone. He didn't even know the name of the person he was meeting with. It was arranged. And how many times do you think Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton arranged a meeting with a foreign government. Maybe to squeeze a donation out of them once or twice. [Fox News, The Fox News Specialists, 7/10/17]

Laura Ingraham downplays Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian lawyer: “This is a big nothing.” Laura Ingraham defended Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer by shifting the focus on Hillary Clinton, stating the “Ukrainians did influence the election to hurt Trump” and that Clinton’s administration “was very happy to get the help they could from the Ukraine.” From the July 10 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier:

LAURA INGRAHAM: Well, I think  It's never good to start a Monday with another story about a Russian meeting and the Trump folks. At the same time, this was June of last year and this was just as they were getting ready for the convention. And does it surprise me that someone connected to the campaign would take a meeting with a friend of a friend who was clearly trying to get some mojo and some juice with Donald Trump, Jr. This kind of stuff does happen a lot. Now we are focused on Russia so this woman is a lawyer in Russia. As someone who has two adopted Russian kids, this ultimately ended up being a meeting about adoption. I've seen so many times sources in Russia trying to get the word out about this Magnitsky Act which they are desperate to get rescinded in the United States. That was her goal in this meeting. She wanted to push her case with her client. That doesn't surprise me. Listen, I mean he's right about the Ukrainian deal. The Ukrainians did want to influence the election and to hurt Trump. They wanted to help Hillary Clinton. The Hillary Clinton campaign I'm sure was very happy to get any help they could get from the Ukraine. Now does it make the optics, so sick of that phrase, the optics of this look any better? No, it doesn't but this is a big nothing. I think the story goes nowhere. But I do think it keeps us one news cycle away from focusing on what most Americans want us to focus on. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 7/10/17]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.