Regarding Junior Trump’s now-famous email chain, Chris Hayes on MSNBC had a fascinating conversation last night with two guests who read the emails more carefully and saw reason to think that Junior knew more than he’s saying.
The guests are Ken Dilanian, MSNBC investigative reporter, and Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney and now law professor at the University of Michigan. Their talk is definitely worth a look and you can find it here.
They also suggest, as did John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the CIA in an earlier interview, that Junior was the object and victim of a well crafted initiative by Russian intelligence to compromise him. And it worked.
The Russian tradecraft called for leaving several so-called cut-outs between victim and source. That means if Putin was the source, the effort goes through the elder Agalarov, a close Putin associate; then through Agalarov’s son Emin, a Russian rock performer; then through Rob Goldstone, the younger Agalarov’s British publicist; then to President Trump’s son Donald Jr.
The purpose of the “cut-outs” is to provide plausible deniability that Putin or President Trump was involved.
The purpose of the operation was to compromise a member of the Trump family so that he or she would be vulnerable to blackmail, that is more amenable to pursuing actions favoring Russian interests. Donald took the bait when he expressed interest in the offer and arranged a meeting involving other members of the campaign. The Russian operation worked, and we can assume Putin was pleased.