Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Jan. 18. (John Moore / Getty Images)
To the editor: Donald Trump, Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya raises three questions that deserve additional investigation. First, how much did President Trump’s campaign know about the Russian government’s activities to harm Hillary Clinton prior to the meeting? The wording of the email soliciting a meeting with Veselnitskaya reads as if this was not an initial contact. (“Donald Trump Jr.: The unapologetic son who courts controversy,” July 12)
Second, before the meeting, was Trump Jr. aware that the Russians expected his father to support U.S. policy changes favorable to their interests in exchange for helping the campaign? His report that Veselnitskaya insisted on discussing international adoption sanctions indicates what type of quid pro quo they expected. The Russian law preventing Americans from adopting Russian children was passed to retaliate against U.S. sanctions targeted at associates of President Vladimir Putin.
Third, if Trump Jr. expected that the Russians would give him valuable information without expecting anything in return, what does this say about his skills as a negotiator? A good businessperson must understand what both sides want in order to make the best possible deal. If Trump Jr. didn’t understand what Veselnitskaya wanted, it calls into question his negotiation skills and those of his father who taught him.
Cathy Boggs, Santa Barbara
To the editor: There are 196 countries in the world. Of those, in addition to the U.S., Canada and Russia, several more (including China, Japan, Britain, Germany, France the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, Israel, Iran and perhaps Brazil)have the capability to engage in cyber hacking.
All of these countries may have more than a passing interest in the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Yet, to date, no information has surfaced that any foreign country other than Russia made an effort to affect the outcome of the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
Coincidence? I think not.
Marshall Barth, Encino
To the editor: During the last presidential campaign, Trump asserted that he could go out on Fifth Avenue in New York City and shoot someone, and people would still support him. Apparently he is right.
While there is as yet no direct link between Trump himself and the attempts to coordinate with the Russian government to influence our presidential campaign, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort clearly were representing his interests in taking the meeting with Veselnitskaya.
So in effect, his campaign did indeed shoot the U.S. body politic. Judging from the immediate reaction, particularly from some of our congressional leaders, since no one actually died the the offense is not all that serious. It may not even be illegal.
When did our lawmakers become this indifferent to attempts by a foreign government clearly in opposition to our national interests to influence our election?
John M. Liu, Irvine
To the editor: So, Trump Jr. seems not to worry about releasing his emails on meeting Veselnitskaya that could lead to his criminal prosecution. Of course, he may believe that if he really gets into trouble, a presidential pardon would be forthcoming
Barry Dank, Palm Desert