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Senior WH Official to TIME: Don Jr.’s Russia Meeting Has Caused a ‘Shitstorm’


A fresh TIME magazine cover story on the Trump administration is out, this week featuring a dour-faced Donald Trump Jr. and the headline “Red Handed — The Russia Scandal Hits Home.”

The extensive piece by TIME’s David Von Drehle details the fallout from revelations that the president’s son sought, during the 2016 campaign, damaging information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, and met with a Russian lawyer claiming to have such dirt.

The crux of Drehle’s piece asks a question that cable news has struggled to pull itself together and examine properly: “how bad is it?”

“For advisers to a would-be President to take at face value an offer of clandestine assistance from Moscow is foolish at best, reckless for sure and potentially treasonous in the worst-case scenario,” Drehle writes.

As special counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to Russia, Don Jr. could have run afoul of the “Bentsen amendment,” a law prohibiting information sharing between political campaigns and foreign countries.

“One skeptic is Jan Baran, an expert on campaign laws at the firm of Wiley Rein,” Drehle notes, who argues that foreign nationals have been permitted to volunteer for campaigns.

“A more plausible charge is obstruction of justice,” writes Drehle, noting that one of Mueller’s first hires is an “expert in constitutional law and the limits of executive power.”

Regardless of the longterm legal implications of Don Jr.’s meeting, the mood in the White House is back to being “weary and grim,” with the president “frustrated” by the debacle.

He has also reportedly taken to “blaming longtime personal attorney Marc Kasowitz for the team’s failure to put an end to his woes.”

And even senior White House officials appear wary of the serious predicament the Trump administration now finds itself in, despite brave faces from surrogates in their cable news hits:

It all adds up, in the words of a senior Administration official, to a “sh-tstorm” that no White House staffer even tries to deny.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) on Twitter

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