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Jake Tapper Goes Cronkite on Don Jr. Emails: ‘Evidence of Willingness to Commit Collusion’

Jake Tapper joined Kate Bolduan’s CNN show Tuesday to emphasize the gravity of Donald Trump Jr.’s newly released emails revealing he sought damaging information on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government.

The emails, released by President Donald Trump’s son ostensibly to pre-empt a New York Times story, reveal Don Jr.’s correspondence with an intermediary promising dirt on Clinton courtesy of the Russian government — to which Don Jr. responded: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

After briefly discussing the president’s curious silence on the subject, Tapper moved on to Don Jr.’s emails, noting the “faux transparency” of releasing the emails knowing that The Times was preparing a story on them. He also bashed Don Jr. and the Trump White House’s “indignant” denials of any contact with Russian actors.

“It’s incredible,” Tapper said, noting that The Time’s weekend scoop was supported by leaks from the White House, and of the new emails, “this particular leak came, at least where I printed it out from, was Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account. And these e-mails are staggering.”

“Again, this unquestionably depicts somebody saying the Russian government wants to help the Trump campaign with documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump Jr. saying, “I love it” and setting up a meeting to do so,” Tapper added.

“It’s a staggering turn of events, and it’s rather momentous,” Tapper continued. “This can’t just be, this can’t be dismissed as people out to get Donald J. Trump Jr. or fake news.”

“This is evidence of willingness to commit collusion. That’s what this is on its face. Now, maybe there’s an explanation for it, and if that’s true, we can talk about that, and we’ll report it.”

Tapper’s declarative comments about Trump Jr.’s emails amidst lots of smoke surrounding the Russian interference narrative evoked another memorable news moment: Walter Cronkite‘s famous comments about the Vietnam War that many saw as the tipping point of public opinion — though it is unlikely, of course, that in this very different media era Tapper’s words will carry the same weight.

Don Jr. met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, at Trump Tower in June 2016. He first told The New York Times that the meeting, also attended by Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, was held to discuss Russian adoption policy.

It was later revealed, and confirmed by sources in the White House, that Don Jr. attended the meeting after he was promised compromising material on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Aidan McLaughlin (@aidnmclaughlin) on Twitter

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