College Democrats of New York

College Democrats of New York is the official college outreach wing of the New York State Democratic party. As an affiliate of College Democrats of America, our goal is to empower young progressives one student at a time. We are committed to electing strong progressive Democrats in the state of New York and across the country.

You’ve Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail

By Lois Evans

            This Donald Trump Jr. stuff is going to make for a really good Academy Award nominated film in about ten years. Trump the Older will be played by some method actor who will decide to Nair the top of his head, and be referred to as “The Donald” for the entirety of shooting. Trump the Younger could be portrayed by one of 2027’s bankable white male actors. We’ll have options, I’m sure.

            Either way, between the allegations of collusion concerning the 2016 election and the nonexistent Great Wall of MAGA, we are saturated with dope cinematic fare. Possible titles include, but are certainly not limited to: How America Got Trumped, We Cried Over Cheetos, and The Fault in Our Emails. The Cheeto title is my personal favorite, but given the scandal surrounding emails regarding both the past election and current administration, the email one may prevail.

            Hillary Rodham Clinton bore the brunt of the email trashing, which arguably cost her the election, but the focus has recently shifted to Donald Trump Jr. The second favorite Trump child, behind none other than 45’s beloved Ivanka, is fighting allegations of treason for a June 2016 meeting with Russian attorney/anti-Magnitsky Act lobbyist Natalia Veselnitskaya. This tale has House of Cards potential, and gets more and more complicated every day. Paired with the relentless refusal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to die under the weight of Republican entitlement, celebrity drama, and consistent tomfoolery at the hands of Donald Trump Sr., accounts of DTJ’s Russia meeting are being pushed further and further to the backburner. The Russian email scandal is at serious risk of demotion to matinee status.

            In June of 2016, nearly a year after Trump Sr. officially announced his candidacy for the office of the President, Trump Jr. received an email from Robert Goldstone. The emails, which were released via Twitter by Donald Trump Jr., detail the planning of a meeting to discuss “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia.” Potentially leaking incriminating information on an opponent is nothing new for the American political experience. Given mounting suspicion and evidence indicating Russian interference in the 2016 election, contact between the Kremlin and the Trumps seems more than a bit disconcerting.

            Trump Jr. released a statement prefacing the emails on July 11 of this year, using Goldstone’s words to downplay the meeting that came afterwards as “the most inane nonsense [he] ever heard.” Trump Jr. alleges that the time he spent speaking with Veselnitskaya focused on the Magnitsky Act and its ramifications rather than anything that could have been used as ammunition against the Clinton camp. Besides failing to acknowledge Veselnitskaya as anyone more than “the woman,” Trump Junior ignores the conflict borne of the Magnitsky Act and oversimplifies the current investigation on collusion and the Kremlin as “Russian fever.”

            In short, the Magnitsky Act was legislation passed in December of 2012 to restrict “44 suspected human rights abusers worldwide” access to the United States. The law earns its name from Russian lawyer Sergei Magnistky, “who in 2008 untangled a dense web of tax fraud and graft involving 23 companies and a total of $230 million dollars linked to the Kremlin” before dying in Russian custody. Putin’s response to the Act was a bill that halted adoption proceedings involving Russian children and American parents. (The 45th President of the United States obviously isn’t alone in breaking up families with travel bans, but I digress).

            Trump Jr. is currently trying to absolve himself of any possible wrongdoing by attempting to paint himself as the victim of a giant waste of time. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump Jr. maintained that at the time of the meeting he was “still way in the learning curve” and that if anything from that transpired seemed to be a risk to national security, he would “obviously bring it right to someone.” I wonder if Trump Jr. would have been well-versed enough in national security and foreign policy to know what red flags to look for in potentially nuanced conversations. At best, he’s incompetent. At worst, sinister. Either way, the whole truth has yet to be revealed.

            I guess I’m wrong. This email scandal wouldn’t make for a very good movie, after all. Critics would call the film jumbled and clunky, much like the current state of the Union. 

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Lois is a junior at NYU and is originally from Freeport, New York. She is an English major who hopes to combine her love of writing with activism as a novelist and professor. She's also a Gates Millennium Scholar.