back to top

Here's How The Pro-Trump Media Is Handling The Don Jr. Emails

"There's no evidence they colluded at all."

Posted on

Donald Trump Jr. on Tuesday released his email exchanges setting up a meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. "This is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," Rob Gladstone, who set up the sit-down, wrote. “If it’s what you say I love it," Trump Jr. responded.

Gladstone additionally wrote that a meeting with Russian officials — which took place during the 2016 presidential campaign — would help "to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary."

Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints).

"This is obviously very high level and sensitive information," he said.

Now remember: Congress, the FBI, and a special counsel are all investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the election against Clinton.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

Reporters at the New York Times said Trump Jr. tweeted the emails himself after he learned the paper was about to write about them.

Democrats and Republicans alike were concerned.

That whole email chain was forwarded to Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner and they all attended the meeting...in Trump Tower. Unbelievable.

This is beyond troubling. We need an independent investigation and we need it now. #FollowTheFacts https://t.co/jOV4uxZKva

Trump Jr. was willing to betray US to cheat for his Dad's campaign. Would be foolish to call this "shocking." It fi… https://t.co/Al0hzRTNZX

Lindsey Graham on Don Jr emails: "If you're ever approached about getting help from a foreign government, the answer is no"

I voted for @POTUS last Nov. & want him & USA to succeed, but that meeting, given that email chain just released, is a big no-no.

(Zeldin previously called the issue a "nothingburger.")

Instead of showing intent to collude with the Russian government, some of them believe the episode has exposed the "lying" and "conspiracy" of the media.

Don Jr had to release the email himself because it doesn't support the lying Times conspiracy, that's why they neve… https://t.co/yVcc6OWXEJ

This is a continuation of the pro-Trump media's war on the mainstream media. The pro-Trump media contends that outlets like the New York Times and CNN aren't just frequently wrong, but are deliberately trying to mislead the public.

From our perspective anyone who believes CNN/NYT reports on face value is a little out there https://t.co/xNlGhu8ahE

They said Trump Jr.'s release of the emails was proof "the fake news" was reckless in its reporting (even though the New York Times and Washington Post's reports on Trump Jr.'s meeting were backed by what he released). This is part of a very common defense from this group, which gets good traction on social media, especially on Twitter.

Don JR beats the fake news to the punch and releases the entire email chain. Nothing here is even borderline. This… https://t.co/hG0RrOh6zS

This paragraph from Breitbart speaks to the point of all this: The real goal is not to exonerate or debunk the information reported by the Times about Don Jr. — it's to discredit the media.

The Times reported the existence of the introductory email on Monday evening, though it had not seen the email, did not possess the email, did not verify the email, and relied on second-hand descriptions from “three people with knowledge of the email,” presumably from the intelligence community or from one of the intelligence committees in Congress.

The defense from the pro-Trump media is that Don Jr.'s meeting was not — on its face — illegal, and that taking a meeting of this kind does not suggest collusion.

There's no evidence they colluded at all. The fact that there was apparently no prior relationship tends to underli… https://t.co/Unv3dDZTq5

Russia emails suggest: 1. Meeting not connected to hacking 2. No pre-existing channel to Russia 3. Info offered re: *Hillary*'s Russia links

A few hours in, the pro-Trump media — as well as a few right-leaning publications — attempted to tweak the narrative by moving the focus away from Trump and toward Hillary Clinton, who has also been accused by some of taking meetings with foreign governments.

Daily Caller

This is the Daily Caller's angle.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity, who has been one of Trump's most vocal supporters, had a similar take:

Is this Hillary Collusion?? https://t.co/JMX4kqIbt7

Similarly, pro-Trump media personalities Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec both tweeted a story from the pro-Trump blog Zero Hedge alleging that Saudi Arabia funded 20% of Hillary's campaign.

Saudi Arabia funded 20% of Hillary campign but someone sent Donald Trump Jr an email one time! https://t.co/hzZC1fiVsg

Saudi Arabia Has Funded 20% Of Hillary's Presidential Campaign, Saudi Crown Prince Claims https://t.co/jt5Z7LolZt

In short: "Don Jr. did nothing wrong."

Or, as the pro-Trump media is fond of saying, it's a "nothing burger."

I'll have a nothing burger with a side of hot air and a big gulp of fuck all. #DonaldTrumpJr

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.

Contact Charlie Warzel at charlie.warzel@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.