As politicians and the media debate the legality and ethics of the infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and an ever-expanding list of Russian characters, one of the more nauseating aspects of the efforts to explain it away, has been the claim that all they did was talk about "adoption."
This, of course, evokes warm and fuzzy images of providing loving families to needy children. To the contrary, as the subject line of Junior's email chain shows, children were the last thing on the minds of the friends of Trump, Putin, and the Russian oligarchs that were assembled at that meeting. The reference to adoption only makes sense when you understand the history of the Magnitsky Act, passed by the U.S. Congress.
As many readers likely know, the Magnitsky Act was passed by Congress to punish Russia for the jailing of a lawyer (Sergei Magnitsky) who had uncovered evidence of a massive case of tax fraud in Russia. According to a recent Atlantic Magazine article by Julia Ioffe,
"Magnitsky had been denied medical attention in jail despite his worsening gall stones pancreatitis, and appeared to have died a violent death."
As Ioffe further explains on MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes (with Ari Melber guest hosting), the Magnitsky Act cut off the pipeline that Russian elites used to enrich themselves in the West. As the barring of American adoptions of Russian children was the Russian government's retaliation against the law (which ironically only hurt Russian children), the topic of adoption was merely a cover for the effort to repeal that law. Clearly, it also served nicely as a cover for the intentions of the Trump campaign in attending the meeting with Veselnitskaya and others. The use of orphans in the service of political expediency is especially disturbing, since the law being targeted was in response to the alleged torture and murder of a dissident.
Of course, while the Russians and the Trump Administration share this cover, it would not be the first time for the Trump's. Recall the story of Ivanka Trump's supposed emotional meltdown over the gassing of Syrian children as a cover for Trump's casually planned bombing? At least for a time, that story line allowed Trump to escape questions over the efficacy of the bombing, and its indiscreet planning. It also obscured the irony of Trump's alleged agonizing over the suffering of Syria children, while banning their refuge in the U.S.
No discussion of the hypocrisy of the Trump Administration (along with its Republican enablers) over their supposed concern for children would be complete, however, without reference to their relentless push to repeal - however they can - the Affordable Care Act. While Trump likes to bemoan the suffering of "innocent children" when it suits his agenda - whether it be in Syria or in the UK- Trump sheds no tears for the millions of children - and others - who would be devastated by his aggressive push to take health coverage away from other "innocent children."
(Article changed on July 19, 2017 at 08:52)
(Article changed on July 21, 2017 at 17:00)