(Photo By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump, Jr.) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
Washington began its week again with its collective Rorschach test: another Russian-related meeting that was immediately declared to be the “smoking gun” of criminal collusion or even “treason.” In the 1960s when Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach created his projective test, he found that people could reveal their motivations and perceptions in describing what they saw in amorphous inkblots.
In the continuing Russia Rorschach test, it turns out that every amorphous blob looks like a crime to media and many legal experts.
The latest is the disclosure of a meeting by Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort on June 9, 2016. Trump Jr. was told by a business acquaintance that a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had information implicating Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in illegal foreign campaign contributions from Russia.
While the participants have said that the meeting lasted only about 20 minutes and that the lawyer offered nothing in terms of such evidence — and instead pivoted to a discussion of rescinding a ban on Russian adoptions — the media went into a frenzy as experts spotted images of crimes from treason to defrauding the United States to campaign finance violations.