Donald Trump Jr. and the Kremlin-linked lawyer he met with in June 2016 to get damaging information on Hillary Clinton both say now that their get-together at Trump Tower was a bust. But Russian President Vladimir Putin may not see it that way, even if Trump Jr. and the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, really do, NBC's Katy Tur said on Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly. Tur spoke with Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo, critical Trump biographer Tim O'Brien, and John Sipher, a longtime CIA agent who was once station chief in Moscow.
The meeting was likely set up to see how far Trump Jr. was willing to go to break the rules to help his father, Sipher said. "In our world, that's clearly a trap; you're clearly setting someone up so that you can determine whether they bite," he said. "If I send you something that that's blatant, and you bite, then I have a lot of information on what I might be able to use next time. I know that if you're willing to step over the line, I can then push a little further." Offering dirt on Clinton was "like human fishing: They're putting bait out there to see if you're willing to swallow it. And the Trump campaign team swallowed it whole." And Putin, Sipher said, "learned that Mr. Trump is willing to compromise himself, to make a choice that puts him in an awkward and potentially vulnerable state."
Caputo, a longtime GOP political consultant with ties to Trump, said that "Donald Jr. made a mistake" in accepting the meeting, but chalked it up to naiveté and a chaotic, neophyte campaign, not willful collusion. "There was no collusion," Caputo told Tur, who covered the Trump campaign for NBC News. "Do you think that place was organized enough to collude with the lunch counter across the street? It just wasn't." Watch her report below. Peter Weber