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How Donald Jr. is like, and not like, Mama Rose

The fascinating events of last week involving President Trump’s, son, son-in-law, then-campaign manager and various Russian operatives brings to mind Stephen Sondheim’s lyric from the 1959 Broadway musical, “Gypsy.”

“Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone,” is sung to a gentleman caller interested in the talents of one of stage mother Rose’s children. Her enthusiasm for this Mr. Goldstone is not unlike the gratitude expressed to Rob Goldstone, the Kremlin messenger, by Donald Trump Jr. on being told he had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The information is being offered as “part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump,” said this Mr. Goldstone

“I love it,” said the grateful Mr. Trump to Mr. Goldstone. “We’re in!” 

Mama Rose reacted similarly and musically to her Mr. Goldstone:

“Everybody give a cheer, 

 Santa Claus is sitting here

Mr. Goldstone, I love you.”

And so, just days after Donald Trump all but clinched the Republican presidential nomination but still faced potent opposition at the upcoming convention, Donald Jr., campaign strategist Jared Kushner and campaign chief Paul Manafort dropped everything to harvest Russia’s dirt.

It turned out, if we are to believe Mr. Trump — and who wouldn’t — that the Russian emissary didn’t deliver what Mr. Goldstone promised. The dirt on Hillary didn’t even merit an eggroll, never mind “a dish, a fork, a fish, a pork,” as the song says. What was dished out by the Russian emissary was “vague, ambiguous and made no sense,” said the disappointed Mr. Trump. 

It appears the Russian lawyer duped the trio of smart political operators or, as Peggy Noonan wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “bumptious oafs who think themselves sophisticates.” 

The Russian lawyer was supposedly just interested in allowing Americans to adopt Russian babies, a privilege revoked by Vladimir Putin after passage of a bill sanctioning Russians guilty of human rights abuses like murder.

It’s just a coincidence that within days, Wikileaks, courtesy of the Russians, began dumping 10,000 emails that revealed, as the Los Angeles Times then reported, “the Hillary Clinton you either love, tolerate or loathe.” 

Also, coincidentally, the Republican Convention platform was relieved of a plank calling for arming Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces. The plank, which recommended “providing lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine, was amended, at the behest of Trump delegates, and ultimately just sought “appropriate assistance” to Ukrainians fighting for their freedom.

All of this news broke in The “failing” New York Times just after the G20 meeting. The paper first reported Donald Jr.’s lie that he believed the meeting was only about easing the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Then, Junior slightly altered the purpose of the meeting the following day when he revealed he also expected to get damaging information about Clinton. 

This amendment to the relatively benign adoption claim was undoubtedly filed after the Times’ reporters mentioned that they were about to print that fact, with or without his acknowledgement.

And finally, of course, in a remarkable turn of events over the course of three days, we were treated to the great Trump email dump, not to be confused with the Hillary email dump. This sudden burst of honesty also occurred as the Times was about to publish those very same emails.

These were the emails that told it all, the promises of Hillary dirt from Mr. Goldstone, the “I love it” response, the alleged disappointment at the quality of the information, followed by the insistence that the presidential candidate, spending the day on the next floor of the Trump Tower, knew nothing. Later, en route to Paris, the senior Trump had a memory return, saying he may have heard the meeting “mentioned” earlier than a couple of days ago. 

So what are we to make of it all? Kushner, the only member of the trio currently employed in the White House, could lose his security clearance, not to mention his credibility. Both losses would make it difficult to perform his principal functions, bringing peace to the Middle East, government reorganization, fair trade agreements with China and Mexico and the war on drugs. 

He insists he simply forgot to list the meeting in his application for the highest security clearance. It’s an affliction suffered by Trump associates in their dealings with Putin’s Russia. 

And maybe it’s just a dot, to be connected with so many others as we learn what Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump from an energized press as well as the special prosecutor. 

Simsbury resident Dick Ahles is a retired journalist. Email him at rahles1@outlook.com.