Here is what the Trump team did: Senior campaign officials, including then-chairman Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, met in June 2016 with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected lawyer. They were told the lawyer could give them “very high level and sensitive information” on Ms. Clinton, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”Which brings us, again, to French Hill. He met, in Russia, with Natalia Veselnitskaya. He was given a document that news accounts have said was virtually the same as that given to Trump campaign representatives in a meeting in Trump Tower. Did French Hill call the FBI? Or did he provide that document to the Trump campaign? What, precisely, was in that document? This is another question French
Here is what the Clinton campaign did: It employed a U.S. law firm that hired a U.S. research outfit that brought in Christopher Steele, a British ex-spy, to gather information on Mr. Trump from his network of sources. That network included Russians.
For all of Mr. Trump’s efforts to muddy the waters, the two cases are decidedly different. There is no evidence of any direct meetings or even tenuous connections between Ms. Clinton’s senior staff and Russian operatives. When the information he was gathering on Mr. Trump seemed alarming, Mr. Steele informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his concerns. When the Russian government offered dirt on Mr. Trump’s opponent, his campaign didn’t alert authorities about this sketchy behavior. It eagerly took the meeting.
Mr. Trump’s whataboutism obscures the fundamental difference between engaging in opposition research that includes contacting foreign sources and lapping up information peddled by a foreign government.