Donald Trump Jr. gives a television interview at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland
Donald Trump Jr. gives a television interview at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich - RTX3B7PF Mark Kauzlarich — Reuters

This 1988 George H.W. Bush Letter Encapsulates What Went Wrong With the Trump Jr. Scandal

Jul 13, 2017

No one likes a politician, but sometimes political experience can come in handy. George H.W. Bush's 1988 letter to his son about how to deal with the press and conflicts of interest is resurfacing in heat of concerns over the legality of Donald Trump Jr.'s emailed connections with the Russian government.

In Bush's letter, the then-presidential hopeful gives his progeny a lesson on handling potential conflicts of interest: "Every effort will be made to find some phone call, some inquiry, some letter that can be made to appear improper."

It appears that the younger Trump may have missed that memo. This week, the Donald Trump Jr.'s emails with a person claiming to have compromising information on Hillary Clinton and connections to the Russian government have caused a firestorm.

Just as Bush predicted in the 80s, the unflattering correspondence leaked. The released emails suggest that the junior Trump responded enthusiastically to the prospect of obtaining damaging information about his political opponent from Russia.

The resulting barrage of press coverage makes Bush's words of caution seem impossibly quaint: "It is important that our communications people know who is working on what story," he wrote. On Twitter and in the Trump era—it's a lot harder to keep track.

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