Gary Maloney, a longtime GOP opposition researcher, said he was surprised that Trump Jr. attended the meeting in person, along with the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort.
Maloney said he would have expected a consultant or a researcher to go instead. That way, if the meeting caused political blowback, it would not be connected to the candidate’s family or top campaign officials.
“I do not fault Donald Jr. for wanting to win. He seeks more data, more leads — nothing wrong there,” Maloney wrote in an email. “But where was the campaign team? The manager’s job is to protect the candidate and family from blowback. I worked in Bush ’88 — would [campaign manager] Lee Atwater have allowed George W. at such a sitdown? Inconceivable. Would John Podesta have allowed Chelsea Clinton in this meeting? Impossible.”