My opinion on the Trump Jr.-Russia thing is that everyone does it, but the Trump campaign wasn't shrewd enough to keep it at arms length. I don't think this is good or right, but I also don't believe the shocked, shocked responses I'm reading in the media.

Regarding the use of opposition research obtained in distasteful ways:

For his part, Carney, writing via email, offered ways a campaign might have handled such a situation, had it arisen. "If the emails did show up, most serious campaigns would not touch them directly -- legalities and all. But friends of the campaign would strongly encourage the turncoat to dump them to reporters. Easier not to have fingerprints on questionable documents."

"Foreign governments would always use high-level U.S. third parties, not any direct campaign contacts, and most likely they would end up in the media," Carney continued. "So YES -- campaigns would seek the emails, but not directly if they were not legally available or the sources were questionable."

Trump Jr.'s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was unseemly, but does it better serve America for campaigns to perform such distasteful activities through deniable intermediaries?

This discussion of the ethics of opposition research is very high-minded, but I believe the crux is here:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, but even if -- Christina, even if the campaign says, we're not going to do this, there are other tabloids and others out there who may be engaging in this kind of research.

CHRISTINA REYNOLDS: Sure.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting," says Jeff Berkowitz, a veteran Republican opposition researcher, but:

the task instead should have fallen to a lower-level campaign researcher or paid consultant, rather than the candidate's son. Berkowitz, a former White House official who worked as research director for the Republican National Committee and Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign, said the revelations about the younger Trump's meeting with the Russian also serve to underscore the bare-bones nature of his father's unorthodox political operation.

The senior Trump, a novice to politics, defied convention by running his 2016 presidential campaign aided by a core group of family members and a few dozen staffers and consultants, compared to the hundreds on Clinton's campaign workforce.

"You didn't have gatekeepers to handle these things and decide whether it was something useful," Berkowitz said of advance vetting of the Veselnitskaya meeting.

"Everyone in politics would have taken that meeting. This is the nature of politics," he said. But, he added: "It just should have been someone other than Donald Jr."

It seems to me that Trump Jr.'s primary offense was failing to sufficiently distance himself and his candidate from the Russian source.

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