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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump's latest intrigues echo his previous troubles 

This Facebook screenshot provided by The Campaign Legal

This Facebook screenshot provided by The Campaign Legal Center shows, from left, Donald Trump Jr., Tommy Hicks Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, as posted on May 21, 2018. Credit: The Campaign Legal Center via AP

History rarely repeats itself so quickly.

Once again, a controversy features Donald Trump Jr. meeting with political people with ties to Eastern Europe as part of one of his father's campaigns.

There's a viral photo of the namesake son dining in May 2018 with Trump supporters Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Both Soviet-born Florida residents are co-defendants in an alleged campaign-finance scheme that put $325,000 in a pro-Trump PAC.

Also in the photo, posted proudly by Parnas, is Trump Jr.'s friend Tommy Hicks Jr., a GOP operative and fundraiser.

Last time, the buzz was all about another Trump Jr. campaign meeting — at Trump Tower. The participants in June 2016 were since-imprisoned campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, among others.

A different Trump Jr. friend, Rob Goldstone, helped set up the meeting with an email indicating Veselnitskaya would have dirt to share on foe Hillary Clinton.

Other recent Trump news also rang familiar.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are eying Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, both on his own behalf and the president's.

So far Trump has expressed support for Giuliani, claiming New York’s  "greatest mayor" now faces a "witch hunt."

This one's reminiscent of April 2018 when federal agents in Manhattan raided the offices of Trump’s previous personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, then under investigation for dealings on his own behalf and to help Trump pay off women who said they had affairs with him.

Before Cohen flipped and went to prison, Trump also called that Southern District of New York probe a “witch hunt.”

Another eerie echo sounded Oct. 3 when Trump called on a rival nation to go after Democrat Joe Biden. He told reporters “China should start an investigation into the [Joe and Hunter Biden], because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine."

The ex-vice president's son Hunter Biden had cozy positions and business dealings there but hasn't been charged with wrongdoing.

Trump declared in July 2016: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” an allusion  to Clinton messages purportedly deleted from a server.

As before, Trump is calling all legal inquiries into his own actions illegitimate.

He tries to brand the House impeachment process a coup attempt, much as he did the narrowly-focused Mueller investigation.

Once again, Democrats portray Trump's refusal to cooperate with probers as the true Constitutional  transgression.

The week before last, Trump bowed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and allowed the invasion of Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria. Top Republicans criticized the move alongside Democrats.

One year ago, Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was reportedly assassinated under orders from the kingdom.

Trump then was as collegial with the royal family as he has been with Erdogan. Last year too, Republican lawmakers  criticized Trump’s stance, as did Democrats.


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