Reporting that Donald Trump Jr.’s June 9, 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalie Veselnitskaya was the smoking gun proving Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin, the New York Times once again goes out on a flimsy limb. Trump Jr. responded by releasing all emails showing that whatever Veselnitskaya shared it was utterly worthless information, with no further meetings scheduled. In the course of a grueling campaign, both sides seek dirt on their opponents. Hillary paid former MI6 operation Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump, so popular that it was used by former FBI Director James Comey to order warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act {FISA] Court to wiretap Trump campaign officials. Trump Jr.’s meeting included his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, both with known Russian ties.

Jumping all over the Times’ bombshell, Democrats investigating in Congress couldn’t contain their glee, believing they finally have the smoking gun to prove Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin. New York Times emphasized Veselnitskaya’s ties to the Kremlin without any proof, something already disputed by Russian officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov today said Veselnitskaya was not known to anyone in the Kremlin, pointing out that the Russian government can’t control the whereabouts or doings of Russian attorneys. Whatever dirt about former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or the Democratic National Committee Veselynikskaya brought to the meeting, it doesn’t mean she was acting on behalf of the Russian government. Making a point of Veselyniksaya’s connection to the Kremlin, showed New York Times’ stretching the facts.

House and Senate investigators wanted to question Trump Jr., especially over why he characterized the June 9, 2016 meeting as being about Russian adoption. “No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” said Trump Jr. regarding the June 9, 2016 meeting. Unaware of how the alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election would sweep Capitol Hill, Trump Jr. gladly listened to anyone who could provide opposition research on Hillary. “It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information,” something the New York Times ignored in its story. Lead Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one of the most anti-Trump members of Congress, called the New York Timess’ story a “New Day,” a “stunning” development proving Trump’s Russian collusion. Schiff couldn’t contain his delight over the New York Times’ story.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, jumped the gun, insisting that Trump Jr. testify before the committee. “This is the first time that the public has seen clear evidence of senior level members of the Trump campaign meeting Russians to try to obtain information that might hurt the campaign of Hillary Clinton,” said Warner. Calling the New York Times story “evidence,” shows how far Warner is willing to go to show collusion. All the story really shows is that Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Hillary. Warner doesn’t mention that Peskov has disavowed Veselyniksaya’s ties to the Kremlin. Warner and other Democrats leap to the conclusion of Trump campaign collusion, not, as it looks, that a money-publicity-seeking Russian attorney wanted to offer some dirt on Hillary in the heat of the campaign.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, another of Trump’s worst Capitol Hill critics, called this checkmate. “It’s a dead bang case that should be before the Judiciary Committee right now,” said Feinstein, already seeing enough evidence to convict Trump of collusion. “This is aired front page in the newspapers, it should be aired front page in the U.S. Senate,” showing her partisan zeal. Based on the Times’ story, all anyone knows is that some unknown Russian attorney promised some dirt on Hillary, nothing else. Showing the extreme nature of Washington’s politics, partisan newspaper articles become evidence, depending on your political persuasion. Schiff sees the “changing” stories as proof of some cover-up, not that the June 9 meeting involved adoption issues and someone promising to dig up dirty on Hillary.

If the New York Times or any Congressional investigator can’t establish Veselynikaya’s ties to the Kremlin, then they have nothing other that some publicity-seeking nut trying to offer up some dirt on Hillary. Leaping to the conclusion that she’s got direct ties to Putin or the Kremlin shows how another story gets blown out of proportion. Seeing this as the smoking gun for Trump’s Russian collusion isn’t supported in the facts, as presented. Unless the New York Times or Congressional investigators can prove Veselyniksaya worked for the Kremlin, they have nothing other than one person, who happened to be Russian, coming forward with some dirt on Hillary. Releasing the email train and agreeing to testify, Trump Jr. shows that there’s nothing to the story, other than hype. “Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know,” said Trump Jr., hardly a smoking gun.