It appears Trump Jr.'s email will do a little more damage than some believe. Despite being "vague and inconclusive," WSJ reports that "during routine tracking of Russian espionage" intel agencies "detected conversations in 2015" in which Russian government officials discussed associates of Donald Trump, according to current and former U.S. officials.
As The Hill reports, American intelligence intercepts recorded members of the Russian government talking about Donald Trump and his allies months before he launched his presidential bid, according to a new report.
The allegations come from a new Wall Street Journal report that describes the 2015 conversations as containing "vague and inconclusive information." According to the report, the intercepted conversations included talk of meetings between Russians and Trump allies.
WSJ admits it isn’t clear which Trump associates or advisers the Russians were referring to, or whether they had any connection to his presidential aspirations, and noted:
The reports on the 2015 conversations weren’t particularly illuminating, the people familiar with them said.
In that respect, the reports in and of themselves weren’t alarming. But they did have officials asking each other, “What’s going on?” one former official said.
The reports were gathered by intelligence agencies that routinely monitor Russian espionage against the U.S. Such efforts can include monitoring phone calls and emails as well as information from informants. The efforts weren’t aimed at Mr. Trump or his associates, these people said.
* * *
So "vague and inconclusive" information that happened months before Trump was even considering running, gathered by "intel agencies that routinely monitor" everything, now appear fair game for both leaks to the media and of course congressional investigators.
In summary - Trump Jr's email has given investigators just the excuse to delve into every and any NSA (clearly the source of the leak) intercept, from as far back as you want to go, in hopes fo finding yet another 'smoking gun'.
While the intelligence community reportedly didn't see the conversations as major revelations, the Journal reports that:
...as with other new revelations in the probes of Russian interference in the election, the Trump Jr. emails enable investigators to look at earlier reports with fresh eyes, and to ask new questions, the current and former officials said.
And a whole new can of potential worms opens up...