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EXCLUSIVE: My (not very) close (not very) personal Facebook friendship with Rob Goldstone

REVEALED: Not very much. Still, he’s the guy in the middle of Trump’s biggest scandal, and this is what he posted this week.

Rob Goldstone / Facebook
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

I have 812 Facebook friends. One of them is Rob Goldstone.

Up until last weekend, this would be a lousy way to start a story. Now it is slightly better: Goldstone, as most of you know by now, is the PR guy smack in the middle of the newest and most significant Trump scandal.

It’s the one that seems to indicate, at a minimum, that the President’s innermost circle was interested in receiving clandestine aid from Russia during last year’s election.

So, back to my Facebook friendship with Rob Goldstone. It’s a Facebook friendship — I barely know Rob Goldstone.

If my memory is correct, we connected more than a decade ago, when I worked at Forbes and he was doing PR work for EMI Music Publishing. I have a couple numbers for him in my digital rolodex, and apparently we linked up on Facebook at some point. The last contact I had with him was in 2009, when he wanted to connect me to the director of “Man on Wire.”

That’s the extent of it.

I’m writing this now only because Goldstone seems to have gone mute since Tuesday, once Donald Trump Jr. and the New York Times published emails that Goldstone and Trump sent to each other last year.

So we don’t really know what he thinks about being in the middle of this story. I’ve asked him, of course, via Facebook and SMS. But until he replies or pipes up somewhere else, the only other clues we have are the friends-only Facebook posts he has made in the last few days.

So here you go: On Monday, when Goldstone was already fully enmeshed in the story — but before the world had seen the full content of the emails, which show Goldstone purporting to represent “Russia and its government” in an effort to “provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” Clinton — Goldstone published this photo of himself in Greece:

At some point in the next day or two, Goldstone also sent out a note to his Facebook friends, apologizing for any pestering they had received from journalists who wanted to write about him. But I didn’t get a screen capture of it, and now it seems to have disappeared.

And on Wednesday, Goldstone sent a link to this BBC story, which is not flattering to him, the Trump family or anyone involved.

I get the first two notes: A flip, semi-dirty joke from a guy whose persona is predicated on not taking himself seriously; and a second, more sincere acknowledgment that he’s in the middle of something very serious. The last one is odd, and makes me wonder if he meant to forward it instead of posting it.

Again, I’d love to hear from Goldstone directly, so I can find out what he was thinking. And I have many other questions, as well. But I don’t think my Facebook friendship will get me to the front of the line. I also hope he gets through this, since it seems like he’s in a potentially fraught position, with many new enemies.

In the meantime, if you want any more insight into Goldstone, I can also offer this post, made by David Wilson, his partner in the Oui 2 PR firm. Earlier today, Wilson linked to this New Yorker essay about Goldstone and the odd figures in the Trump family orbit. He says that “for those who have been asking for an accurate account of what transpired, you needn’t look much further than this article,” and highlights this excerpt:

"Was Goldstone really angling for access to the Trumps? His e-mails suggest at least one other explanation. He had a client, and he made a connection; this was his business. That the scandal is now so clear, and Trump, Jr.’s complicity so undeniable, is due to the directness with which Goldstone described the situation. The meeting was with a ‘Russian government lawyer.’ The information came from the ‘Crown prosecutor’ and was ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.’ And here was another question: why would he be so explicit? Perhaps, as flacks do, he was just making a sketchy request clear. Here is what this meeting will actually be. Run if you want to."

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