So What’s Next in the Trump Saga?

Trump Maladministration

The son of the POTUS has pretty much admitted to breaking the law, in public.

In two tweets this morning, Donald Trump Jr. flatly confirmed that the son, son-in-law and campaign chairman of the president of the United States actively sought information that had been clearly and unequivocally described to him as coming from the Russian government — precisely because he believed it would damage his opponent in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump Jr. tweeted out the entire email chain of an exchange between him and publicist Rob Goldstone, who had sought to arrange a meeting for him with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, at the behest of one of Goldstone’s clients, pop star Emin Agalarov. The exchange had previously been reported to show that Trump Jr. had cause to know that at this meeting, he would be given information about Hillary Clinton, the source for which was somehow the Russian government.

But is this really against the law?

“The emails are simply put damning as a legal matter,” explains Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel and current editor of the legal site Just Security. “The text of the emails provide very clear evidence of participation in a scheme to involve the Russian government in federal election interference, in a form that is prohibited by federal criminal law.”

Jens David Ohlin, a law professor at Cornell University, is even blunter: “It’s a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy.”

Trump Jr.‘s decision to take the meeting in and of itself likely violated campaign finance law, which does not require you to actually get anything useful from foreigners. In other words, the mere fact that Trump Jr. asked for information from a Russian national about Clinton might have constituted a federal crime.

“The law states that no person shall knowingly solicit or accept from a foreign national any contribution to a campaign of an item of value,” Goodman tells me. “There is now a clear case that Donald Trump Jr. has met all the elements of the law, which is a criminally enforced federal statute.”

Per Vox, here is the statute in question. Here are a couple of pertinent passages:

A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election. …

… A solicitation is an oral or written communication that, construed as reasonably understood in the context in which it is made, contains a clear message asking, requesting, or recommending that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.

See also The Most Gobsmacking Details From Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting Email Chain.

The question is, what happens next? Is somebody going to indict Junior? Who would that be? What’s the follow up? I honestly don’t know.

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  1. uncledad  •  Jul 11, 2017 @5:09 pm

    Is somebody going to indict Junior? Who would that be?

    Well in an administration that wasn’t connected to the Russian Mob the attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions would indict the little rat-fucker, but he can’t since he’s recused himself from anything to do with the campaign (him being involved in the cover-up as well) so I guess its up to Rod Rosenstein? I bet old Rosenstein rues the day he accepted an appointment from this criminal enterprise!

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 11, 2017 @5:23 pm

    Eyebrow-deep in t-RUMPLE-THIN-sKKKin’s layers of lying poo-poo, Mitch McConnell continues to pooh-pooh all of the new evidence of the t-RUMP campaign being everything that he accused Hillary Clinton and her campaign of being guilty of!

    With conservatives/Republicans, everything accusatory coming from their lying lips, is pure projection.
    Just don’t tell the MSM.

    And don’t tell the MSM that it’s the conservatives/Republicans who are behind the complete dysfunction in our government.
    And that BOTH sides are NOT responsible! Only one side is!
    It’ll be like telling a young child that there’s no such thing as Santa Claus.
    Or, the Easter Bunny.

    It’ll upset the lil’ tykes in our MSM’s whole world view.
    They might become cynical and jaded.
    And then, they might actually feel like they should do their fucking jobs!

  3. paradoctor  •  Jul 11, 2017 @7:59 pm

    That does it, the emperor is naked, and he has tiny hands.
    But the naked emperor is surrounded by equally naked courtiers. They think that they’ve legalized crime, so the status quo continues… for now.

  4. aj  •  Jul 11, 2017 @7:59 pm

    It came through Agalarov. If you or I had tried to get a meeting with Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort, they would not have dropped everything to sit down with us. They wanted Russian “help”.

  5. Swami  •  Jul 11, 2017 @8:05 pm

    Well, you really have to commend his transparency.

  6. paintedjaguar  •  Jul 11, 2017 @8:19 pm

    Provision of an unspecified “item of value”. So you’re trying to say that for example, if a Russian national had offered to provide Chelsea Clinton with a compilation of NYTimes articles unfavorable to Trump (clearly involving at the least labor, therefore value), that this would make a prosecutable case under the referenced statute? OK, then.

    By the way, still waiting for that prosecution of Bill Clinton for his public and unarguable violation of campaign law regarding interference with polling places during the Dem primaries.

  7. Doug  •  Jul 11, 2017 @8:51 pm

    I am not an attorney but obviously an attorney helped craft this non-statement.
    MS. SANDERS: I’ve got a quick statement that I will read from the President: “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency.”
    And beyond that, I’m going to have to refer everything on this matter to Don Jr.’s counsel and outside counsel, and won’t have anything else to add beyond that today.
    Q That’s your words, at the end?
    MS. SANDERS: Yeah, the end, I’m sorry.
    So SOMEBODY with a law degree decided everything on the matter will go through Don Jr’s counsel and outside counsel. If that’s not an announcement that there may be criminal liability, I don’t know what is.

  8. grannyeagle  •  Jul 11, 2017 @9:24 pm

    I am not a lawyer but I can recognize BS when I see it. I wonder if Sr. is planning to throw Jr. under the bus to save his own skin. I really hate to imagine what Sr. will do if Jr. is found guilty of a crime. Bet Jr. is really scared right now.

  9. Swami  •  Jul 11, 2017 @10:48 pm
  10. Bill Bush  •  Jul 12, 2017 @12:00 am

    Trey Gowdy is still too busy with Benghazi to have time to be concerned with this, I’m sure.

  11. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 12, 2017 @1:26 am

    Donny Jr. accomplished a rare feat:
    He didn’t just put his foot in his mouth.
    No, that’s easy.
    It’s something we’ve all done, still do, and will continue to do.

    Nor did he just shoot himself in the foot.
    No, again, that’s fairly easy for all of us to do!

    What the ‘Derpfather’s’ oldest boy, Sonny, accomplished, was the equivalent of driving himself to a toll booth, and shoot himself in the foot after putting it in his mouth.
    That’s gotta hurt!

    Luckily, he’ll have a few years in the stir to heal that wound, and think about things, with a minimum of distractions – depending, of course, on the prison level, and who he gets as a cellmate!

    He’s a rich punk, so I doubt he’ll get a long or harsh sentence in some really tough prison facility.
    More like a Fed prison where the term “hard time” reflects the trouble he’ll get booking a tee-time at their 3-hole golf course.

  12. Doug  •  Jul 12, 2017 @10:45 am

    I have read that the fallout from the meeting may fall heaviest of Jared Kushner, who also attended the meeting – Don Jr. is not a member of the administration. Assuming that’s true, Kushner could suffer the same fate as Flynn – forced resignation to attend full-time to legal matters. If that happens, the person who benefits most is Steve Bannon, who has had to compete with Kushner for the ear of the president. SO – who do you think leaked to the New York Times?

  13. Diane  •  Jul 12, 2017 @11:21 am

    Forget that Hillary Clinton was a presidential candidate.
    She was a former Sec. Of State.
    Isn’t it your duty as a GOOD US citizen to notify the FBI if you are offered potentially damning evidence of wrongdoing by a SOS?

  14. csm  •  Jul 12, 2017 @11:24 am

    This may or may not fall under the purview of Mueller ‘s shop, since Trump the even Dumber is not part of the admin. He was part of the campaign team so he may be fair game.

    They got him dead to rights on criminal charges, conspiracy on some level. I predict they’ll throw the book at him to either get him to talk or use that as leverage to force Daddy to resign, or else they put junior dummy away for years..

    But I can imagine that not in his wildest dreams did Putin ever think he’d get this far. Trump the Chump!

  15. LongHairedWeirdo  •  Jul 12, 2017 @12:00 pm

    I’ve seen conflicting reports on whether this is illegal or not. A lot of it depends on point of view.

    If an attorney who is not currently connected to the Kremlin speaks damaging information about Clinton, that’s not a crime, and offering to listen isn’t either.

    But accepting or soliciting items of value – including oppositional research that is normally paid for – from a foreign national to help in the election is illegal.

    What *should* be the elephant in the room is something I’m sure Mueller will chase down. Kushner was caught trying to negotiate a back channel to Russia, circumventing all accountability from the US government. The GOP didn’t even bother to try to deny that – they just tried to spin it as “well, if he shares all of his information, it’s no different from any other back-channel!”

    I’m surprised it’s not the elephant in the room now! I guess people don’t have long attention sp-OOH! Shiny!

    Anyway: Junior should realize that he’s in the conspiracy now and if Kushner took one overt act to commit treason, and if Junior didn’t take action to remove himself from the conspiracy, he’s in the proverbial sheep dip.

  16. Billikin  •  Jul 12, 2017 @2:14 pm

    Be on the lookout for a Presidential pardon.

    After an indictment but probably before the trial.

  17. Swami  •  Jul 12, 2017 @6:37 pm

    This one goes out to Jared….

  18. Swami  •  Jul 13, 2017 @7:42 am

    Will they get away with it? That seems to be my fear given the progress of watching Trump steamroll his way to where he is today. Morality hasn’t mounted a sufficient defence to stop him. Trump makes Satan look like a fuckin’ amatuer when it comes to lying, and the GOP political powers that be don’t possess the moral fiber and love of country to even raise an objection. Sad!

  19. paintedjaguar  •  Jul 13, 2017 @5:43 pm

    And a little context from down in the memory hole… be careful what you wish for when it comes to prosecutions…

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