Donald Trump, Jr. just released the entire e-mail chain that the New York Times alluded to (without actually seeing it) in a front page story designed to advance the Russian-Trump collusion narrative.
Good for him. It would be wonderful if this were the usual course, in the Trump administration and every other one. Stop stonewalling, get the facts out, and take whatever comes.
1. New York criminal defense attorney Eric Turkewitz, seemingly displaying the ethics of his breed, implies that Trump, Jr.’s attorney would have been telling him to delete the messages. That would be unethical, and quite probably spoliation, since the e-mails could be reasonably seen as likely to be sought in an investigation already underway. My assumption is that Trump’s lawyer approved the release. Maybe Eric would have too.
2. Vox, among others, are tracking down partisan election law lawyers who will argue that young Donald was violating election laws. I’m extremely dubious of that.
The relevant statute language:
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.
Unless one is determined to read the statute as meaning what it pretty clearly does not, “value” means monetary value, not “useful.” “Value” could reasonable mean services, like spending time and resources hacking DNC computers. But handing over a document already acquired? How is that value if it didn’t cost anything? If the information was not illegally obtained by the Russians, and we have no way of knowing whether it was, then simply receiving proffered information that might be useful in a campaign doesn’t involve a campaign in a crime.
3. “Colluding” is a pejorative term, but not a legal one. Is an American “colluding” with a foreign power once he or she has been told that the power wants a particular result, and the American takes steps to accomplish the same result, but in his own interests? Is that a crime? No.
4. Of course, the meeting involved never resulted in any “valuable” information being conveyed. So now the argument is that this was an attempted election law violation. Thinner and thinner…
5. I assume that the news media will continue to hype the story to advance the “collusion” narrative. The e-mails at least provide some facts to evaluate what occurred. What I see is a a campaign team’s attempt receive useful information from a Russian source, based on the characterization by a single individual in e-mails, resulting in a meeting with a Russian lawyer not in fact in the government, that Trump, Jr. may not have even known was Russian, that ended up conveying nothing useful at all. It’s not “a nothing-burger” but it isn’t a scandal or a likely crime either, and certainly not worthy of front page headlines based on what is known.
6. The anti-Trump mob obviously doesn’t see enough to form a lynching party in Don, Jr.’s e-mails, so it is already claiming they must have been doctored. That would be incredibly stupid, even for a Trump. This reaction does illustrate how nothing will ever stop the Anti-Trump Furies from their Ahab-like obsession.
7. There is no such person as “The Crown Prosecutor” of Russia. Make of that what you will.
Pointer: Liz Shield