The son of the POTUS has pretty much admitted to breaking the law, in public.
InÂ twoÂ tweetsÂ 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 â€” precisely because he believed it would damage his opponent in the 2016 presidentialÂ 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 Goldstoneâ€™s clients, pop starÂ Emin Agalarov. The exchange hadÂ previously been reportedÂ 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?
â€œThe emails are simply put damning as a legal matter,â€ explains Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel and current editor of the legal site Just Security. â€œThe 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.â€
Jens David Ohlin, a law professor at Cornell University, is even blunter: â€œItâ€™s a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy.â€
Trump Jr.â€˜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.
â€œThe law states that no person shall knowingly solicit or accept from a foreign national any contribution to a campaign of an item of value,â€ Goodman tells me. â€œThere is now a clear case that Donald Trump Jr. has met all the elements of the law, which is a criminally enforced federal statute.â€
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. …
…Â 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.
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.