Trump, Jr. Under the Bus

I’m in Israel at the moment, attending a scientific conference. So I’ve been a bit out of the loop, politically. But the revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected attorney in the hopes of turning up dirt on Hillary Clinton is extremely bad. Probably not Trump-will-be-impeached bad but unethical, slimy and disgusting. The best defense I’ve heard — I mean other than “the media lies about stuff the White House is telling them!” — is that he was too dumb to know that this was a bad thing to do.

We’re gonna have four years of this garbage. It’s only going to get worse.

Update: Jesus Christ.

Comments are closed.

  1. CM

    And yet none of this is remotely surprising, given who we are dealing with. Anything other than a complete clusterfuck would have always been a miracle. But again, apparently it never mattered how much damage was foreseeably going to be caused b, so long as Hillary wasn’t POTUS.

    Thumb up 1

  2. louctiel

    Nice try but a fail.

    The Code of Federal Regulations makes the law immunizing Trump Jr.’s actions precisely clear: any foreign national individual may volunteer personal services to a federal candidate or federal political committee without making a contribution. The law provides this volunteer “exemption” as long as the individual performing the service is not compensated by anyone on the campaign. See 11 CFR 100.74. For example, as the Federal Election Commission advises all, “an individual can provide volunteer services to a candidate or party without considering the value of those service a contribution to the candidate or party.” Section 30121 of Title 52 does not apply to voluntary activity or services. The thing “of value” must be actual money, or its transferable equivalent, not a volunteer of services or information. Otherwise, if volunteering information in coordination with a campaign constituted donations, everyone from John Harwood to Chuck Todd (and maybe all of CNN) made millions in donations to the Hillary campaign, as WikiLeaks emails disclosed.

    Hence, legally, Donald Trump Jr. taking a meeting at the request of a family friend, to hear someone wanting to volunteer information about your Dad’s adversary, can legally be no crime.

    source: http://lawnewz.com/opinion/why-donald-trump-jr-is-innocent-period/

    But if you want to play the game under your rules, be prepared:

    Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

    A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446

    Thumb up 0

  3. stogy

    For example, as the Federal Election Commission advises all, “an individual can provide volunteer services to a candidate or party without considering the value of those service a contribution to the candidate or party.”

    There are a couple of issues here. It seems from the e-mails that Trump Junior was willing to meet someone who he had been informed had the backing of the Russian government and that the Kremlin were very supportive of and wanted to assist the Trump campaign. In this case, whether or not she was a “volunteer” may well be irrelevant: it may well fall under solicitation of aid from a foreign power.

    It’s also worth remembering that there were other ties between the Trump campaign members and Russia – particularly through Peter W. Smith and Flynn – and that groups capable of hacking the DNC were actively being sought out. There are multiple federal laws that may have been broken here – soliciting, wire fraud, identity theft, as well as conspiracy to commit all/some of the above. And lots of unanswered questions about the extent of the campaign’s involvement, which may constitute aiding and abetting computer fraud. Trump’s own very public call for the Russians to hack Hillary to find the missing e-mails in the debate may yet come back to haunt him.

    Regardless of this, the administration now having to backpedal on the last two months of “fake media”, “no evidence of collusion”,”Dems blame shifting for election loss” and “call it all off already” pretty much undermines any credibility that this administration still had (that Republican members of Congress are still obfuscating on this – apart from perhaps McCain – is not making them look good).

    I think it is really time for a full investigation into financial and business ties between the Trump organization and Russian banks and oligarchs, and with the Kremlin. This means releasing his tax returns – at the very least to investigators.

    But if you want to play the game under your rules, be prepared

    Ukraine didn’t arrange to hack one of the major parties in the election. Nor was it particularly successful in interfering with the election results, as your story from Politico points out. The best results they achieved was the removal of Manafort from Trump’s team.

    Having said that, yeah, if Hillary or members of her team broke the law, then they should be subject to the same standards.

    Thumb up 1

  4. louctiel

    In this case, whether or not she was a “volunteer” may well be irrelevant: it may well fall under solicitation of aid from a foreign power.

    Once again, the “aid” must have a tangible value.  There must be a payment.  Do you have any evidence of a payment in this case?

    Regardless of this, the administration now having to backpedal on the last two months of “fake media”, “no evidence of collusion”,”Dems blame shifting for election loss” and “call it all off already” pretty much undermines any credibility that this administration still had (that Republican members of Congress are still obfuscating on this – apart from perhaps McCain – is not making them look good).

    The administration has said there was no collusion into the hacking of the election.  Even you aren’t accusing them of that.

    Ukraine didn’t arrange to hack one of the major parties in the election. Nor was it particularly successful in interfering with the election results, as your story from Politico points out.

    So the Ukraine interfered with the election, but just not to the extent the Russians did?  Is that your claim now?

    What you are calling “collusion” was the exchange of information.  That’s it.  There is no crime.

    Thumb up 0

  5. stogy

    Once again, the “aid” must have a tangible value.  There must be a payment.  Do you have any evidence of a payment in this case?

    No, this misses the point. It doesn’t matter about her role as a volunteer or not a volunteer. If Trump Jnr. was under impression that he was meeting someone who had information provided by the Russian government – and that seems to be the case from the e-mail exchange – then it is completely irrelevant.

    Information can be considered a “thing of value,” and there are cases to back that up. It may also be a crime for foreign-paid spies to provide information that is sought out by political parties, but this hasn’t been tested in court to my knowledge, and I personally doubt it would stand up.

    But if Trump Jnr. can be shown to have been soliciting such information, then he’s in a lot of trouble.

    The administration has said there was no collusion into the hacking of the election.  Even you aren’t accusing them of that.

    No, I am saying that I don’t know whether there was a conspiracy to commit a crime (“collusion” itself is not a crime) or not. Crimes have been committed in the hacking of the DNC. We need to know the extent of the Trump teams involvement. And the Peter Smith stories from the WSJ last week did clearly indicate some links between the Trump team and Russian hackers, and these were later backed up by others.

    If you are referring to the hacking of voting machines or results, then no, I have seen no evidence for making that kind of allegation.

    But the administration has lied, misled, obfuscated and attacked the news media as fake. Members of the Trump team have also done some of this while under oath. You’ll have to forgive me if I set slightly higher bar for believing their statements on anything.

    What you are calling “collusion” was the exchange of information.  That’s it.  There is no crime.

    OK. So you are arguing that Hillary and her team should not be investigated. Maybe, maybe not.

    Thumb up 1

  6. stogy

    Just to go back to this point:

    So the Ukraine interfered with the election, but just not to the extent the Russians did?  Is that your claim now?

    The DNC hacking is much more serious – as it is clearly a federal crime, and we know it was committed. There is fairly substantial publicly available evidence that the Russian government was behind it. We don’t know the extent to which the Trump administration was involved in this.

    They’re entitled to a presumption of innocence, same as everyone else, but given that Trump Jnr. and Manafort and Kushner have now very clearly shown a willingness to engage with the Russian government to obtain information on Clinton, and that other members of Trump’s team were actively seeking out hacking groups (including some with known Kremlin ties), it doesn’t look good.

    I can’t see the Trump presidency being anything more than a lame duck administration from now on. Republicans in Congress would be well-advised to reduce contact and expressions of support to a minimum.

    Thumb up 1

  7. Hal_10000 *

    louctiel, I will agree it’s not clear that a law was broken. But meeting with a Russian govt operative to try to swing the election is slimy, unethical and unAmerican. It’s the kind of thing I’ve loathed Ted Kennedy for years over.  And it flies in direct contradiction to everything Trump has been saying for a year.

    Keep in mind also: we’re still early.  Mueller is running a tight ship with very few leaks.  This is just the stuff coming out of the White House.

    Thumb up 1

  8. CM

    What it does prove is that they’ve told yet further lies about meetings with Russians. So further/future denials will carry even less weight – although of course the real hardcore supporters will continue to accept absolutely anything from them and defend absolutely everything until the death.

    Thumb up 2

  9. Iconoclast

    But again, apparently it never mattered how much damage was foreseeably going to be caused……

    What it does prove is that they’ve told yet further lies about meetings with Russians.

    Geez, you’re acting like the sky is falling. Well, it isn’t. Administrations lie. You said so yourself. Hillary and Obama lied about American deaths in Benghazi. So what? Obama lied about Obamacare.

    But there is still no evidence that Trump Jr. actually obtained any info, or that any crime was committed. Still nothing on which to hang the “Impeach Trump” leftist wet dream.

    Thumb up 1

  10. Iconoclast

    Geez, you’re acting like the sky is falling.

    Hmm, well, maybe for leftists, as long as Trump remains in office, the sky really is falling…..the resident leftists sure seem to be acting like it.

    Thumb up 0

  11. louctiel

    No, this misses the point. It doesn’t matter about her role as a volunteer or not a volunteer.

    The law is irrelevant?  Just skin the man because he acted legally?

    Wow.

    Information can be considered a “thing of value,”

    Not under the statute in play.

    But the administration has lied, misled, obfuscated and attacked the news media as fake.

    That’s your contention.  I would caution you to go back to the CNN tapes where they say the story is a “nothing burger.”

    The DNC hacking is much more serious – as it is clearly a federal crime, and we know it was committed.

    Are Russians outside the US under US federal law?  Does jurisdiction extend to them?

    What the “hack” accomplished was it showed the deep corruption within the DNC.  The odd thing is that now you seem to be arguing that the Trump administration and team are somehow corrupt for the exposing of the DNC.

    It makes ones head spin the contortions you go through in your hatred.

    Thumb up 0

  12. louctiel

    But meeting with a Russian govt operative to try to swing the election is slimy, unethical and unAmerican.

    Meeting to get true information is “slimy?”  Is that where you really want to go?

    Has the DNC denied or proven false about anything that was released by the Russians?  I don’t think they have but I could be wrong.

    What we seem to be talking about is whether the exposing of the truth “interfered” with the elections.  I would suspect that most people would think that truth would be a benefit to American voters.

    Apparently leftists and Never Trumpers (who are increasingly difficult to discern the difference) disagree.

    For many people, this election was between two candidates who are deeply flawed.  Many people felt they had a choice between one bad person and a worse person.

    People chose the bad person and kicked the worse person to the curb.

     

    Thumb up 0

  13. stogy

    or that any crime was committed. 

    Once again, the hacking of the DNC was a federal crime. There is substantial publicly available evidence that Russian groups were involved. There are well-supported allegations of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian hacking groups.

    For all of the fireworks today, the real story was last week in the WSJ. Even if what emerged today was not illegal (and we don’t know that for sure yet), it strengthens the case against the administration that they were willing to engage in fairly unethical behavior. The point was not that Trump did not get any useful info but the lengths to which he was prepared to go to get hold of it.

    You just can’t keep saying that no crime has been committed. There has been, and we know there has been.

    Thumb up 1

  14. stogy

    The law is irrelevant?  Just skin the man because he acted legally?

    No, because that isn’t the aspect of the law that matters here.

    Not under the statute in play

    Yes, under the statute in play. As I indicated above, a thing of value can be information if a body or government has “paid for” that information during its collection. This doesn’t mean that a court will necessarily interpret it in the way that I have suggested above, but the case is not nearly as cut and dried as you suggest.

    I would caution you to go back to the CNN tapes where they say the story is a “nothing burger.”

    It hasn’t been a nothing burger for quite some time. Just because some guy at CNN (who was in another department) said this doesn’t make it any more true than if you or I said it.

    Are Russians outside the US under US federal law?  Does jurisdiction extend to them?

    US authorities have been able to prosecute foreign hackers since 2001.

    What the “hack” accomplished was it showed the deep corruption within the DNC.  

    I am no particular fan of the DNC, and there was certainly a lot of unethical behavior going on within the DNC with regard to Bernie Sanders candidature. I didn’t see much evidence of a crime in the emails I looked at, but I am open to that. Most of the emails were simply day-to-day campaign communications with a fair amount of bitching and sniping thrown in.

    But the hacking was a crime regardless. It would be a crime if the positions were reversed, too, and it was the GOP that had been hacked.

    It makes ones head spin the contortions you go through in your hatred

    Hatred? I don’t hate the Trumps, or the Republicans. That’s you projecting. I just want to see good, intelligent and competent government. The Trump administration have never been capable of delivering that.

    Thumb up 3

  15. Iconoclast

    You just can’t keep saying that no crime has been committed.

    In the context of this thread, which is Trump Jr’s actions, I certainly can say that.

    Thumb up 0

  16. Iconoclast

    You just can’t keep saying that no crime has been committed.

    In the context of this thread, which is Trump Jr’s actions, I certainly can say that, until evidence of otherwise becomes available.

    Thumb up 1

  17. CM

    Administrations lie. You said so yourself. Hillary and Obama lied about American deaths in Benghazi. So what? Obama lied about Obamacare.

    LOL. Exactly how far do you stretch this equivalence defence? Will be interesting to see.

    I see the strategy (in general) has recently and noticeably shifted from ‘there was no collusion’ to ‘collusion is not a crime’.

    Geez, you’re acting like the sky is falling. Well, it isn’t. 

    Certainly looking structurally unsound when it comes to the Trump administration and any legitimacy they have. Increasingly looking like a lame duck. But I’m sure it’s all the fault of the MAINSTREAM MEDIA.

    Hmm, well, maybe for leftists, as long as Trump remains in office, the sky really isfalling…..the resident leftists sure seem to be acting like it.

    I guess it depends on how you define “sky is falling”. In a lot of ways the rest of the world is taking the opportunity to disengage with America and form new arrangements/relationships, due to the inability to deal with Trump and because of his isolationism, lack of knowledge, and desire to take everything backwards. Trump could ultimately be a great thing for the world (outside the US).

    People chose the bad person and kicked the worse person to the curb.

    True, substantially more individuals chose Hillary. Trump only won because the Electoral College system, but nobody votes knowing what anyone else is going to do, especially in specific places (where it ended up counting).

    Thumb up 1

  18. stogy

    What we seem to be talking about is whether the exposing of the truth “interfered” with the elections.  I would suspect that most people would think that truth would be a benefit to American voters

    Actually, louctiel, I think a much larger concern is whether anything was promised to the Russian government in return for this “help”, and whether or not the Kremlin still has a hold over anyone serving in the current administration.

    Just the false declarations about the meeting made in their security clearance applications by the two members of the Trump team who are now in the administration provides ample leverage for a foreign government. Is there more? We don’t know. The Russians certainly do. Who leaked the e-mails? Was it the Russian government, in which case, what if this was a warning shot across the bow? What we have seen is a steady stream of denials, followed by leaks of evidence, followed by walkbacks on everything that was said before.  This exchange took place two weeks after the DNC hacking, and several weeks before the e-mails were dumped onto Wikileaks. Was this discussed at the meeting? Are we going to get another walkback in another week’s time? Should Jnr. and Kushner have their security clearance rescinded, even temporarily?

    This is speculation, sure – but you are ignoring the broader implications of this. There is just too much we don’t know and the significance of what we do know is rather worrying.

    Thumb up 1

  19. CM

    Actually, louctiel, I think a much larger concern is whether anything was promised to the Russian government in return for this “help”, and whether or not the Kremlin still has a hold over anyone serving in the current administration.

    Exactly. Just so many ‘coincidences’, not least of which is the Trump attitude towards assisting Russia with sanctions and downplaying their role and generally being very pro-Russia. Another strange one (or two) is that a couple of days before Don Jr was ecstatically meeting a Russian to hopefully get dirt on Hillary, his Dad signalled he would deliver a “major speech” to discuss “all the things that have taken place with the Clintons” and then just 40 minutes after the meeting he was tweeting about her emails.

    Thumb up 2

  20. Hal_10000 *

    You can twist and turn all you want. But, in the end, you still have the President’s son, campaign manager and most trusted advisor meeting with Russians with the explicit stated purpose of the Russian govt helping out their campaign.

    And I must say again: Clinton’s unethical behavior does not excuse Trump’s. She’s not President; he is.

    Thumb up 2

  21. Hal_10000 *

    The idea that Russia interfered with the voting has long been debunked. They may have attacked voter registration databases, which is a bit different.

    One thing Josh Barro pointed out: why are we assuming that nothing came out of the TrumpJr-Russia meeting? The only people telling us that are the people who were there and just spent a year telling us that the meeting never happened.

    Thumb up 2

  22. stogy

    Molly McKew (from Politico) has raised some questions about why all of the time stamps and automatic signoffs on the e-mails from Jnr have different formats. Of course, it may just be different devices. They wouldn’t have been so stupid as to edit the emails (and badly) would they?

    Thumb up 1

  23. Iconoclast

    LOL.

    Laugh all you want — it doesn’t matter.  The Clintons are also pathological liars, so we would have gotten the same thing had she won.  Only we wouldn’t have, because the MSM wouldn’t have any reason to have their “Impeach” collective Wet Dream, so we wouldn’t be getting nearly as much bombardment. And her policies would have sucked.

    All of your other mental masturbation drivel is dismissed as well.

     

    Thumb up 0

  24. CM

    your other mental masturbation drivel

    This Time We Liberals Have Totally Got Trump. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    Brilliant. Thanks for providing Exhibit ‘A’. I had to wipe off the sticky parts after you’d finished with it.

    Did you buy the book? It’s amazing how much of the right-wing ‘alternative media’ community is about selling nonsense in order to sell actual shit. Well not really amazing at all.

    Laugh all you want — it doesn’t matter. 

    Oh I am and I will. Please continue.

    The Clintons are also pathological liars, so we would have gotten the same thing had she won.  Only we wouldn’t have, because the MSM wouldn’t have any reason to have their “Impeach” collective Wet Dream, so we wouldn’t be getting nearly as much bombardment. And her policies would have sucked.

    That’s it, thanks! BUT BUT BUT EVIL CROOKED HILLARY AND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA OMFG!!

    LOL.

    So good.

    Thumb up 0

  25. Iconoclast

    Yeah, so good.  Thanks for proving yet again that you Just. Don’t Get. It.

    In spite of your forthcoming claims that you “get it just fine”.  Clearly, you don’t.

    Thumb up 0

  26. Iconoclast

    BUT BUT BUT EVIL CROOKED HILLARY AND THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA OMFG!!

    IF THE TABLES WERE TURNED ETC. ETC. ETC. AD NAUSEAM.

    Yeah, all caps is so rad effective and stuff…..

    Thumb up 0

  27. Iconoclast

     I had to wipe lick off the sticky parts after you’d finished with it.

    Fixed it for you. You’re welcome. In more ways than one.

    Thumb up 0

  28. CM

    I get it – you need to be able see the guy throwing the sack of drugs so it won’t hit you on the head. It all makes perfect sense.

    Thumb up 0

  29. Iconoclast

    I get it…..

    No, you don’t, but it was utterly predictable that you’d claim you did. In fact, I did predict it.

    Thumb up 1

  30. Iconoclast

     ….. you need to be able see the guy throwing the sack of drugs so it won’t hit you on the head.

    I have no idea what that even means, but I’m sure it’s one helluva comeback.

    Thumb up 1

  31. Iconoclast

    I get it – you need to be able see the guy throwing the sack of drugs so it won’t hit you on the head. It all makes perfect sense.

    Actually, this is proof positive that you still don’t get it. I personally couldn’t care less if Trump’s wall gets built, as long as the border is well-patrolled and illegals are sent back.

    And you can mock all you want, but Trump’s main job is indeed not being Hillary, and he’s excelling at it. If she had won, the Republic’s demise would have been sealed. It still may be, but with her, it would have been a sure thing, your empty mockery notwithstanding.

    True, substantially more individuals chose Hillary. Trump only won because the Electoral College system…..

    I am genuinely interested in why you think this constitutes anything remotely resembling an argument…….

    Thumb up 4

  32. stogy

    Oh dear. Looks like the American Conservative has taken another dump on Trump, calling him a “treacherous loon” for throwing Jeff Sessions under a bus over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. He should have, in Trump’s view, not accepted the job if he was planning to do that. I’ll hand over to Dreher from here.

    You think Trump can’t shock you anymore, and then he comes out with something like this. He threw Jeff Sessions under the bus because Jeff Sessions has a modicum of what Trump conspicuously lacks: a sense of professional ethics, and of what it means to live under the rule of law. Trump thinks the purpose of the Attorney General is not to serve the law, but to serve the president’s wishes.

    […]

    Once again, we see that Trump has no loyalty to anybody but himself. Jeff Sessions was one of the early supporters of Trump, and stood by Trump’s side when nobody else in Washington would. And this is how Trump rewards him. Aside from that, Trump is also crazy. Who does that to their Attorney General — and for such a petty reason? Trump has no judgment, only appetite. There is no stability in this administration. No reason to trust anything the president says, even if you think he’s on your side.

    Thumb up 0

  33. Iconoclast

    Did you buy the book? It’s amazing how much of the right-wing ‘alternative media’ community is about selling nonsense in order to sell actual shit.

    You know, I hadn’t bought the book, but since CM obviously hates it (even though he never read it and never will), and since it got consistently good reviews from those who actually did read it, I am seriously considering buying it.

    If CM thinks it’s “actual shit”, then it’s probably gold. Of course, CM wouldn’t give a tinker’s damn if the events in the book came to pass. I mean, f*ck normal Americans, right?

    Thumb up 0

  34. Iconoclast

    Thanks for proving yet again that you Just. Don’t Get. It.

    I guess that’s supposed to be “clever”, but I was just mocking you.

    Thumb up 0