Trump presidency

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:28 pm UTC

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/1 ... ion-240358
Trump team is in full defense mode as Trump Jr admitted that he almost colluded with Kremlin lawyers because he wanted dirt on the Clintons.
Donald Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was a discussion about Russian adoption, but then revised his statement on Sunday acknowledging that he had gone to the meeting under the impression it would provide the campaign with “helpful” information about Clinton

Does this matter to any Republicans? Probably not a lot, but not a lot is more than enough to take back the House in 2018.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:32 pm UTC

I wonder how much of that is because he learned from his father and how much of that is because of a genetic predisposition to stupidity.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/10/donald-trump-jr-russia-lawyer-white-house-reaction-240358
Trump team is in full defense mode as Trump Jr admitted that he almost colluded with Kremlin lawyers because he wanted dirt on the Clintons.
Donald Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was a discussion about Russian adoption, but then revised his statement on Sunday acknowledging that he had gone to the meeting under the impression it would provide the campaign with “helpful” information about Clinton

Does this matter to any Republicans? Probably not a lot, but not a lot is more than enough to take back the House in 2018.


Nah. This is much ado about nothing.

There is no evidence of actual collusion in this case. Even assuming this Russian diplomat had real dirt on Clinton - which it appears she did not - simply going to a meeting because the other person says they have dirt on a political opponent is not collusion. There is no law against digging up dirt on your political opponents - or against getting dirt from someone else.

If some evidence pops up that this meeting resulted in actual interference by the Russians, or some other illegal activity, that'd be a whole other story; but none has so far. It doesn't matter how obvious it is that these folks are shadier than an out of business lamp factory; there needs to be evidence.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:48 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
sardia wrote:http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/10/donald-trump-jr-russia-lawyer-white-house-reaction-240358
Trump team is in full defense mode as Trump Jr admitted that he almost colluded with Kremlin lawyers because he wanted dirt on the Clintons.
Donald Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was a discussion about Russian adoption, but then revised his statement on Sunday acknowledging that he had gone to the meeting under the impression it would provide the campaign with “helpful” information about Clinton

Does this matter to any Republicans? Probably not a lot, but not a lot is more than enough to take back the House in 2018.


Nah. This is much ado about nothing.

There is no evidence of actual collusion in this case. Even assuming this Russian diplomat had real dirt on Clinton - which it appears she did not - simply going to a meeting because the other person says they have dirt on a political opponent is not collusion. There is no law against digging up dirt on your political opponents - or against getting dirt from someone else.

If some evidence pops up that this meeting resulted in actual interference by the Russians, or some other illegal activity, that'd be a whole other story; but none has so far. It doesn't matter how obvious it is that these folks are shadier than an out of business lamp factory; there needs to be evidence.

That doesn't necessarily contradict sardia's assertion that this might be enough to swing the house back towards Dems in 2018. I mean, it's not like Clinton actually faced charges over her email server.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:53 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
sardia wrote:http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/10/donald-trump-jr-russia-lawyer-white-house-reaction-240358
Trump team is in full defense mode as Trump Jr admitted that he almost colluded with Kremlin lawyers because he wanted dirt on the Clintons.
Donald Trump Jr. initially said the meeting was a discussion about Russian adoption, but then revised his statement on Sunday acknowledging that he had gone to the meeting under the impression it would provide the campaign with “helpful” information about Clinton

Does this matter to any Republicans? Probably not a lot, but not a lot is more than enough to take back the House in 2018.


Nah. This is much ado about nothing.

There is no evidence of actual collusion in this case. Even assuming this Russian diplomat had real dirt on Clinton - which it appears she did not - simply going to a meeting because the other person says they have dirt on a political opponent is not collusion. There is no law against digging up dirt on your political opponents - or against getting dirt from someone else.

If some evidence pops up that this meeting resulted in actual interference by the Russians, or some other illegal activity, that'd be a whole other story; but none has so far. It doesn't matter how obvious it is that these folks are shadier than an out of business lamp factory; there needs to be evidence.


I'm not a lawyer, so its hard for me to determine what is just legal posturing from both camps, and what the law actually states. But as Trump controls the Department of Justice / FBI, Trump can simply shut down any investigations that go in that direction. It'd take a big political hit for Trump to shut down the Special Prosecutor Muller... but Trump can theoretically do it.

What we do know, is that the Special Prosecutor Muller is investigating Jared Kushner. Assuming Muller is an FBI professional (which his reputation as one is... pretty damn high), Muller will not allow his team to leak the "real evidence" ahead of a trial. So we're all left with simply empty speculation.

If we want to sorta... figure out the story before things happen... the best path to figure things out IMO is to watch Muller's team. That's where the real news is.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby trpmb6 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:37 pm UTC

If the Dems want to retake the house they will have to start running on a lot more than just Russian Collusion. The anti-Trump vote only goes so far. Still more than a full year before the midterms. Lots will happen between then and now. Some will help Republicans, some will undoubtedly help Democrats. But rest assured, a headline from today will be long forgotten when voters head to the ballot box in nov 2018.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:05 pm UTC

trpmb6 wrote:If the Dems want to retake the house they will have to start running on a lot more than just Russian Collusion. The anti-Trump vote only goes so far. Still more than a full year before the midterms. Lots will happen between then and now. Some will help Republicans, some will undoubtedly help Democrats. But rest assured, a headline from today will be long forgotten when voters head to the ballot box in nov 2018.


I disagree. Historically speaking, the US public lynch mob is distrustful of the "current party in power" and naturally swings the other way. Besides, winning the House and Senate is overrated.

The real political battle begins in the days after the election. See Republicans for a case in point. They're unable to pass a Health Care bill because they spent their entire effort on anti-Obama efforts. True, "Repeal and Replace" got them elected, but now that they're elected there's very little political power to actually accomplish the task.

Democrats are beginning to whisper "Single Payer" for 2018. I think this last election taught us that a negative message can win, especially if you're criticizing the current group in power. (Repeal 0bamacare) But you need a positive message if you want to actually accomplish anything when you get into power. Ex: Republicans very quickly pushed Neil Gorsuch, since the positive message of "We will push a conservative to the high court" united the Republicans.

Anyway, if the Democrats continue to push Russian Collusion, they risk the same issue. They probably will get elected, because of the natural levels of distrust of power in the American Population. But they aren't doing any favors for themselves if they happen to win.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:23 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:If the Dems want to retake the house they will have to start running on a lot more than just Russian Collusion. The anti-Trump vote only goes so far. Still more than a full year before the midterms. Lots will happen between then and now. Some will help Republicans, some will undoubtedly help Democrats. But rest assured, a headline from today will be long forgotten when voters head to the ballot box in nov 2018.

I disagree. Historically speaking, the US public lynch mob is distrustful of the "current party in power" and naturally swings the other way. Besides, winning the House and Senate is overrated.
The real political battle begins in the days after the election. See Republicans for a case in point. They're unable to pass a Health Care bill because they spent their entire effort on anti-Obama efforts. True, "Repeal and Replace" got them elected, but now that they're elected there's very little political power to actually accomplish the task.
Democrats are beginning to whisper "Single Payer" for 2018. I think this last election taught us that a negative message can win, especially if you're criticizing the current group in power. (Repeal 0bamacare) But you need a positive message if you want to actually accomplish anything when you get into power. Ex: Republicans very quickly pushed Neil Gorsuch, since the positive message of "We will push a conservative to the high court" united the Republicans.
Anyway, if the Democrats continue to push Russian Collusion, they risk the same issue. They probably will get elected, because of the natural levels of distrust of power in the American Population. But they aren't doing any favors for themselves if they happen to win.

Fivethirtyeight's rule of thumb is that for a midterm, going negative and opposition only is fine for 2018. It won't cut it for 2020, so don't expect to oust Trump/Pence with that only.
More importantly this story rises above the others because:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/th ... ockbuster/
First, this meeting involved President Trump’s inner circle.
Secondly, Trump Jr.’s reason for being at the meeting is at the core of the Russia controversy: He was hoping to undermine Clinton.
Third, the story is well-sourced and includes support from on-the-record sources.
It's the same reason why Comey's story was so strong. There was specifics, and the story wasn't vague 3rd hand hearsay, but had actual sources.

You don't need to convict anyone, like KE says, the staining and constant drip of shadiness is enough to peel off a few more percentage points. Clinton only lost by 2 percentage points, which the electoral college vastly overstates. Especially now that the court has a healthy conservative majority (likely future replacements would just replace liberals with more liberals instead of actually tilting the balance, but it cuts both ways).

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:51 pm UTC

Trump just canceled the FBI's search for a new headquarters

Without an FBI Director and without a GSA Administrator, the project has been on hold throughout this year. But Trump has now completely cancelled the project.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:18 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Trump just canceled the FBI's search for a new headquarters

Without an FBI Director and without a GSA Administrator, the project has been on hold throughout this year. But Trump has now completely cancelled the project.

I'll be honest, I was bummed when I saw they were looking for a new building. Mainly because of The X-Files. It sounded like they need one, though.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Thesh » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:44 am UTC

X-files or not, I say burn it down. Fuck Hoover.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:57 am UTC

Huh.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/10/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-russia-email-candidacy.html

Today's 538 podcast touched for a moment on whether this could be the first hint of a flame and not just smoke, as opposed to Trump and Co being done in by the cover-up, as the saying goes.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:04 pm UTC

So, Trump Jr. has released the emails, which look pretty bad:
President Donald Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., agreed to meet with someone he believed to be a "Russian government attorney" last summer after receiving an email offering him "very high level and sensitive information" that would "incriminate" Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, according to emails the younger Trump publicly released on Tuesday.

The email, from publicist Rob Goldstone, claimed the information was part of "Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump."

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby elasto » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:11 pm UTC

The emails show music promoter Rob Goldstone telling the future US president’s son that “the crown prosecutor of Russia” had offered “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father”.

British-born Goldstone adds in the exchange on 3 June 2016: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump.”

Seventeen minutes later, Trump Jr welcomes this with the reply: “If it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.”

In a later email, Goldstone describes the Russian lawyer they are due to meet, Natalia Veselnitskaya, as a “Russian government attorney”.

Trump Jr agrees, adding that he would probably be accompanied by “Paul Manafort (campaign boss)” and “my brother-in-law,” Jared Kushner, husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka and now a senior White House adviser.

The formatting of the emails suggests that Trump Jr forwarded the whole chain to Manafort and Kushner before the meeting the three attended with Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York on 9 June.

On Sunday, Trump Jr had said he had asked Manafort and Kushner to attend but not told them what the meeting was about.

Critics seized on the new disclosures to question why three of Trump’s closest advisers were willing to accept such a meeting instead of alerting authorities to interference by a foreign adversary.


Is this a game-changer? Does feel like even loyal Republicans might feel they have to distance themselves. Yes, Trump will say something offensive to steer media coverage elsewhere but this feels like a slow burner that will just keep burning away...

link

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:19 pm UTC

elasto wrote:Is this a game-changer? Does feel like even loyal Republicans might feel they have to distance themselves. Yes, Trump will say something offensive to steer media coverage elsewhere but this feels like a slow burner that will just keep burning away...


Does anyone feel like this whole Russia thing is straight out of the Musical "Chicago" ??

Because I swear, a lot of the excuses from the Trump team are incredibly vapid, boisterous, and showbusiness-like. They double-down on absurd claims to misdirect the viewer from any actual problems at hand.

----------

Anyway, Manafort (former Campaign Manager), Kushner (son-in-law), and now his direct son "Donald Trump Jr." have provable, direct connections to Russians. That's... a lot of smoke. A hell of a lot of smoke. And Donald Trump Jr. responds to it by releasing the emails?!?!? They're doubling-down again. But this time, I'm not entirely sure how this move by Trump Jr. actually misdirects the crowds.

I'd hope that this creates an issue for them, becauses it seems incredibly stupid on multiple levels.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:48 pm UTC

So was he "forced" to release these emails? What brought that on? I mean were they going to be released at some point by the investigation and they just wanted to get ahead of things? Or maybe they're setting up Jr. to be a scapegoat? That seems kinda unlikely, figures you'd scapegoat someone else first...

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:11 pm UTC

My initial thought was Trump Jnr was too dumb to realise he'd actually done something wrong by going to the meeting, despite (according to him) the Russian lawyer not actually having any info. But, he'd already spoken to a lawyer at this point.

Reading an analysis earlier, the only possible wriggle room was that he didn't know the person he was meeting was a foreign national. The emails show that wasn't the case. He's definitely broken the law, although I've no idea what the penalty is.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cyanyoshi » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:10 pm UTC

I read this situation as Donald Jr. knowing that this information would be released to the public eventually, and that by releasing it himself, he could mitigate the damage as much as possible by controlling the message. I'm sure everyone on the Trump team wants to get this Russia cloud behind them as quickly as possible. Whether or not they succeed is a different matter entirely, especially if someone comes forward with hard evidence of to-be President Trump himself working directly with Russian representatives to keep Clinton out of office or something.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:55 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:My initial thought was Trump Jnr was too dumb to realise he'd actually done something wrong by going to the meeting, despite (according to him) the Russian lawyer not actually having any info. But, he'd already spoken to a lawyer at this point.

Reading an analysis earlier, the only possible wriggle room was that he didn't know the person he was meeting was a foreign national. The emails show that wasn't the case. He's definitely broken the law, although I've no idea what the penalty is.


He's definitely broken what law?

I'm not defending the guy... I definitely agree that what he did was wrong... but wrong isn't the same as illegal.

If evidence were presented that showed that Trump Jr conspired with the Russians to actually commit election fraud, that would be one thing... but at most, we have evidence that he went to a meeting because he thought there would be dirt offered up on Clinton... which is shady and unethical, but not actually illegal. Going to a meeting because the other person claims to have dirt on your opponent isn't illegal. If someone has evidence that Trump Jr offered them something in exchange for said information, then at least that would be something; but no such evidence has been presented.

The larger collusion argument is that the Trump administration conspired with the Russian government to hack the DNC servers and release information as propaganda... the key being that Russia actually did something, presumably on behalf of the Trump administration, and presumably in exchange for something. But even there, you'd have to prove that someone on team Trump conspired with the Russians. It's not enough that it looks glaringly obvious; you have to have evidence.

Odds are that none of this stuff amounts to anything beyond political damage. The Trump administration might spend the next three and a half years taking hell for it, and it might very well neuter his agenda and crush his chances of a second term - we can only hope - but unless some real, solid evidence comes up that actually implicates Trump personally, that's as far as it's gonna go.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:25 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Mutex wrote:My initial thought was Trump Jnr was too dumb to realise he'd actually done something wrong by going to the meeting, despite (according to him) the Russian lawyer not actually having any info. But, he'd already spoken to a lawyer at this point.

Reading an analysis earlier, the only possible wriggle room was that he didn't know the person he was meeting was a foreign national. The emails show that wasn't the case. He's definitely broken the law, although I've no idea what the penalty is.


He's definitely broken what law?


I'm not a lawyer. Politico is reporting:

Politico wrote:But perhaps far more important, his statements put him potentially in legal cross hairs for violating federal criminal statutes prohibiting solicitation or acceptance of anything of value from a foreign national, as well as a conspiracy to defraud the United States.


I'm looking into which laws these are exactly (its annoying that these guys don't quote the US-Code directly...) but there's a start from one media outlet. If there really is a law against accepting "anything of value from a foreign national", then Trump Jr. just failed hardcore. The emails Trump Jr. published today clearly indicate that he's speaking with a Russian on behalf of the Russian Government.

EDIT:

* Conspiracy to Defraud the United States -- This seems like a stretch. I'm not buying it.

* Federal Election Campaign Act however... looks pretty bad for Donald Trump Jr.

[It shall be unlawful for] a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.


Subparagraph A wrote:a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election


Looks like Donald Trump Jr. broke US Code 52 30121 pretty hardcore to me. They are accepting something from a foreign national on behalf of a campaign (or at least, that's clearly the intent of Trump Jr.)



Rob Goldstone wrote:The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.


In another email:

Rob Goldstone wrote:Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.

I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?


Donald Trump Jr. wrote:Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:09 am UTC

Mutex wrote:My initial thought was Trump Jnr was too dumb to realise he'd actually done something wrong by going to the meeting, despite (according to him) the Russian lawyer not actually having any info. But, he'd already spoken to a lawyer at this point.

Reading an analysis earlier, the only possible wriggle room was that he didn't know the person he was meeting was a foreign national. The emails show that wasn't the case. He's definitely broken the law, although I've no idea what the penalty is.

The Republicans are standing by him, and deferring all questions to the Mueller investigation. Until 2018 happens, the Republicans aren't going to move on him unless you get a video of him pledging loyalty to Putin...which at this rate might mean sometime before the 2018 general elections.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Liri » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:01 am UTC

sardia wrote:
Mutex wrote:My initial thought was Drumpf Jnr was too dumb to realise he'd actually done something wrong by going to the meeting, despite (according to him) the Russian lawyer not actually having any info. But, he'd already spoken to a lawyer at this point.

Reading an analysis earlier, the only possible wriggle room was that he didn't know the person he was meeting was a foreign national. The emails show that wasn't the case. He's definitely broken the law, although I've no idea what the penalty is.

The Republicans are standing by him, and deferring all questions to the Mueller investigation. Until 2018 happens, the Republicans aren't going to move on him unless you get a video of him pledging loyalty to Putin...which at this rate might mean sometime before the 2018 general elections.

It's getting juicy, but this might be the trend that we see, where the big man himself is never directly tied to anything nefarious. But, on the other hand, they were/are acting (ha) like idiots, so they might not've put distance between nefarious dealings and Trump Sr.

The possible obstruction of justice charge, meanwhile, is squarely on him.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:37 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:EDIT:

* Federal Election Campaign Act however... looks pretty bad for Donald Trump Jr.

[It shall be unlawful for] a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.


Subparagraph A wrote:a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election


Looks like Donald Trump Jr. broke US Code 52 30121 pretty hardcore to me. They are accepting something from a foreign national on behalf of a campaign (or at least, that's clearly the intent of Trump Jr.)


Somewhat tangentially, nothing in that law seems to imply you need to be working for the campaign at all. Nor does the first part, which makes it illegal for a foreign national to provide anything of value with respect to an election. That's seems extremely over-broad unless there's some other section that limits it or further defines "value". I mean by a strict reading Me (in Canada) supporting Hillary or Trump in any public way could be considered illegal.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:38 am UTC

Chen wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:EDIT:

* Federal Election Campaign Act however... looks pretty bad for Donald Trump Jr.

[It shall be unlawful for] a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.


Subparagraph A wrote:a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election


Looks like Donald Trump Jr. broke US Code 52 30121 pretty hardcore to me. They are accepting something from a foreign national on behalf of a campaign (or at least, that's clearly the intent of Trump Jr.)


Somewhat tangentially, nothing in that law seems to imply you need to be working for the campaign at all. Nor does the first part, which makes it illegal for a foreign national to provide anything of value with respect to an election. That's seems extremely over-broad unless there's some other section that limits it or further defines "value". I mean by a strict reading Me (in Canada) supporting Hillary or Trump in any public way could be considered illegal.

Also seems like an organization like Wikileaks or any news organization would need to ensure its sources were not foreign else run amok of this law as well.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:06 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I mean by a strict reading Me (in Canada) supporting Hillary or Trump in any public way could be considered illegal.

I think that's what "thing of value" is meant to be there for. No sane judge would interpret, say, stumping for a candidate on a forum to fit that criteria, but if you were to start giving money or other tangible aid, that would be an entirely different matter (to say nothing of illicitly-obtained information on their opponent!)
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:34 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:* Conspiracy to Defraud the United States -- This seems like a stretch. I'm not buying it.


Huge stretch.

* Federal Election Campaign Act however... looks pretty bad for Donald Trump Jr.


Ehhh... maybe? Frankly, I think that even if you found a prosecutor willing to charge him, it'd be a very hard sell in court. You'd see a long argument about what constitutes "value" and then another long argument about whether going to a meeting constitutes acceptance of anything.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:43 pm UTC

I agree no judge would likely convict over that, but frankly they shouldn't have to make that decision. It just seems the law is crazy in how broad it is. I mean suppose someone got information from a Russian (or other foreign) source and released that to the news media during the election. It seems like you'd still run afoul of this law even without any direct connection to either campaign. You would have accepted something of value in connection with the election from a foreign national. I suppose the "in connection with the ... election" is still vague enough to try and force a more concrete definition. I.e., only if you're part of a campaign team would that count as "in connection with".

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

Chen wrote:I agree no judge would likely convict over that, but frankly they shouldn't have to make that decision. It just seems the law is crazy in how broad it is. I mean suppose someone got information from a Russian (or other foreign) source and released that to the news media during the election. It seems like you'd still run afoul of this law even without any direct connection to either campaign. You would have accepted something of value in connection with the election from a foreign national. I suppose the "in connection with the ... election" is still vague enough to try and force a more concrete definition. I.e., only if you're part of a campaign team would that count as "in connection with".


Anyway, I'm not a lawyer. What I do know is that law is based on many more things than just what is written down. Judges make decisions on what is reasonable vs unreasonable.

Even then, the contents of "Paragraph 30121" are to be understood within all of "Code 52". The whole, overall law is pretty big. I was browsing through it quickly noticed that a lot of definitions seem to be at the ~$5000 limit. So maybe "Anything of value" is tied to $5000 (from earlier sections of US Code 52). Hard for me to say, I'm not a lawyer.

I'm fairly certain that "An Individual" refers to Paragraph 30101

2) The term “candidate” means an individual who seeks nomination for election, or election, to Federal office, and for purposes of this paragraph, an individual shall be deemed to seek nomination for election, or election—
(A)
if such individual has received contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or has made expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000; or

(B)
if such individual has given his or her consent to another person to receive contributions or make expenditures on behalf of such individual and if such person has received such contributions aggregating in excess of $5,000 or has made such expenditures aggregating in excess of $5,000.


Its obviously the FBI's job to determine if they have a case, and then if they prosecute... then it'd be a Judge's job to determine if they really broke a law.

-----------

Looking more into the law, this seems like an easier read:

https://www.fec.gov/updates/foreign-nationals/

It seems like "contribution" is expected to mean a financial contribution. At which point, Donald Trump Jr. may be safe here. It depends on whether or not the information there would be considered "something of value".
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby trpmb6 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:58 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Even then, the contents of "Paragraph 30121" are to be understood within all of "Code 52". The whole, overall law is pretty big. I was browsing through it quickly noticed that a lot of definitions seem to be at the ~$5000 limit. So maybe "Anything of value" is tied to $5000 (from earlier sections of US Code 52). Hard for me to say, I'm not a lawyer.


If we strictly look at this from a tangible stand point of "anything of value" then there really isn't even a case here though. Both parties have stated that nothing related to Hillary Clinton was discussed. [Edit: My mistake, as noted in NBCnews article HRC was discussed but Veselnitskaya didn't have the information they were seeking.] Certainly nothing of value to the Trump campaign. (Not to mention trying to pin a dollar amount onto information that different parties may attribute a different value to.)

After reading NBC news' take on this I sort of get the feeling that Goldstone sensationalized the potential information Veselnitskaya had and her possible interactions with the Kremlin. Granted, the Kremlin and Veselnitskaya would likely never openly admit that she is an agent for the Russian Govt. So you kind of have to take that at face value.

Lets also not forget that members of the Clinton team were working with Ukranian officials to undermine Trump associates.

It doesn't really strike me as odd in either of these two cases that you might reach out in your oppo research. Clearly you have to recognize that the information you are receiving makes you beholden to the ones providing it. In other words, they're giving you something that you want, and they are giving it to you only because they know it buys favor for later. In the case of Trump this doesn't point to any sort of collusion in the sense that they were actively engaged in the DNC hackings. It only shows they're really rather inept at gathering opposition research if you ask me.


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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:27 pm UTC

trpmb6 wrote:Lets also not forget that members of the Clinton team were working with Ukranian officials to undermine Trump associates.

It doesn't really strike me as odd in either of these two cases that you might reach out in your oppo research.


Ukranians didn't hack one of the political parties to try and sway the election however. Russia has been pegged as the originator of the Democratic Party hack last year. That's a major difference in morality right there.

Its one thing to have opposition research with foreign nationals mettling in the election. Its entirely different when said opposition research originated from direct cyberattacks against our nation.

Next time, the Russians are likely going to hack the Republicans (and then give the information over to the Democrats). Republicans are in power now, so its imperative for them to figure out how to solve this issue. Part of that solution means establishing norms over our contacts with nations who are hacking us.

Most worrying of course, is the first email in of itself:

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.


Trump Jr. knew, as early as June of last year, that Russia and its Government are supporting Mr. Trump's election. Despite the many claims of Trump Sr. to the contrary this past year. Team Trump was not only willing to receive help from the Russians, but were seeking out meetings with them.

As I stated before, this is a hell of a lot of smoke. This doesn't prove a conspiracy quite yet, but the saying goes... where there's smoke there is fire. We know Russia was actively hacking into Democrats, and now we know for sure that team Trump was seeking help from the Russians.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:16 pm UTC

I mean, IANAL, but arguing that arranging a meeting with someone you're directly informed is acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power with the express purpose of helping them influence an election is no big deal because you didn't actually get what you were promised is like breaking into a Home Depot to crack the display-model floor safe and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there was nothing in it.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby speising » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:53 pm UTC

What's that about "hostile", btw.? AFAIK Russia is one of the countries the US are *not* at war with currently?

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:30 pm UTC

Not directly.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby cphite » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:34 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:I mean, IANAL, but arguing that arranging a meeting with someone you're directly informed is acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power with the express purpose of helping them influence an election is no big deal because you didn't actually get what you were promised is like breaking into a Home Depot to crack the display-model floor safe and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there was nothing in it.


Nah. It's more along the lines of going to the lot behind Home Depot because you heard there was drugs and hookers, and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there weren't any drugs and hookers. It would look bad, but no actual law would have been broken.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Mutex » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:41 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:I mean, IANAL, but arguing that arranging a meeting with someone you're directly informed is acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power with the express purpose of helping them influence an election is no big deal because you didn't actually get what you were promised is like breaking into a Home Depot to crack the display-model floor safe and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there was nothing in it.

Nah. It's more along the lines of going to the lot behind Home Depot because you heard there was drugs and hookers, and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there weren't any drugs and hookers. It would look bad, but no actual law would have been broken.

It's more like when you go behind Home Depot a hooker comes up to you, you accept her proposition and then it turns out she's a cop and you're guilty of soliciting prostitution.

It's a crime to just solicit any contribution from a foreign national for a federal election campaign, even if you don't actually get anything. He should have called the FBI immediately, not gone to the meeting.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:43 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:I mean, IANAL, but arguing that arranging a meeting with someone you're directly informed is acting on behalf of a hostile foreign power with the express purpose of helping them influence an election is no big deal because you didn't actually get what you were promised is like breaking into a Home Depot to crack the display-model floor safe and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there was nothing in it.


Nah. It's more along the lines of going to the lot behind Home Depot because you heard there was drugs and hookers, and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there weren't any drugs and hookers. It would look bad, but no actual law would have been broken.


I'm pretty sure the FBI have arrested people with that exact example. "Proving Intent" is sufficient to break many laws.

Again IANAL. I'm sure the details change from law to law on this matter. But plenty of people have gone to a particular location to get a drug / contraband of some kind... only to be met by FBI Agents to arrest them. I don't think you necessarily need to buy contraband to get arrested, they just need to prove intent.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Chen » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:55 am UTC

Mutex wrote:It's a crime to just solicit any contribution from a foreign national for a federal election campaign, even if you don't actually get anything. He should have called the FBI immediately, not gone to the meeting.


As mentioned above, I suspect the whole "contribution" and "thing of value" part will be the main sticking point should this ever get to trial. I think the emails make it clear he solicited the information (by agreeing to the meeting) from a foreign national so I very much doubt they'll go the route of "well nothing came of it, so its ok". The only thing that may help with there having been no information, would be that the judgement about "thing of value" will need to be very broad of they want to convict him. Since there was no actual information, you'd have to judge that ANY information provided by a foreign national with regards to an election is considered a thing of value. This runs into the other problems I mentioned about how broad the law is.

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Re: Trump presidency

Postby Sableagle » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:03 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
cphite wrote:Nah. It's more along the lines of going to the lot behind Home Depot because you heard there was drugs and hookers, and then being all "no harm, no foul, right?" because there weren't any drugs and hookers. It would look bad, but no actual law would have been broken.


I'm pretty sure the FBI have arrested people with that exact example. "Proving Intent" is sufficient to break many laws.

Again IANAL. I'm sure the details change from law to law on this matter. But plenty of people have gone to a particular location to get a drug / contraband of some kind... only to be met by FBI Agents to arrest them. I don't think you necessarily need to buy contraband to get arrested, they just need to prove intent.


That's a conspiracy, under Title 7 Section 182 paragraph 1 of the California State Penal Code. A conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour is in fact a felony.
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Re: Trump presidency

Postby trpmb6 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:33 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Again IANAL. I'm sure the details change from law to law on this matter. But plenty of people have gone to a particular location to get a drug / contraband of some kind... only to be met by FBI Agents to arrest them. I don't think you necessarily need to buy contraband to get arrested, they just need to prove intent.


I am not a lawyer or any sort of law enforcement officer, but I'm fairly certain they can't do anything until there is a quid pro quo. They don't move on "john's" until money is exchanged. They don't take down a drug dealer or purchaser until money is exchanged.

Junior didn't, as far as I know, offer anything in return. He didn't say "we'll look into changing these laws in exchange for this information" No quid pro quo.

As you've said yourself, smoke but nothing beyond that.

And I still point to the ukrainian help given to the DNC that directly led to the resignation/firing of Paul Manafort. Absent some higher level of collusion between the Russians and Trump's campaign I don't see any difference between the DNC/HRC camp using information received from the Ukranians and what Don Jr. did.


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