Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The burden is criminal conspiracy as it relates to the hacking of emails...

Let's be clear here... the short term "optics" of the Donald Jr E-mail chain story is harmful for the Administration. More to the point, it reignites the media frenzy regarding Russia collusion that had all but waned.

Given the short term attention span of most Americans, and their laziness in terms of not wanting to read past the headlines, it gives the main stream media a good chance to spin this with enormous latitude. Certainly, it's likely to cause those people casually involved in all of this to be more likely to believe the collusion narrative than they probably were last week.

But let's just say that those who are more than casually involved in all of this are not going to be swayed by any of this. You can tell from reading the various pundits since this story broke, that nobody of significance has jumped ship on this. If someone who is vested in this story didn't believe there was collusion before, this didn't convince them differently.

But short term optics aside, the long term outlook for this entire narrative will ultimately be determined by what is eventually found out by the current investigations. I would argue that probably at least 80% of narrative being determined by what Mueller and his special counsel investigation concludes, with the remaining 20% based on what the two congressional committees come up with.

Bottom line: If someone is charged with a criminal act in relation to colluding with Russia then that will be the final say for most Americans. It doesn't have to implicate Trump himself, or even Donald Jr. It could be someone marginally connected, and that will look as though the entire administration was in on it. The general consensus will be that the collusion conspiracy theorists were right all along.

On the flip side, if nobody is charged with a criminal act in relation to colluding with Russia, then ultimately those same lazy casual Americans following this will view that as validation for the Administration's argument that this has all been a big witch hunt. The general consensus will be in line with how collusion critics view this, and the collusion conspiracy theorist will have egg on their face.

In terms of whether or not this issue pushes the legal argument forward, it would appear based on the overall consensus of  of your legal experts that neither the email chain or the meeting itself has any incriminating value. It's not (contrary to certain arguments) illegal to meet with a foreign lobbyists (even a Russian one), and it's not illegal for you to receive information from a foreigner regarding your political opponent (even from a Russian). 

Depending on nature the information provided and the means that was used to garner that information, there may be legal ramifications if a campaign decided to use that information against their opponent.*  It could very well be the case that certain information ascertained in that fashion should be turned over to authorities. But there is no evidence that any such information changed hands and as a matter of fact the Trump campaign never did release any harmful "Russian" related information about Clinton.

But at this point in time, the only known dirt released on Clinton that would be seen as illegally garnered are the hacked emails. Even our own intelligence community attests to the fact that while they certainly believe it's the Russians who hacked the emails and used them to harm Clinton, they draw this conclusion as much with logic and deduction as they do from hard evidence. Yet, the hacking seems to be the only known crime committed and (like it or not) this meeting with Don Jr and the Russian lobbyist doesn't really bring us closer to tying anyone from the Trump camp to that hacking. 

This is not a "Smoking Gun" as Politico suggests. This is not "treason" as Senator Kaine suggests. This was much closer to business as usual in twenty first century politics, and under most normal circumstances probably would have gone completely unnoticed.


* Update: Alan Dershowitz has pointed out numerous legal decisions that protect the "use" of illegally obtained materials, as long as those using that information were not involved in the actual illegal behavior used to obtain the material. 

Generally this has to do with Media outlets who are given illegally obtained information or illegally leaked information, and are legally protected as it pertains to passing this information along to the public.  But, while it is generally used as a freedom of press issue, the same legal protection would be available to anyone (press or not) who decides to use questionable information (as long as that person was not involved in the original crime).

There does not appear to be any exception written into these precedents that suggests that you waive your constitutional rights to free speech, simply because you signed on to work for a campaign. So Dershowitz takes it one step further, by claiming that even if the Trump campaign had gotten real information and used it against Hillary... that it would be protected by the same legal precedents that protect the media's right to publish such information.

Dershowitz (a Hillary supporter) is generally a pretty solid voice of reason in all of this, and seems to be thinking several steps ahead of most everyone else.


opie said...

It doesn't have to implicate Trump himself, or even Donald Jr. It could be someone marginally connected

The fish stinks from the head down. An amazing coincidence of trump announcing a major speech bashing hillary on the monday following the meeting. Anyone rationalizing jr not telling the big donny, what he was doing is naive, so before you say it CH, I'll call you out on the BS. Your screed again is nothing but bias and talking points you have incorporated into your post. No need to explain any more since you will claim ad hominem, which is true, but since you have not posted any facts, only opinion, I feel free to fire away. Again nothing to see here. LOL

Myballs said...

So we have the Clinton foundation selling access to the presumptive next president for hundreds of millions of dollars, and the media yawns.

We have her campaign manager john podesta raking in 35M from an investment in a Russian company, the media look the other way.

We have hillary signing off on selling 20% of us uranium to Russia, the media can't be bothered.

We have the Clinton campaign actually meeting with actual Ukrainian officials to obtain dirt on trump, the media ignore it.

We have then sitting president obama telling the russian foreign minister he would have more flexibility after the election, the media gave long since forgotten it.

But let there be the slightest innuendo about anyone near trump, and its 24/7 scandal coverage.

This is precisely why his supporters have not only not left him, but even dug in their support. This is more than just double standard. This is downright dangerous and damaging to the country to have such an arrogant, agenda driven news media. Tim Russert would never have tolerated it. Even Woodward is saying knock it off.

rrb said...

in other news, deliverance banjo boy morning joKe declares he's no longer a republican.


as if he ever was.

let's see if mika ends up as dead as his pensacola intern.

Myballs said...

On the contrary, Mika has him on his knees doing exactly what she tells him to do

rrb said...

Ms. Natalia Veselnitskaya is pictured seated in the front row directly behind former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Mr. Michael McFaul at the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This is June 14th, 2016, five days after the reported meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

It should be noted that Ambassador McFaul was very publicly discussing the ‘Muh Russia’ conspiracy narrative in the media and appeared on numerous NBC and MSNBC broadcasts during the 2016 campaign, and immediately after the election.

Additionally, it was Michael McFaul who was the architect of the Obama/Clinton “Russian Reset”, that eventually led McFaul to becoming the Ambassador to Russia (NYT Link).

Ambassador Michael McFaul immediately caused quite a bit of controversy while in Russia as he indulged with various anti-Putin operatives.

Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 2012-2014, was accused by Russian state television of seeking to orchestrate the overthrow of President Vladimir Putin after hosting opposition activists and Kremlin critics at the embassy in his second day on the job. (Politico Link)

It should also be noted that Ambassador McFaul’s friend, Ms. Natalia Veselnitskaya, was initially denied an entry visa into the United States in 2016 and appealed her situation to the U.S. District Court of New York. She was granted a parole letter allowing her to enter the United States on behalf of a client.

thank goodness for c-span archives.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., the Democratic vice presidential nominee last year, went much further. "Nothing's proven yet, but we're now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what's being investigated," Kaine told reporters Tuesday. "This is moving into perjury, false statements and even potentially treason."

Loretta said...

No pedophilia to swoon over yet today Pastor James Boswell?

Roger Amick said...

It's not (contrary to certain arguments) illegal to meet with a foreign lobbyists (even a Russian one), and it's not illegal for you to receive information from a foreigner regarding your political opponent (even from a Russian).

Accepting information from a hostile nation, that was designed to influence the election, is a crime.

Roger Amick said...

The intent to influence the election is the crime. Junior got the e-mail this and we got some dirt and remember the comment from the president candidate when you said on Monday then going to bang bang bang bang bang, I will have a Blockbuster on Clinton . Wikileaks release all that stuff right after that. The timeline is just too simple to ignore

caliphate4vr said...


Loretta said...

Well Roger, Turley and Dershowitz disagree with you...

...perhaps you should take a refresher course in law.

Commonsense said...

The intent to influence the election is the crime.

If it was, reporters for the New York Times and Washington Post would be in jail.

There's this little thing called the 1st amendment, that says it's your right to try to influence an election.

In fact it's the primary purpose of the amendment.

C.H. Truth said...

Accepting information from a hostile nation, that was designed to influence the election, is a crime.

First Roger - and once again I must question your memory here (I think you are really losing it buddy - dementia?)-

But Russia is not technically a "hostile" nation. We are not at war with Russia, we have no sort of diplomatic ban with Russia. We have an embassy and ambassador in Russia. They have an embassy and ambassador here. under the law any information from Russia (or from Russians) would be treated the same as information from Great Britain (or from a Brit).

More over.. according to Alan Dershowitz, Jonathan Turley, and every constitutional attorney that can be reasonably trusted to be objective... this isn't even close to a crime.

Dershowitz even argues (quite correctly) that the Courts have been deferential to the constitutional protection of free speech when it comes to using information that has been given to you... even if that information was originally obtained by illegal means... and even it if it used to "influence an election".

Pretty much every single leak published by the NYT and WaPo (during the election) was information directly brought from a criminal action that was designed to influence the election. The actions of the leakers would be criminal - but not the action of the person using it.

By your logic... accepting information from a foreign agent or foreign person (hostile is a extraneous and meaningless word that would not legally apply to Russia) that is used to influence an election would be a crime...

Meaning that anyone who used the dossier from the British Agent (who gathered the information from Russians - supposedly including real Government officials) would be in violation of the same law you are describing. Meaning the entire DNC, and the Clinton campaign, and arguably even John McCain who publicized that he sent it to the FBI would be guilty of that same crime.

This is a case where you want to "lower the bar of criminal activity" to include actions by people you don't like... while claiming the "exact same actions" by those you do like is not criminal activity... because you feel as though you can differentiate with terms (such as hostile) that are not legal terms.

rrb said...

Blogger Roger Amick said...

Accepting information from a hostile nation, that was designed to influence the election, is a crime.

hostile nation? hostile nation? you mean russia is like an ADVERSARY or something?

hey alky, the 80's called and they want their foreign policy back.

according to your dear leader skeets 0linsky anyway.

rrb said...

Anonymous caliphate4vr said...



rrb said...

Blogger Loretta said...
Well Roger, Turley and Dershowitz disagree with you...

...perhaps you should take a refresher course in law.

a refresher course in logic would be an appropriate prerequisite.

opie said...

What is being avoided by CH with his selective posts, is that junior was willing to accept information from a russian, which according to election law, is considered an item of value, and is illegal and confirmed in case law. IOW's he got caught. Toss in the incomplete contact data by all the trump workers which is a felony. Just saying I forgot is akin to to you thinking its okay to drink and drive......which is a norm for salesman.

opie said...

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.”

Why Trump Jr. may have broken the law
The statute in question is 52 USC 30121, 36 USC 510 — the law governing foreign contributions to US campaigns. There are two key passages that apply here. This is the first:

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.

wphamilton said...

I'm not sure that damaging information, being abstract and not having monetary value, can be considered "a thing of value", particularly when the statute is explicit that "value" is referring to money. So I think the Cornell University law professor is a little off there.

However, if the information was illegally obtained, or resulted from espionage conducted against the United States, and Trump Jr's meeting was undertaken in that context, then potentially a criminal case could be made. It might hinge on whether he knew, or whether a reasonable person would know at that time, that the information in question had such a nefarious origin. It would also hinge on whether he offered anything in exchange ... which apparently he didn't, because he concluded that there likely wasn't anything usable there. Lucky break, for him.

C.H. Truth said...

WP... I have post scheduled for tomorrow AM that addresses this in more detail.

But considering the history of foreign influence on our election and the complete lack of criminal charges against anyone for obtaining "information" from foreign sources... there is little reason to believe Trump Jr would have believed he was committing any sort of crime by meeting with someone regarding "information".

Roger Amick said...

It is illegal to accept support of any kind from foreign countries or people to be used in elections. Money information or anything else is it illegal to be used in campaigns in the United States.

Roger Amick said...

I see other people beat me to it and that's fine. Had a busy day and have things to do but I did some looking around and found out that accepting help of any kind from a foreign source either persons or their government to be used in the election is illegal as noted by Opie and WP. CH you have to understand that. Is it Jr guilty of crime that's going to be hard to prove. But Kirchner is in big trouble excuse the spelling. It is becoming clearer every day every hour that the Trump campaign got and used information in the election contest against Hillary Clinton. They're trying to distract it from all different directions but the bottom line is they broke the law. Including the president who's he had to have been part of this decisions there's no way he did not know anything about this you know better than that can we prove it good question I don't know. Someone have to turn on him but you know what look at all the stuff coming out of the White House Now who knows what's going to happen who knows good night all have a trip to UCLA tomorrow

C.H. Truth said...

If it's illegal to receive information from a foreign "country" Roger...

Why has nobody ever been charged with that crime?