Where is Red Forman when you need him? Make no mistake America; Donald Trump, Jr. is a dumbass. Did he accept an offer to collude with a Russian agent on behalf of Russia’s government to make the candidate for President from the Democratic Party look bad? Yes … you bet he did. Is that a crime? No, it probably isn’t a crime.
Stupid is not a crime. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Kardashians .. or the Trumps? There is a great deal of collusion confusion in this country, mostly because we reduced our national attention span 134 characters. Let’s examine this new #Russiagate revelation to see who the Russians are really playing.
Before we dive into all the interesting details of this bombshell report on Junior’s stupidity, can we simply start with two points of agreement?
First, Trump Junior should have contacted American authorities about a Russian agent offering “official documents” to his campaign.
Second, even the most naïve fool in the world knows and understands that the Russian government led by the former KG communist colonel is our enemy, and that everything it does is to diminish the United States.
If Donald Trump Junior doesn’t get that, he should take his trust fund and spend his leisure time on a tropical island getting some sun, playing badminton, and sipping umbrella drinks.
The central question now becomes this … is what Trump did an actual crime? Oh, that’s a bit trickier. While the hard-left has him getting tried for treason, and the average democrat has this incident framed as “the” smoking gun proof of Trump/Russia collusion, the truth is, it does not appear on the facts now known that Trump Junior’s staggeringly stupid meeting violates any law, as Constitutional professor Jonathan Turley rightfully analyzed.
That is not to say that the Russia meeting, and the very disturbing timeline that is associated with the meeting, and the President’s promised speech on the Clinton’s, are not worthy of more investigation. They are. We make laws to punish illegal conduct, but only facts determine if the conduct is in violation of the law. Hence, young Trump has set himself and dad up for a thorough investigation.
It should be painfully obvious to any honest broker that the reason why one doesn’t take a meeting such as this from a Russian agent is because some time later one will be under investigation. Moreover, taking such a meeting gives ammunition to one’s political enemies to claim that one is are undermining his country at worse, or a sleaze-ball willing to work with commies … at best.
Now … let’s dive into all the fascinating components of this gross misstep by the politically ignorant boy blunder.
The best way to analyze this issue is to examine the known “facts,” recognizing that we don’t yet have all the facts. However, for lawyers, we like to examine the best available evidence. From the best evidence, we can than work backwards to draw reasonable conclusions.
The best evidence is not usually what the parties say after being exposed, outed, sued, or deposed. The best evidence is both the contemporaneous writing that existed at the time of the incident, and the actions and conduct taken consistent with that writing.
As I use to ask my law students, would you rather have the written explanation of events prepared by a witness’s lawyer after the event or the contemporaneous writing of the witness at the time of the alleged wrongdoing or controversy? The question answers itself.
For this analysis, we must turn to the e-mail exchange between the Russian agent intermediary and boy blunder … or Donny dumb-dumb. Here is the principle “offer” from the intermediary. (Note … I have linked the entire e-mail exchange above … so read them all as you please, but my analysis focuses on the parts I think are clearly most relevant).
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.
Let’s start by acknowledging that this e-mail comes from a strange fellow named Rob Goldstone, the type of human bile that a sick society sometimes throws-up on the public sidewalk. That master Trump is talking to him and associating with him tells you much about his friends and contacts. Still, for purposes of this analysis, we assume that at the time Goldstone wrote this e-mail he was relaying accurate information that he thought to be true.
The e-mail tells us many things, and it raises some great questions about facts, motives, and of course, everyone’s collective judgment.
First, the e-mail represents, matter of factly, that the Russian government was supporting Donald Trump in the election. That by itself is not a crime … at least not one for which we can prosecute Americans. America and her politicians routinely support, and in fact, interfere with foreign elections by lending their support to certain candidates. Heck, we overthrow governments we don’t like.
Still, Goldstone’s representation to Trump Junior is not a surprise or revelation to the Trumps. If it were, for example, Junior might have written back and said, “Wow, we didn’t know Russia had an official position in this race.” Of course, they knew, and Russia wanting to stop Hillary was obviously no news to them at this point … which is interesting point number one.
If were are going to look at this e-mail exchange for its truth as asserted at the time, and we are going to hold this e-mail out as proof or a smoking gun … then we certainly accept the validity of the e-mail representations. If we accept the truth of one assertion in them, then we can’t pick and choose the elements of the “truth” we want to accept.
Most collusion proponents are really zeroing in on several “facts” from these e-mails. First, they note that the e-mails make clear this is the Russian government trying to help Trump. That’s the email representation. Second, they focus on Trump’s willingness to take the meeting. That’s true. Third, they focus on Trump’s response saying that he “loves it.” Again, all true and Trump does not deny these facts.
Obviously, these are all true … if the e-mails are an accurate reflection of the events and Goldstone is representing the Russian interests correctly. That last part, well, that we take on faith for now … from any side.
Here’s the rub though … if the e-mails represent some form of gospel, than their written words must be looked at more carefully. Many headlines and tweets have rightfully focused on the meeting. Many others have merely drawn the conclusion that the Russians tried to give “dirt” on Hillary to the Trumps.
But … what does the e-mail actually say the Russians wanted to give Trump?
Some have even suggested that the timing supports the idea that the Russians were trying to give Trump’s team either hacked information or information obtained through illegal spying. That’s quite a leap. In fact, that’s the type of “post-event” leap and conclusion that is not supported by the best evidence … which is the contemporaneous e-mails.
Yes it could be treason for an American to knowingly receive and use information obtained by a foreign adversary through spying in the U.S.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) July 10, 2017
Anti-Trump radicals like Richard Painter are now in the paid service of front groups whose primary mission is political destruction. Part of the vanquished and angry Bushie crowd, Painter is a member of the left-wing group that is an “ethics watchdog” organization called CREW. It’s an eminence front.
Those pushing a treason narrative or the lie that this proves Russia was offering information obtained through spying discredit themselves.
If the Goldstone e-mails represent the Russian effort to help Trump defeat Hillary, and they sure read that way, they also reveal another somewhat new allegation. In fact, the media is asking exactly no questions about one very interesting line from this purportedly smoking gun exchang. Let’s isolate that line and consider it.
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.
Call me crazy … but this doesn’t say anything about illegally obtained, hacked, spy material and “dirt.” In fact, this very damaging, smoking gun, now-we-have-him e-mail purports to offer the Trump campaign “official documents” that will “incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.” Well, that is quite different than hacked DNC material …isn’t it?
If we are going to take this e-mail at its word, wouldn’t there be a stark difference between a Russian government agent offering to give you “dirt” or “intelligence” on an adversary versus offering to give you “official documents” that deal with Hillary and her “dealings with Russia?”
We have heard quite literally no analysis of this part of the damning e-mails.
If a foreign government offers to give you official documents it has of wrong-doing by an American politician, meeting that agent without contacting law enforcement might be stupid, but it sure doesn’t evidence a crime.
Doesn’t anyone want to know what these official documents are?
Again, I am not suggesting that Junior Trump should have taken this meeting, nor that he was acting in the interest of anyone but his father in so doing. He wanted to win, and if the e-mail had said “dirt” or ‘intelligence” he may well have responded the same way. But, it didn’t say that. It said the Russians had “official documents” that would “incriminate” “Hillary” about dealings with Russia.
That’s a big deal … and it’s a different deal. It also appears to have been a lie, and it appears the Russians had nothing of the sort. If they did, we would have heard about it long before now. However, if they did have such “official documents” … what the hell are they?
If we are going to investigate this e-mail exchange as a collusion effort, we should likewise be investigating just what these purported “official documents” were. Failing to investigate one without the other is just partisan hackery.
The truth be told; Putin was likely playing Trump and his son. Moreover, he is now playing them both again. He’s playing us all. Why is this story out now? It’s out because it serves Putin well. Trump is after North Korea. He is after Russia in Syria, and he purported “scolded” Putin on Russian interference in the election.
The leak of this information serves Russian interests … which is why Junior Trump is an idiot. Such a leak would not be possible if Trump Junior and his father handled it differently.
Imagine, for one minute, if this e-mail correspondence included Trump Junior writing back and saying something like.
“Rob. We have no interest in working with Russian official or unofficial channels on this political campaign. The Russians serve their own interests, and Republican or Democrat, those interests are not American interests. If the Russians have damning information about Hillary Clinton that is accurate and trustworthy, it should go to the FBI. Here is the number to that institution.”
If Junior had written that … well … this entire Russian narrative would be dead. He didn’t. That’s why he is a dumbass (<– go ahead, if you didn’t yet … click through … it’s funny). The Trumps wanted help from anyone to take down Hillary because winning is what they do … ethics, honesty, or appearances, be damned.
Is taking that meeting against the law? No law that I have read or that the democrats have pushed out in their talking points appears to apply at all under any of the now known “facts.” Of course, as more facts come to light, that “could” change.
Taking the meeting was stupid. It was naïve. It was proof of poor judgement. It was politically insane. Taking the meeting itself, was certainly not a crime.
Moreover, if the Russians did pass “official documents” to Trump and his team showing Clinton involved in shady Russian dealings, the proper thing to do would have been to then give them to the FBI. It appears they gave the Trumps no such thing. Did they give them something else? Did they give them anything? Right now, we have no proof of that. We do, however, have a right and duty to find out.
Indeed, the best evidence we have is that Trump team got a nothing-burger from Russian operatives. They got used. Now, that nothing burger just became a crap-sandwich.
Team Trump has earned the scorn, scrutiny, and rightful investigation of this incident. The end result will be further political damage.
Here’s the real irony. Putin got what he wanted. He wanted Hillary to lose. He is getting what he also wants, a weakened, dysfunctional, US government with a President unable to galvanize his people and lead. As a bonus, he also has us ripping our country apart at the seams trying to prove or disprove which “party” is the most un-American.
The left is very confused about what constitutes a crime, and what supports legal collusion. They have collusion confusion. Right now … all Americans are colluding to let the Russians win. That’s the only “crime” present.
Team Trump is destroying itself and taking down the GOP … and ultimately the country.
In the 1970’s, every American, irrespective of party, knew the Russian government was untrustworthy, subversive communists looking to take down America. It appears Don Junior could benefit from 1970’s parenting … with a swift kick in the ass … Red Forman style.
Of course … now such corporal punishment might be a crime in America.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is a trial Attorney and author of the new book on higher education, “Of Serfs and Lords: Why College Tuition is Creating a Debtor Class”
Rich is a former Assistant Law School Dean and Law Professor. At Mason Law Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP, drawing on his expertise as a former CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud.
Before returning to private practice, Rich taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation.
He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV. Rich has appeared on hundreds of stations as a legal expert or political commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL.
Rich also writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.