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Did Trump Tower meeting violate this law?

CNN's Alisyn Camerota reads the federal law that makes it a crime for any person to receive contributions and donations by foreign nationals for a US political campaign.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 5:55 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2018 6:02 PM

In normal circumstances, fathers safeguard sons.

But with a peevish statement on Twitter this weekend, President Donald Trump undermined his son, Donald Trump Jr., and one of his own lawyers, saying that when the Trump presidential campaign team met with a Russian operative at Trump Tower in 2016, its purpose was "to get information on an opponent." Trump added, that it all was "totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!"

As with so many Trump tweets, a few words can reveal a host of serious problems. And indeed, if you are able to find a similar example of paternal aggression in real life or in mythology, you are an able scholar.

Trump's tweet about the 2016 meeting reads like nothing so much as an exasperated father having to clean up the mess left by a bumbling offspring who -- it turns out -- is pretty bad at plying the family trade. More than anything else, that trade has been about managing -- and massaging -- the mythology of the Trump business: We're rich! We're decisive! We're winners!

And in this case Donald Jr. has failed utterly.

The fact is, his father's statement may imperil him: Trump Jr. could face perjury charges if he is shown to have lied to a Congressional committee about his intentions for the meeting and particularly his understanding of who would be there.

To review: First Trump Jr. said he never met with Russians about the campaign. Then, after a 2017 New York Times article reported that he and others had met in 2016 with a Kremlin-tied lawyer (who later described herself as an "informant") at Trump Tower, he first released a statement that the discussion at the meeting had been primarily about a US adoption program that had been halted by Russia (this statement was a deception concocted aboard Air Force One by his father).Then he released emails that made plain he was actually drawn to the meeting by the promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton -- a promise, he told investigators, that went unfulfilled.

The deception over the meeting was compounded when Trump attorney Jay Sekulow stated publicly: "I wasn't involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President." Now Sekulow says: "I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement. I've talked about that before. That happens when you have cases like this."

Though Sekulow tried to explain away the reversal -- "I had bad information" -- no qualified lawyer, especially one representing the President, would speak to the press without being sure of the facts. "Bad information" can be fatal in a legal context, and if Sekulow disseminated a lie, he was either the President's dupe or his co-conspirator.

After kneecapping Sekulow, Trump then went into his usual don't-blame-me position with his weekend tweet. "I did not know about it" was a classic Trump effort to wriggle out of responsibility. It also signaled a definite shift in his response to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the links between Trump's campaign and Russians who attacked the election process.

For more than a year Trump's mantra has been "no collusion." "No collusion" occurred with the Russians who stole private emails for his opponents and facilitated their release to the public. With Mueller closing in, the new defense seems to be: OK, maybe collusion, but that's not a crime and, besides, the man at the top knew nothing.

So who did know? The list begins with his son, Donald Jr., the one most imperiled by Mueller's team. Those emails released more than a year ago show Donald Jr. was eager to receive foreign help in the pursuit of his father's goal of the presidency. "If it's what you say, I love it," he wrote in response to a foreigner's note about dirt on Hillary Clinton.

No one should doubt that documents that might damage an opponent constitute a contribution with real value. As such, Donald Jr.'s emails and his attendance at the Trump Tower meeting could put him in the middle of a criminal conspiracy.

If he lied to Congressional investigators who questioned him on the matter, he might also be subject to charges of perjury. Others who attended the meeting, including the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign manager Paul Manafort -- the latter of whom is on trial for alleged financial crimes right now -- and they face great peril, too.

By insisting he knew nothing about such a dramatic scheme, Trump wants us to reject logic and everything we know about how he operates. Trump is a man who relishes gossip, inside information and the thrill of breaking the rules. Manipulation is the family business that Donald Jr. was groomed to practice. And as sure as he breathes, he would have eagerly announced to his father that he was playing this game.

Over many decades of public life, Trump has shown that for him, winning is all that matters and if victory requires a bit of distortion and immorality, so be it. This attitude, as he adopted false personas in the past to promote himself, and, during his presidency, displayed as he inflamed racial tensions and whipped others into a frenzy of hatred for the press, is the core of Trump's personality. He is so devoted to his winner's façade that he refuses to take responsibility for anything that goes wrong.

As candidate and now President, Trump has violated so many moral norms that the shadowy content of his character is well established.

In apparently selling out his son, and exposing him to inevitable shame and possible prosecution, he has reached yet another new low. This is appalling but not a surprise, nor does it reflect a momentary lapse. It is a reflection of the President's truest self and we should expect to see more of the same.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 658043

Reported Deaths: 12467
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion902221628
Lake48163871
Allen35614632
Hamilton31884394
St. Joseph29615510
Elkhart25291412
Vanderburgh21148377
Tippecanoe19815197
Johnson16262353
Porter15867268
Hendricks15744297
Clark11860179
Madison11688315
Vigo11520228
Monroe10267158
Delaware9800178
LaPorte9725194
Howard9024194
Kosciusko8519107
Bartholomew7394147
Warrick7380147
Hancock7379128
Floyd7149165
Wayne6597189
Grant6406157
Morgan6044124
Boone604188
Dubois5876111
Dearborn541266
Henry539892
Marshall5397104
Cass538999
Noble507575
Jackson462663
Shelby458890
Lawrence4161111
Gibson400581
Harrison395960
Clinton393353
DeKalb382878
Montgomery382883
Miami355163
Knox354484
Whitley347235
Huntington339276
Steuben336355
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Putnam326559
Ripley325261
Adams320749
Jasper313643
White295651
Jefferson293270
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Fayette270555
Decatur269688
Greene260278
Posey260031
Wells256074
Scott248947
LaGrange240270
Clay239444
Randolph225076
Spencer216130
Jennings214044
Washington208727
Sullivan202239
Fountain200641
Starke186450
Owen181652
Fulton177437
Jay177328
Carroll175718
Perry172635
Orange170450
Rush164222
Vermillion159040
Franklin158435
Tipton145641
Parke138415
Pike127232
Blackford120327
Pulaski106243
Newton96431
Brown94839
Benton91213
Crawford90113
Martin80014
Switzerland7527
Warren74712
Union66810
Ohio52811
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 959995

Reported Deaths: 17045
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1111071193
Cuyahoga945941709
Hamilton72643947
Montgomery46983875
Summit39720942
Butler35094460
Lucas34829757
Stark29061835
Warren22166270
Lorain21781386
Mahoning19282537
Lake18210300
Clermont18200206
Delaware16289129
Licking14832197
Fairfield14401156
Trumbull14171455
Greene13481211
Medina13220219
Clark12139333
Wood11411193
Portage10870153
Allen10715232
Richland10184205
Miami9954179
Columbiana8052179
Muskingum8046123
Tuscarawas7984235
Pickaway796798
Marion7944135
Wayne7799217
Erie6803183
Ross6083136
Geauga5996129
Hancock5945110
Scioto5886105
Ashtabula5884143
Lawrence520373
Union506552
Darke5013122
Belmont483987
Sandusky473393
Jefferson4726107
Huron4722117
Seneca4624103
Athens457331
Mercer4570101
Auglaize454498
Washington452186
Shelby439167
Knox398584
Putnam3967101
Madison389147
Ashland375495
Fulton375364
Defiance3682102
Brown367842
Crawford355396
Preble351070
Logan350158
Clinton336862
Highland324455
Ottawa319667
Williams299777
Jackson287756
Guernsey284034
Champaign283145
Fayette266343
Perry265943
Morrow257224
Henry243665
Holmes2420104
Hardin241957
Coshocton230847
Van Wert227849
Gallia219846
Adams213732
Pike212825
Wyandot207952
Hocking192248
Carroll178928
Paulding158023
Meigs133836
Noble128142
Monroe115336
Morgan99734
Harrison99632
Vinton76515
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