Liberal constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley laid to rest many of the claims Tuesday from the media and politicos of illegality and collusion surrounding Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a “Kremlin-connected” lawyer.
Turley, a legal scholar at George Washington University, batted away claims of criminality, asking “does any of this constitute a clear crime or even a vague inkblot image of a crime?” His answer: no, not on the facts.
Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, said on MSNBC Sunday that the meeting “borders on treason.” Turley notes the specificity of Article III of the Constitution’s delineation of what exactly constitutes treason — “levying war against [the United States], and “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” Aside from the fact that the details discussed at the meeting — if any at all —regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are unknown, the encounter does not amount to treason. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump Jr. Commit Treason?)
Politico reported Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics attorney, claimed that Donald Trump Jr. violated the Logan Act, a law Turley notes “has never been used to convict a single U.S. citizen and is widely viewed as facially unconstitutional.”
The Independent raised the question of a Donald Trump Jr. “conspiracy” to “defraud the United States.” No evidence is offered says Turley, and no further actions are known to have occurred. There has never been a case under the law cited that “even remotely resembles such a distortive claim.”
MSNBC’s justice analyst Matthew Miller sees a violation of federal law banning foreign contributions to federal campaigns — barring direct or indirect payments or other things of value from a foreign national — saying that “it doesn’t have to be money … it can be, potentially, accepting information.” Miller’s suggestion creates a profound legal quandary, meaning that sharing information “even possible criminal conduct by a leading political figure — would be treated the same as accepting cash,” constituting a violation of the 1st Amendment safeguards of free speech, press and freedom of association.
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