Constitutional Law Expert – NO CRIME in Don Jr. Meeting


Only in the wild imaginations of those suffering from TDS, or “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” think there were laws broken by a private citizen meeting with another private citizen to discuss opposition research during an election.
Uh, this stuff happens every day of the week.
A Constitutional law expert agrees.
As far as he can see now, with the evidence that’s out there, Donald Trump Jr. committed no crime.
From The Blaze
A constitutional lawyer with a background in campaign finance says that he would have advised Donald Trump, Jr. not to meet with the Russian lawyer who claimed to have information that would “incriminate” former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
But he also said that the meeting and possible exchange of information does not rise to the level of criminality, as many politicians and pundits have suggested.
Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., told TheBlaze in an interview Wednesday that from what he has seen so far, nothing that Trump Jr. or the Trump campaign did was illegal.
“Based on what’s in the public so far, I don’t see something that’s criminal,” Shapiro said. But that “isn’t to say that it doesn’t look bad or is generally not a good practice for these campaigns to engage in these kinds of meetings.”
“So far, from what I’ve seen. … it looks like he took a meeting but that he didn’t really get anything out of the meeting. That, without knowing more, doesn’t seem to rise to the level of either a campaign finance violation, let alone something criminal,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro was referring to the media firestorm that was unleashed this week when Trump Jr. released emails between him and publicist Rob Goldstone.
The email chain appeared to show Goldstone informing Trump Jr. that a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer had “very high level” and “sensitive” information that would “incriminate” Clinton and be “very useful” to then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Trump Jr. replied to the email with “if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
This email exchange, in and of itself, Shapiro said, does not indicate any criminal wrongdoing on the part of Trump Jr. or the Trump campaign.
Shapiro explained that’s partly because there did not appear to be any solicitation for help from the Russians by Trump Jr.
Further, he said, the campaign finance statute that some have said Trump Jr. may have violated uses very specific language.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions, donations or expenditures, either directly or through any other person, in connection with any election — federal, state or local. In addition, foreign nationals may not donate to any party committee building fund, or fund electioneering communications or independent expenditures.
Federal statute § 100.52 defines a “contribution” as “a gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office is a contribution.
Shapiro made the point Wednesday that because the statute specifically defines a “contribution” as “anything of value,” Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer did not violate the law.
Shapiro explained that legal precedent in previous campaign finance court cases have equated “anything of value” with something “quantifiable.”
“Isn’t opposition research valuable? Certainly,” the constitutional law expert said. “But in terms of how the courts have treated the terms that are in the statute, a ‘thing of value’ has to be quantifiable, not just, will this benefit the campaign in some way.”
That’s not to say that if Trump Jr. went into the meeting expecting damaging information about Clinton and was willing to compromise something in return, it wouldn’t be an issue.
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