Following up on my earlier post about whether Trump Jr.’s revelations of the meeting with a Russian operative who was offering dirt on Hillary Clinton could violate the law on soliciting foreign contributions, Bob Bauer has this must-read:
Of course, it should go without saying that we will have a reliable grasp on the evidence only when the facts are developed and tested through the legal system. There are a host of questions still to be answered about the reported Trump campaign contacts. But the most recent press accounts are especially significant because they include specific statements on the record conceding the Trump campaign’s expressed interest in what the Russians could provide. Those statements show intent–a clear-cut willingness to have Russian support–and they reveal specific actions undertaken to obtain it….
This new and remarkable information adds considerably to the potential criminal violation of the federal law that prohibits “substantial assistance” to foreign nationals seeking to influence a federal election. Now we have, as part of the public record, specific and private actions to establish intent to provide this assistance. Donald Trump can’t very well sustain his position that in calling for the Russians to find the missing email, he was merely joking. His campaign was furthering behind closed doors the objective that the candidate was “jokingly” professing. If confirmed and further developed in the Mueller investigation, these facts also bolster the campaign’s exposure to “aiding and abetting” liability for a campaign finance violation.
There are two additional grounds for that criminal liability: the campaign’s “coordination” with Russian foreign national sources, as a result of which it received an illegal contribution, and its “solicitation” of this illegal contribution, each of which independently violate the law.