Updated: Witness at Meeting: Trump Jr. Asked Russian Attorney “for evidence of illicit money flowing to the Democratic National Committee”

AP reports.

Update: The updated version of the AP story now reads:

In his first public interview about the meeting, Akhmetshin said he accompanied Veselnitskaya to Trump Tower where they met an interpreter who participated in the meeting. He said he had learned about the meeting only that day when Veselnitskaya asked him to attend. He said he showed up in jeans and a T-shirt.

During the meeting, Akhmetshin said Veselnitskaya brought with her a plastic folder with printed-out documents that detailed what she believed was the flow of illicit funds to the Democratic National Committee. Veselnitskaya presented the contents of the documents to the Trump associates and suggested that making the information public could help the Trump campaign, he said.

“This could be a good issue to expose how the DNC is accepting bad money,” Akhmetshin recalled her saying.

Trump Jr. asked the attorney if she had all the evidence to back up her claims, including whether she could demonstrate the flow of the money. But Veselnitskaya said the Trump campaign would need to research it more. After that, Trump Jr. lost interest, according to Akhmetshin.


(Update: If this is true, it looks like now the RECEIPT of an in-kind contribution.)

More evidence of a potential illegal solicitation of a thing of value from a foreign source.

As I said at Slate:

Let’s first start with the statute Trump Jr. may have violated. Federal law makes it a potential crime for any person to “solicit” (that is, expressly or impliedly ask for) the contribution of “anything of value” from a foreign citizen.

While we do not know enough to say that Trump Jr. should be charged with violating this statute, emails released by Trump Jr. himself on Tuesday (as the New York Times was about to report on them) provide more than enough detail to merit an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller…..

t seems obvious that “I love it” constitutes solicitation in this instance. And there is a very strong argument to be made that “very high level and sensitive information” coming from the government of Russia is a “thing of value” for purposes of federal campaign finance law. The Federal Election Commission has said that providing free polling information to a candidate is a thing of value. It has said that when Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform gave a list of conservative activists in 37 states to the Bush–Cheney campaign in 2004, this was a thing of value which had to be reported by the campaign, even if the list was publicly posted on the group’s website. It said that Canadian campaign literature which an American candidate wanted to borrow from in his own campaign is a thing of value, even if its value is “nominal or difficult to ascertain.” It said that opposition research provided by a political group to Republican candidates can count as an in-kind contribution. And a federal court, in the prosecution of New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, said that a thing of value need only have subjective value to the recipient.


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