August 5th Will be Remembered as the Day Our President Admitted to "Collusion" With Russia
I know it doesn't feel like it now, but this is the point at which the whole house of cards starts to collapse. President Trump has now admitted that his campaign via his son, Donald Jr., knowingly sought out Russian State intelligence from Russian agents against his opponent in violation of Federal Law.
Trump on Twitter: "Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics - and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!"
Political campaigns do search for dirt on their opponents, but not through foreign agents, especially ones representing nations that are under sanctions. And it doesn't matter whether the meeting directly led to the campaign receiving the dirt that they sought. The question is one of intent. However, no one should take the President's assurance that it went "nowhere" at face value. And there is ample reason to believe that, in fact, the President did know about the meeting in advance. Just a few weeks ago CNN reported that Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, is willing to testify that Trump had prior knowledge of his son's meeting with Russian agents.
His tweet also reminds the nation of how willing our President is to lie to impede the Mueller investigation.
Axios: "Trump and his son have repeatedly changed their stance on the purpose of the 2016 meeting. In a statement to The New York Times last July, which investigators now know was dictated by President Trump, Don Jr. said the meeting was primarily about Russian adoptions."
So, in his tweet yesterday, President Trump has now embraced the "collusion is not a Federal crime" defense that has been adopted by his legal team. But, as you will hear more about in the coming weeks, the meeting did violate Federal campaign laws and may well constitute conspiracy against the United States.
Reuters: "While collusion is not a technical legal charge, Mueller could bring conspiracy charges if he finds that any campaign member worked with Russia to break U.S. law. Working with a foreign national with the intent of influencing a U.S. election could violate multiple laws, according to legal experts."
President Trump and his legal team know that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team now have enough evidence to charge Donald Jr. with multiple crimes. But they also know that this isn't strictly a legal battle. Its also a public relations and political struggle so expect many more tweets attacking the Russian investigation. Their strategy will be to convince their base that any charges brought by Mueller are politically motivated. But as lie upon lie are peeled away, that defense will be more difficult to sustain.