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July 11, 2017

Lawyer: Nope, Donald Trump Junior Is Not Guilty of an Improper Campaign Solicitation from a Foreign National

A lot of Twitter Lawyers and/or People Who Play Internet Lawyers on Twitter are making the claim that any willingness to accept information from a foreign source is violation of campaign finance laws -- the claim is being made that this is either a solicitation of something "of value" or else a solicitation of an "in-kind" contribution.

A trial lawyer writes at Dan Abrams' Law Newz site that this is just the chatterings of non-lawyers or lawyers yapping outside their fields of actual expertise -- because campaign finance rules specifically permit any foreign national to volunteer services, including, specifically, information. The only forbiddance is that such volunteers cannot be compensated, which would make them non-volunteers.

The Code of Federal Regulations makes the law immunizing Trump Jr.’s actions precisely clear: any foreign national individual may volunteer personal services to a federal candidate or federal political committee without making a contribution. The law provides this volunteer “exemption” as long as the individual performing the service is not compensated by anyone on the campaign. See 11 CFR 100.74. For example, as the Federal Election Commission advises all, “an individual can provide volunteer services to a candidate or party without considering the value of those service a contribution to the candidate or party.” Section 30121 of Title 52 does not apply to voluntary activity or services. The thing “of value” must be actual money, or its transferable equivalent, not a volunteer of services or information.

The Twitter Legal Brigade is big on reading that "of value" caveat expansively, claiming it means pretty much "anything helpful to you." But actual lawyers fluent in the field know it means cash or cash-equivalents, and specifically does not include volunteered services or information.

Otherwise, if volunteering information in coordination with a campaign constituted donations, everyone from John Harwood to Chuck Todd (and maybe all of CNN) made millions in donations to the Hillary campaign, as WikiLeaks emails disclosed.

The hystrionic partisan Jake Tapper is claiming, meanwhile, that these emails demonstrate "collusion" without any possible counterargument. Collusion means "cooperation with a corrupt purpose," and cooperation includes the idea of "working together" or, second definition, "rendering aid."

Trump Jr. did not offer to work with Russians, nor to render them aid. He stands accused of being willing to do what the media does as its daily trade -- listen to a source with possibly interesting information.

The fact that the leftists in the media see this so easily as "collusion" is due to the fact they can only see this from their own vantage point.

Consider: To them, those who voted with all their girlish might for Hillary and who cried when Pennsylvania's votes were counted, of course Trump Jr. must have been acting on behalf of Russia. Their Narrative is that Russia wanted Hillary to lose; ergo, if Trump Jr. is willing to hear information about Hillary that the media would itself cover up, his only motive would be to help Russia.

The "aid" that he would be rendering Russia is only that of beating Hillary, which they assert is Russia's whole Nefarious Scheme.

It doesn't seem to dawn on them that Trump Jr. would have reasons to want to beat Hillary that have noting at all to do with wishing to "help Russia in its scheming."

Jake Tapper plainly wished Hillary would win -- and so did Iran, knowing that Hillary would carry on Obama's pro-Iran-nuke legacy.

Does that mean all the negative stories that Jake Tapper has run on behalf of Hillary means that he was in "collusion with Iran" -- agreeing to cooperate with Iran for a corrupt purpose?

Did he refuse to even mention the Ben Rhodes "Echo Chamber" story so as to further his collusion with Iran?

No, of course not. Iran had an interest in helping Hillary, and Jake Tapper had his own independent interest in helping Hillary. Jake Tapper refused to run the Echo Chamber story, which had the effect of being an "in-kind donation" to Iran, for his own partisan political goals, not specifically to "aid Iran."

This fixation on seeing things only in terms of whether they help or hurt Hillary -- and not, as Trump would see it, whether they help or hurt him -- is the basic psychological defect they have of seeing Donald Trump Junior's mere willingness to receive oppo against his opponent as "collusion with Russia's schemes," rather than rather basic campaign 101 stuff.

Meanwhile, while the media continues huffing and puffing over Trump Junior being willing to hear oppo on Hillary from a foreign national -- and not actually getting to hear it, as she had none -- they continue ignoring completely the fact Democrats did in fact receive oppo from a foreign country against Trump, from Ukraine.

From Politico -- from January. A story that plopped into the news pond and barely made a ripple.

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

If that's legal -- and no one seriously suggested it wasn't -- why can't Trump Jr. listen to some oppo information about his opponent?

By the way, don't answer that with the #ButRussia nonsense. There is no #ButRussia exception in the law. And for those who'd say #ButRussia -- then, #ButIran.

Iran wanted Hillary to win. Those who "colluded" to help Hillary win by publishing claims of Iranian advocacy groups are guilty of colluding with an enemy of America, too.

And also, Ukraine might be America's ally, but foreign nationals all have their own national interests for offering information.

Adnan Chalabi was an unimpeachable patriot for an Iraq free of Saddam Hussein's despotism. He was an "ally."

But this ally infected US intelligence with all sorts of misinformation, and possibly straight-up lies, to get the US to take out Saddam Hussein.

Chalabi was a patriot for his own nation-- but in the end, he was no particular friend of the US'. Certainly he did the US no favors by bringing very fake "informants" to us like CURVEBALL and convincing us Saddam was a threat to us.

A threat to Chalabi's fellow Iraqis, definitely. But he convinced us he was a threat to us as well. As the left pontificated endlessly -- He lied us into war.

So no, I'm not willing to entertain a #ButRussia extra-legal caveat as to why it's fine for DNC officials to sit down with Ukrainian operatives with their own nationalistic agendas but Trump Jr. can't sit down with a Russian lawyer -- just a lawyer -- promising some dirt on Hillary (and turning out to have been yet another con artist who bluffed her way past the door claiming to want to talk about something that interested Don Trump Jr. when actually having only her own agenda to discuss).

And also note that the only thing the liberals seem to find bad about Russia is that they tried to influence this one election. (They've never cared that Russia has been interfering in our politics, on the left's behalf, for decades upon decades.)

Whether the Ukraine is "an ally" or not, they tried to interfere in our election -- which is the only thing CNN can find fault with Russia about.

So: same thing. It's just that the liberals and the NeverTrumpers (a distinction made with decreasing credibility) are angry at Russia for interfering on the wrong side, whereas Ukraine interfered on the right one.

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posted by Ace at 04:01 PM

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