After since Donald Trump tweeted that his son’s meeting with Russian representatives in Trump Tower with Russian government ” to get information on an opponent,” the media have been in overdrive claiming they now have hard evidence of “collusion.”
There are a number of problems with this bold assertion, not the least of which is that the president’s tweet on Sunday was a reprise of an almost identical message he posted on Twitter a year ago.
In addition, not every legal expert recruited by “gotcha” outlets is of a single mind on whether the meeting violated campaign law. Among the skeptics is CNN’s legal analyst Ross Garber, who opined on Monday that Donald Jr.’s meeting with Russians was probably not illegal.
“I think there’s actually a fairly good argument that it’s not illegal, that information would not be considered by the courts to be a ‘thing of value,’ largely because of the First Amendment,” Garber said.
But he didn’t just leave it that. He also added:
Then the other thing the president points out, fairly, is if information is a thing of value, well then what about the information that came from Russian nationals and to the Clinton campaign and the DNC through Steele? That’s a fair point.
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley agrees. In an op-ed for The Hill titled “If Trump meeting is illegal, then Clinton dossier is criminal too,” Turley writes:
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota and others declared that the tweet makes a criminal charge against Trump an “open and shut case.” It does not. It is not even compelling evidence of a crime, because it is based on an erroneous interpretation of federal election laws. What is most alarming is the failure, again, to consider the implications of radically expanding the scope of such laws just to bag Trump or his family at any cost.
Later in the piece he delivers more bad news to the Left:
The media has [sic] largely ignored that Hillary Clinton and her campaign spent a huge amount of money to fund the efforts of former British spy Christopher Steele to gather dirt on Trump, including information from the Russian government and intelligence figures. All of the outcries and expressions of shock by Democratic leaders over the Trump Tower meeting ignores [sic] the more extensive contacts and efforts by the Clinton campaign.
Most commentators are in agreement that the Trump Tower meeting was, as Ross Garber puts it, a “terrible idea.” However, people don’t go to jail for terrible ideas unless they also happen to be illegal.