In the wake of revelations that Donald Trump Jr and others may have run afoul of 11 CFR 110.20, “Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals” (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510), POTUS and his surrogates are pushing “news” of seemingly related events that are meant to distract from the potential federal criminal activity by members of the Trump campaign.
Yesterday brought a renewed effort to claim that the Clinton Campaign had received help from Ukrainians. Politifact provided a nice compare and contrast of the two situations, and while I think they made it clear that the two situations are not analogous, others may disagree. But, even if the Clinton campaign is potentially guilty of the same crime as the Trump campaign, that doesn’t mean what the Trump campaign did was justified. This relates to the previous piece on hypocrisy, with the take-away that two wrongs don’t make a right.
Today the discussion is about the Obama Department of Justice letting the Russian lawyer with whom Junior met into the country, with the implication that the meeting is therefore somehow the fault of Obama. This argument isn’t hypocritical, it is absurd. How she got into the country is immaterial with respect to Junior’s intent to meet her to acquire derogatory information about Clinton. Even if she entered illegally as some allege, that has no bearing on another actor’s intent to meet with her.
These attempts at counter-accusation are smoke-screens. They have no bearing on whether members of the Trump campaign violated federal law.