The bottom line issue is that when his acquaintence sent him an email that literally said the “Russian government wants to help your father’s campaign” and that they were sending a “Government Lawyer” to give them inside information on Hillary Clinton that would damage her campaign and help Trump’s. The fact that Junior said “If that’s true, I love it” and then start planning for phone calls and personal meetings to get ahold of that information is the problem.
The FEC rules state that anyone who “solicits, receives or accepts a foreign gift or contribution” is committing a crime.
It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
The federal code of regulations defines “Solicitation” as…
“To ask, request, or recommend, explicitly or implicitly, that another person make a contribution, donation, transfer of funds, or otherwise provide anything of value.”
We’ve seen a ton of smoke blown up lately about the DNC and Ukraine or about Christophe Steele’s dossier but those are simply put, bullshit.
Last night on CNN Trump’s attorney Sekolow tried to make this argument as did Huckabee-Sanders this morning.
“Look, I think we’ve been extremely clear and I know that Don Jr. discussed it at length last night as well as the president’s counsel,” she said. “If there’s any evidence of collusion it would be between the DNC and the Ukrainian government.”
She continued, “Information passed to the DNC from the Ukrainian government directly targeted members of the Trump campaign.”
What Huckabee-Sanders and Sekolow seem strategically ignorant of is the fact that the Ukrainian government did not send an operative or an intermediary to provide information to the DNC. They did not offer this information as a “gift or a contribution” to the Clinton campaign via the DNC, in fact it was a consultant of the DNC who was investigating Manafort and that woman, an American born citizen named Alexandra Chalupa — whose parents are from the Ukraine — herself went to the Ukrainian embassy to ask questions about Manafort and his relationship with former Ukrainian despot and Putin Pal Viktor Yanakovych as reported month’s ago by Politico.
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.
The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.
Besides talking to a DNC consultant members of the Ukrainian government also released reports about Manafort indicating that he has accepted $12 Million of cash under the table from Yanakovych, but that wasn’t information that went to the DNC or the Clinton campaign, it went to the New York Times.
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
Apparently it was this revelation that knocked Manafort out of his socks at the Trump campaign, but it obviously didn’t torpedo the entire campaign effort. Far from it.
Also as Sen. Franken points out here, Ukraine didn’t hack the RNC, or Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and then establish a cyber influence operation to trick voters with fake news while the Clinton’s were trying to build a Hotel in Kiev.
Ukrainian “influence” in the 2016 campaign was nothing like Russia’s persistent and concerted efforts to make Trump President.
The other argument is that it was as improper for former MI-6 Officer Christopher Steele, being British, to research and provide opposition information about Donald Trump in his dossier, but they ignore that like Chulapa, Steele was a paid consultant for the campaign of one of Trump’s GOP opponents.
What he provided to them wasn’t a “Gift” and it wasn’t a “Contribution” — it was something that that campaign was paying for. It wasn't coming from a foreign government, or the agent of a foreign government because Steele was already retired from MI-6. Also when the information he was finding began to alarm him he stopped giving it to his client and started sending the information to the FBI, and then when he felt they weren’t really listening he went to the press via David Corn at Mother Jones, and then eventually the British Ambassador to Russia helped facilitate getting the information to the FBI Director James Comey with the aid of Senate John McCain.
So that’s not a “Gift” that was hand delivered to the Clinton Campaign, it was hand delivered to the Press, Congress and the FBI.
Neither of these situations are anything like what we now know that Donald Jr agreed to do, and it frankly doesn’t matter that no useful information was provided. He clearly was trying to get the information, he was very excited at the prospect of getting that information and was highly disappointed when he didn’t get it, then shut the meeting down when Veselnitskaya wandered off into the Adoption/Magnitski act issue.
It’s not about whether she actually was an agent of the Russian government, Trump Jr. thought that she was and jumped at the chance to get their data.
Now since this has come out Veselnitskaya has denied she was working for the Russian government or had any incrimination information about Clinton — Emin Agalarov’s attorney has thrown Rob Goldstone totally under the bus saying all his claims in the email about the “Russian Government” and a “Russian prosecutor” talking to Aras Agalarov were bogus — which if true means that she was only using those claims as a pre-text to bring up what she really wanted to talk about, which was the Magnitski Act, over which she had a client who at that time was being sued under Magnitski by U.S. Attorney Press Bharara.
And as it has turned out as Jen Hayden and ericlewis0 have written that case against her client Denis Katsyv of Prevezon was abruptly settled not long after Trump fired Preet Bharara.
Natalia Veselnitskaya represented the owner of Russian firm Prevezon Holdings Ltd. The letter sent by House Judiciary ranking member John Conyers and other Democrats asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether Veselnitskaya had been involved in settlement negotiations between the Russian firm and the Justice Department.
Prevezon agreed in May to pay $6 million to the government to avoid a civil trial on charges that the firm had laundered proceeds from an alleged $230 million Russian tax fraud scheme.
Veselnitskaya represented Dennis Katsyv, Prevezon's owner. Katsyv backed a lobbying campaign in Congress and with federal officials last year that was aimed at scuttling the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that used sanctions to target officials and associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government.
So she pretty much got exactly what she wanted following that meeting with Trump Jr. and remember that Trump’s current lawyer was bragging about getting Bharara fired because he was afraid that “This guys is going to get [Trump].”
Marc Kasowitz, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer in the Russia investigation, has boasted to friends and colleagues that he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to four people familiar with the conversations.
Kasowitz told Trump, “This guy is going to get you,” according to a person familiar with Kasowitz’s account.
Besides filing the Magnitski Act case against Prevezon Holdings, Bharara had also prosecuted a Russian spy who had been using a job working for VEB bank as his cover as he tried to covertly recruit New York businessmen — like Carter Page — into being a Kremlin asset. VEB would be the same bank headed by FSB Academy graduate Sergei Gorkov who later secretly met with Jared Kushner at Trump Tower at the suggestion of former Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition.
Bharara also, back in 2013, had prosecuted a set of Russian Mobsters who were running a gambling and money laundering right out of suite 63A of Trump Tower.
Between 2011 and 2013 the Bureau had a warrant to spy on a high-level criminal Russian money-laundering ring, which operated in unit 63A of the iconic skyscraper — three floors below Mr Trump's penthouse.
The investigation led to the indictment of more than 30 people, including alleged mafia boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, according to ABC News.
“He is a major player,” said Mike Gaeta, the agent who led the 2013 FBI investigation, in a 2014 interview.
“He is prominent. He has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries."
Several months after these charges were filed Toktakhounov was seen on the red carpet at Trump Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.
On April 16, 2013, federal agents burst into a swanky apartment at Trump Tower in New York City as part of a larger raid that rounded up 29 suspected members of two global gambling rings with operations allegedly overseen by a supposed Russian mob boss named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. The Russian was not nabbed by US law enforcement. Since being indicted in the United States a decade earlier for allegedly rigging an ice skating competition at the 2002 Olympics, he had been living in Russia, beyond the reach of Western authorities. And this new gambling indictment did not appear to inconvenience Tokhtakhounov. Seven months after the bust, he was a VIP attendee at Donald Trump’s Miss Universe 2013 contest held in Moscow. In fact, Tokhtakhounov hit the red carpet within minutes of Trump. An alleged crime lord who was a fugitive from American justice was apparently a celebrity guest at Trump’s event.
So there are several reasons why Trump and many of his Russian friends like Tokhtakhounav or the Agalarov family or the Katsyv family might have Bharara in their crosshairs and might look to Donald Trump or Trump jr. to be their savior. Which he became. Lucky them.
There’s one other issue specifically about Donald Trump jr. that has come forward tonight. Apparently back last July one month after his meeting with Veselnitskaya, 3 weeks after the Russian hack of the DNC was announced and traunches of emails began appearing via DCLeaks and Wikileaks, on the second day of the Democratic Convention, a Wapo reporters asked a Kremlin Official about the DNC Hack and he said she should refer the question to Donald Trump Jr.
On Monday, the FBI formally acknowledged that it is looking into the DNC hack. The agency has been probing the matter for months and on Monday said publicly that it will “investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.” The FBI announcement followed the stunning allegation by the Clinton campaign Sunday that the Russian government was behind the release of damaging documents on the WikiLeaks website as part of a ploy to help Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, called the suggestions “absurd” and suggested that Democrats were looking to shift attention away from damaging information about the party’s conduct during the primary campaign.
On Monday, fallout from the hack also reverberated at the Kremlin, where a spokesman declined to comment on the hack except to refer reporters to comments by Trump’s son, Don Jr., calling the allegations part of a pattern of “lie after lie.”
Now, isn’t that something, eh?
CIA Director Brennen established that the hacks were the work of Russia and personally ordered by Putin just one month later, and in October one month before the election Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence announced that these hacks were directed by the highest levels inside the Kremlin.
This isn’t just about one meeting, this is about a pattern of connections and false denials that show consciousness of guilt. Why was there a bunch of Russian gangsters operating out of Trump Tower? Why does the head of the gang of Russians show up on Trump’s Red Carpet in Moscow without batting an eye? Why it is that Jared Kushner met with the head of a Russian bank that had housed convicted spies on it’s payroll? Why is it that Trump reversed himself on firing Preet Bharara and then suddenly his Magnitski Act cases folds like a pack of wet cards? Why was Trump Jr. so eager to get negative dope on Hillary, and then was so disappointed when he wasn’t getting that? Why is it an associate of Michael Flynn was going out and contacting Russian Hackers to get copies of Hillary’s emails? Why have the Trumpsters been so quick to deny and fought so hard to argue that Russia couldn’t or probably didn’t hack the DNC and Podesta in the first place?
It’s very likely we’ve haven’t gotten the full story yet, and we won't be getting it soon, not until facts and documents force the Trumpsters to fully and finally come clean.