Why is it a problem for Trump Jr to have met with Russians?

  • My understanding is that Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer intending to get information damaging to Hillary Clinton from said lawyer. Campaigning politicians always gather damaging information about their opponents from anywhere they can find it. I don't understand why the source of the information makes a difference. If they had been working together to do something specifically illegal, like hacking voting booths or something, I could understand the fuss but gathering information is a perfectly legal and normal thing to do so far as I know. What am I missing? If the lawyer had been Swedish instead of Russian would this still be an issue?

    Edit: If the fact that the information came from a foreign national is what makes it illegal, does this mean that any information that a campaign finds useful, no matter how mundane, from anyone who is not a US citizen is illegal to obtain?

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  • James K

    James K Correct answer

    4 years ago

    The short answer is yes. It does matter where the information comes from

    There is a legal difference because a campaign cannot take something of value from a foreign agent. But that is off topic.

    It makes a big difference politically because of the ongoing investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government. As such it fits a pattern of senior people, close to Trump, having contacts with Russian agents, in this case, a lawyer who has some (disputed) connection to the Russian Government.

    It would have been different if it had been a Swedish Lawyer. Sweden is an active ally of the USA, Sweden is a close partner to NATO and a "Western Democracy". Russia is none of these things. Moreover, there have been multiple examples of people losing their position in the Trump administration (Cage, Manafort, and most notably Flynn) following evidence that they had contacts with Russians. The Russians favoured the election of Trump over Clinton. The impression is that these stories about Russian are moving closer to the President. The question is, did President act improperly?

    So on its own, this is not much of a story. But as part of a pattern of behaviour among Trump associates, it is important.

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    So if Venezuela, similarly not "Western democracy" or part of NATO, were to have supported Clinton, that would have also been concerning.

    @PaulDraper See chat.

    There's also the issue that it was unreported contact with a foreign agent, which could (at least in theory) be grounds for revocation of his security clearance and federal criminal charges.

    @RedGrittyBrick I'm avoiding discussing legal matters. See chat.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM