The ink on the Mueller report is barely dry, and Donald Trump is openly discussing accepting help from foreign governments in 2020. Apparently, barely escaping the Mueller probe with his presidency intact isn’t enough to shut Trump’s mouth. He is boastful and overconfident, so overconfident that he obviously doesn’t even realize when he’s doing something so inherently stupid. We are seeing a distinct pattern and practice with this administration. Since his shout-out to Russia sent them breaking into the DNC’s computers, perhaps this one is intended to ask Russia for help again, especially in light of his dismal polling numbers.
According to Huffington Post, legal experts are up in arms over “President” Trump’s behavior during his interview with George Stephanopoulos. Poor George is probably still trying to wash off the stench of the traitor-in-chief. Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether he would accept information on his Democratic rival from a foreign entity such as China or Russia or whether he would call the FBI. His response was simply stunning: “I think maybe you do both.” He went on to say, “It’s not interference.” Instead, he calls it “opposition research.” Even as legal experts and Democrats condemn Trump’s behavior, NPR fact checked the difference between interference and opposition research.
Opposition research is a part of politics. However, campaigns are prohibited by law from taking contributions, money, or any “other things of value” from foreigners. Period. For example, if one candidate finds “dirt” on an opposition candidate, he or she could certainly ensure that the media gets the information as a means of hurting that opponent. There is absolutely nothing illegal (though perhaps immoral) in doing this.
NPR points out that the Trump campaign was counting on information from WikiLeaks in 2016, information that was stolen, and information that was then offered to Trump Jr, who readily jumped at the opportunity. Though Mueller declined or was prohibited from prosecuting, it is clear that this information and the attorney who brought the information were tied to the Kremlin. Trump Jr claimed (not that he’s reliable) that all they had was “a tip” about Democratic fundraising money, which was not “juicy” enough for them, so they declined. The point that they declined is irrelevant; the fact that they accepted the information violates federal law.
Now Donald Trump has gone on national television, saying that he would do it again, even though he surely now knows this is illegal. Does he truly believe himself above the law because Mueller didn’t prosecute, or is he merely inviting help again, as he did when he invited Russia to find Clinton’s missing emails? In any normal court of law, the prosecutor would find Trump’s little hand in the cookie jar and would lock him up and throw away the key. While many are concerned about changes in campaign laws and term limits, we should be more concerned with how to lift the DOJ rule that prohibits indicting a sitting president. If that rule didn’t exist, “President” Trump wouldn’t be a sitting president. He would be sitting in jail.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years