Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar, political analyst and social critic who writes books and articles, makes media appearances and lectures throughout the world about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Cohn is a Huffington Post Contributor and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio.
Donald Trump Jr.’s email communication and subsequent meeting with a lawyer connected to the Russian government constitute probable cause that he and his father’s presidential campaign violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (52 U.S.C. §§ 30101, 30121). It is not yet clear whether these events are sufficient to obtain a criminal conviction. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is amassing additional evidence, which could eventually lead to criminal prosecutions.
In a June 3, 2016, email chain Trump Jr. released on Twitter, British publicist and former tabloid reporter Rob Goldstone told Trump Jr. the Russian government had “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” Goldstone added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Seventeen minutes later, Trump Jr. replied, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
Six days later, on June 9, Trump Jr., then campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor, met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin, at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. arranged the meeting with the expectation of receiving negative information the Russian government supposedly had about Hillary Clinton.
These facts amount to probable cause that Trump Jr., the Trump campaign, and likely Manafort and Kushner committed federal election interference in violation of federal criminal law.Read moreRead On