Mueller’s Choice of Criminal Charges: Why the Trump Team Should Be Very Worried | Just Security
by Sam Berger
Ryan Goodman recently highlighted an important revelation contained in the memo written by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee: Not only had the Russians told the Trump campaign that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails, but they had also previewed for George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, that they could help with disseminating them.
This revelation would suggest significant legal exposure on its own. But when viewed within the broader context of what we know about the Russia investigation, it is further evidence of an extremely troubling pattern of interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia-linked operatives, which show an intertwining of two campaigns to elect Donald Trump: one run out of Trump Tower and one run out of the Kremlin.
Goodman and the experts he spoke with identified four types of actions that could create criminal liability for the Trump team stemming from this new information: If the campaign consulted with the Russians on their plans to disseminate the emails; if the Trump campaign gave tacit assent or approval or support; if Trump officials intentionally encouraged the Russians; or if they sought to conceal the facts of a crime. Just looking at the publicly available information shows the outlines of a potential legal case against members of the Trump team along these very lines.
As campaign finance law expert Paul S. Ryan points out, campaigns cannot coordinate with foreign nationals on any expenditure that seeks to influence a U.S. election. Coordination includes cooperation, consultation, or acting in concert with, or at the request or suggestion of the candidate or his team. A key word is “or”—each of those actions could independently suffice to establish a violation. KEEP READING