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McQuade writes: "After two years of Mueller's investigation, Trump still doesn't understand that accepting foreign help in elections is illegal. It's also a recipe for blackmail."

People gather to protest U.S. president Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall, at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Feb. 15, 2019. (photo: VOA)
People gather to protest U.S. president Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall, at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Feb. 15, 2019. (photo: VOA)


Trump Is a Walking, Talking National-Security Danger

By Barbara McQuade, The Daily Beast

14 June 19


After two years of Mueller’s investigation, Trump still doesn’t understand that accepting foreign help in elections is illegal. It’s also a recipe for blackmail.

fter two years of investigations, President Donald Trump remains unconvinced that there is anything wrong with accepting help from a foreign government to win an election.

During a television interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he would not tell the FBI if he were offered information on a political opponent from a foreign government. He said “Give me a break, life doesn’t work that way.” When reminded that FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that candidates should report contacts from foreign governments, Trump said, “The FBI director is wrong.”

Trump later conceded that “maybe” he would go to the FBI if he thought that “something was wrong,” but only after he met with the foreign representative to listen.

Trump spoke in the context of defending his son Donald Trump Jr., who was interviewed yesterday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Among the topics Trump Jr., was expected to discuss was a meeting with Russians in June 2016.

“Even sitting down and listening to an overture from a foreign government puts a candidate at risk of blackmail.”

According to special counsel Robert Mueller’ report, Trump Jr., accepted an offer communicated to him by email to meet with Russians to receive “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] and her dealings with Russia and would be very helpful to your father.” The email further stated, “This is very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump..." Trump Jr. famously responded to the email by replying, “If it’s what you say, I love it....”

The meeting took place a few days letter, attended by Trump Jr., as well as campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The meeting participants say that they did not receive any of the kind of information that had been promised.

As Mueller’s report notes, however, the United States has a “compelling interest” in preventing “foreign influence over the U.S. political process.” For that reason, U.S. law prohibits foreign nationals from making donations in connection with elections, and prohibits any person from accepting soliciting, accepting, or receiving a “donation of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection with an election. In other words, we don’t want foreign governments or individuals having any say in who wins our elections because we are a self-governing democracy in which only American citizens get to vote and influence the outcome of elections.

The federal statute has two specific requirements: The violation must be willful, that is, the person must know that his conduct is illegal. In addition, the value of the contribution must exceed $25,000. Mueller found insufficient evidence in this case to establish either of these elements. He was unable to show that Trump Jr., Manafort, or Kushner knew about the legal prohibitions on foreign contributions. He was also unable to put a dollar value on the promised opposition research, in part because it never materialized.

In light of public attention to the law that accepting a thing of value from a foreign national is illegal, Trump would be unable to hide behind a lack of willfulness defense in the future. 

The failure to prove these two elements should not obscure what Mueller did show: that high-level members of the Trump campaign were willing to accept assistance from a foreign government. Even if the conduct did not technically violate the law, it violated every rule of national security.

In addition to permitting foreign actors to have a say in the outcome of our nation’s democratic election, the Trump campaign also exposed itself to foreign influence. This threat is why Trump’s new comments are so alarming. Even sitting down and listening to an overture from a foreign government puts a candidate at risk of blackmail. Many intelligence operations are based on offering someone something that they want–money, access, sex–and then using that enticement as a trap to coerce compliance with demands. The foreign adversary doesn’t even need to say out loud that it will expose the person’s betrayal to his country. The mere knowledge that the foreign government could expose a person’s unpatriotic acts may be sufficient leverage to induce someone to act in the best interests of the adversary and contrary to the best interests of his own country. The meeting alone compromises the candidate.

Trump compounded the harm of the meeting with Russians by editing a press statement about the incident to omit any reference to the purpose of the meeting: to share information about Clinton. This act further compromised him with Russia because it created an additional opportunity for them to leverage against him his lie to the American people. 

Trump’s comments that he would listen, and report to the FBI only if something was wrong, is wrong as a matter of good counterintelligence practice, and profoundly wrong as a matter of patriotism.

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+34 # chapdrum 2019-06-14 11:06
All true, yet Congress and the Courts do nothing to stop him. How many takeaways from that could there be?
 
 
+6 # Robbee 2019-06-15 08:48
Quoting chapdrum 2019-06-14 11:06:
All true, yet Congress and the Courts do nothing to stop him. How many takeaways from that could there be?

- if you follow dickhead 's nuance -

dickhead says he will pass dirt along to f b i if it is "incorrect" or "bad" dirt

hence dickhead is offering to filter all dirt, and to pass along to f b i only stuff that he believes are lies!

and dickhead is a lie-filter that filters out absolutely NOTHING!

it's lucky for dickhead! he's honesty-proof!

and that he's honesty-proofed the repuke party and his base!
 
 
-23 # anarchteacher 2019-06-14 13:08
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past."

Speech of Patrick Henry, St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia March 23, 1775.


And judging by the past and the lamp of experience, here are some possible regime change options and future events likely to come --

https://www.amazon.com/ideas/amzn1.account.AEBTJREFBXVDZILEQGA7RXD32C2Q/350ZYOBW42H4?ref=idea_cp_vl_vv_d

Coup d'etat and Assassination: Business as Usual in America

A coup d'tat is the sudden, illegal, extra-constitut ional overthrow of a government, usually by a small elite group of the existing state establishment, to replace the deposed government with another body; either civil or military.

On November 22, 1963, a coup d'etat and brutal assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was initiated by Vice President Lyndon Johnson and the top tier of the National Security State.
 
 
-16 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-14 13:51
I wonder if McQuade has thought about the Clinton campaign's use of foreign intelligence agencies to collect dirt on Trump. Her campaign paid Christohper Steele a lot of money for his dossier. Steele (reportedly) paid people he knows in Russia for the information he wrote up.

We have Trump responding to a hypothetical question. And Hillary really doing it. I wonder what McQuade would say about this?
 
 
+13 # HarryP 2019-06-14 18:53
Rodion:
1. Clinton’s campaign never used foreign intelligence agencies to collect dirt in Trump.
2. Her campaign never paid Steele a dime. Her campaign paid Fusion GPS (which didn’t have the expertise too look into the Trump-Russia connection and thus hired Steele.)
3. “Steele (reportedly) paid” Russians. (I’m sure it was reported somewhere.)
4. Trump didn’t respond to a hypothetical. He said he would do it again.
5. To return to Hillary, she neither solicited not accepted help from foreign intelligence agents or foreign private individuals.

How do you get so much wrong in such a brief post?

Finally, re Trump:

1. declared for years there had been NO COLLUSION!!! with the Russians (his opening statement had been something to the effect that no one in his campaign had ever met with a single Russian)
2. then he told Stephanopoulos that he was in favor of collusion (but only with Norway, mind you)
3. then earlier today he returned to his initial point that he would never collude with a foreign power
4. only to embrace collusion later in the day
 
 
-6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-15 06:24
HP -- as far as the Clinton campaign is concerned,

"The three wise monkeys are a pictorial maxim, embodying the proverbial principle "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three monkeys are HarryP, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; HarryP, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and HarryP, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil."



So, yes, the Clinton campaign got the Russian Dirt on Trump from Fusion GPS and Fusion/Steele were paid by the law firm, Perkins Coie. That's called deniability and money laundering in plain speech. Still the campaign received the Russian Dirt and used it in the campaign.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Clinton-Fusion- Steele-MI6-CIA- Australian intelligence nexus. Where did the money come from? Alexander Downer who is Australian intelligence and who set up Papadopolous was a very big donor to the Clinton Foundation. How did he get into this plot? Are there communications between him and someone in the Clinton campaign? Will we ever see the emails/phone calls/texts? Why did Mueller not look into this?
 
 
-1 # dbrize 2019-06-16 09:07
HarryP runs a laundromat with ineffective detergent.
 
 
+3 # HarryP 2019-06-16 18:40
Great job, Rodion:

All along I thought I saw evil (Trump’s and Putin’s lawlessness), heard evil (Trump’s open disdain for the law, both international and domestic) and spoke evil (if only about your utter disregard for and distortion of the available evidence.) Most of the time you’re either making up crap in defense of Trump and Holy Mother Russia or you’re plagiarizing from that great scholarly publication, “Russia Today.”

Clinton never used anything collected by FusionGPS or Steele. When the campaign was over, an appalled Steele sent his preliminary research notes to the FBI, John McCain and David Corn.

Clinton, however, did spell out, in her third debate, what she had learned out from her briefing on the FBI’s counterintellig ence operation (a briefing that had also been given to Trump and Obama. Trump ignored it and Obama went to Congress only to be told to stuff it: We will do nothing to stop Russian intervention on behalf of Trump.)

As for Downer and the Clinton Foundation, as Australia’s foreign minister, Downer secured $25 million for the Foundation to fight AIDS across the globe. The horror of it all.

You write “there are a lot of unanswered questions about Clinton” etc., but your feverish mind already has all the answers: A conspiracy with the Clintons in the middle.

At the very least, as a septuagenarian scholar, you ought to do a modicum of research to present something half-way respectable.
 
 
+6 # windrider 2019-06-15 07:51
Quoting Rodion Raskolnikov:
I wonder if McQuade has thought about the Clinton campaign's use of foreign intelligence agencies to collect dirt on Trump. Her campaign paid Christohper Steele a lot of money for his dossier. Steele (reportedly) paid people he knows in Russia for the information he wrote up.

We have Trump responding to a hypothetical question. And Hillary really doing it. I wonder what McQuade would say about this?

Ah, the old "what about" argument.
 
 
-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-15 14:50
wind -- it is not that. We have been hearing ad nauseum that "no one is above the law. The law applies equally to everyone." These platitudes are uttered whenever Trump's transgressions are in play. But it never seems that the law is applied to Clinton who actually did solicit campaign help from foreign governments and use in in her campaign.

Are the Clintons above all laws. I think so. The are the most corrupt political group now in the US and neither has been indicted for anything. They've been investigated by just about every federal authority and all the investigations have ended in the way Comey's did -- plenty of serious crimes here but we choose not to indict. Why? The Clintons are above the law.


You either believe in the rule of law or you don't. McQuade is an Obama federal prosecutor and she does not believe in the rule of law. She believes the law is a weapon for her side to use against her opponents.

Thank god she is now a college professor where she can't do any damage to anyone.
 
 
-7 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-15 15:07
wind -- McQuade is a former federal prosecutor. He job was to prosecute people who actually commit crimes or do things that violate laws.

Her job is not to harangue people who give stupid answers to hypothetical questions. That breaks no laws.

No wonder she got fired from her job. She did not do it.
 
 
0 # conniejo 2019-06-30 12:20
The Steele dossier was initiated on behalf of Republicans.
 
 
+4 # Thinking 2019-06-14 14:44
How about if the news reported the "dirt" on the opponents? And the good stuff and the policy differences between the candidates? How about if the candidates didn't need to do opposition research because the media was doing such a thorough job?

So the candidate isn't to talk to a foreigner about their opponent... or their staff...? Are they allowed to read a foreign newspaper about dirt on their opponent? Are they allowed to read a foreign essay? What if at a public event the foreigner says something supportive of the candidate and negative about the opponent: does that cross the line and require an FBI call? If the issue is how we arrive at true information, where does the gray area end in black and white?
 
 
+9 # dascher 2019-06-14 15:20
'Mueller found insufficient evidence in this case to establish either of these elements. He was unable to show that Trump Jr., Manafort, or Kushner knew about the legal prohibitions on foreign contributions.'
What an interesting exception to the maxim that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". And isn't it odd that if "very fine people" like Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner were ignorant of the law (that I seem to recall being taught in 4th grade) that genius IQ Donald J. Trump worked hard to hide the meeting and what it was about.

Shrug.
 
 
+10 # Rcomm 2019-06-14 15:50
Of course he's a danger. His behavior is treasonous. The Constitution is only there to back his arguments; the rest of the time it does not exist.

But remember, Mitch McConell was not much better when he ignored his oath of office and refused to hold hearings on Obama's supreme court nominee. Even now he refuses to allow a vote on any bills he doesn't like.
Barr is supposedly guilty of contempt. But dems are ignoring that.

And through all the above the democratic party has stood by, certain in their mistaken beliefs that whoever they crown to run against the gop person will win.

That didn't work at all in 2016 and I doubt it will next time around. Of course they will still be debating over what to do about Barr; McConell and Trump can do what they will since dems aren't interested in that.

I've been a registered gem for 55 years but for some time I've been ashamed to admit it.
 
 
+4 # HarryP 2019-06-14 16:33
anarch:

Does your “lamp of experience” tell you when Pence and the “top tier of the National Security State” plan to assassinate Trump? Will it be televised by Fox News? Will Pence permit the 2020 election? What will Lindsey Graham do?

You owe us more than a tantalizing prediction that history will repeat itself.
 
 
+4 # windrider 2019-06-15 07:58
The federal statute has two specific requirements: The violation must be willful, that is, the person must know that his conduct is illegal.

What a strange law. All you have to do to avoid prosecution is to say you didn't know it was illegal to rob the bank.
 
 
+3 # DongiC 2019-06-15 08:21
Trump has an overwhelming need to dominate the national news on a daily basis. The only thing he cannot stand is to be totally ignored. This prince of all narcissists requires attention like we need oxygen. His addiction to being the center of all attention justifies constant lying, fake news and even traitorous acts if necessary. He is a pathetic leader and an especially dangerous one given the fact that he is commander-in-ch ief of the most powerful nation to ever walk planet Earth. Nuclear war would certainly get everyone's attention.

What irony. Vladimir Putin is the only person who can restrain Donald Trump. World peace depends upon a Russian leader's influence upon a dangerous megalomaniac.
 
 
+8 # janie1893 2019-06-15 14:17
IT ONLY TAKES A WEAK LEADER TO DESTROY A GREAT NATION!!
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-16 07:11
Janie -- Dick Cheney and Ronald Reagan were both very strong leaders and I'd say they did a hell of a lot more to destroy the US than Trump has. Are we forgetting about who and what got us into the mess that Trump inherited. He won't do anything to fix it, but neither would have Hillary. Both are just transitional figures to the real change president -- Sanders.
 
 
0 # elizabethblock 2019-06-15 16:22
"The United States has a “compelling interest” in preventing “foreign influence over the U.S. political process.”

Funny. Judging by history, the United States seems to have a compelling interest in exercising foreign influence over other countries' political processes. And no one bats an eye.
I submit that, although it is usual, it is not normal.

What is normal? I cite the story of the eye doctor who said to a patient, "You have normal vision, which is very rare."
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-06-16 07:14
e.b. -- yes, you said it perfectly. Right now Mike Pompeo is meddling in the British elections to stop Jeremy Corbyn from being the next Prime Minister. He's all behind the lunatic Boris Johnson. No one seems to mind this. Why isn't McQuade wringing her hand in total panic?
 

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