For approximately the millionth time, Trump and his cronies are trying to deflect from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by calling for the arrest of former Secretary of State and candidate for president Hillary Clinton. This time, they have a whole new drummed-up scandal that they’re pointing to as a crime.
This one isn’t a crime, just like Benghazi and the use of a private email server was never a crime. Intentionally covering up campaign contributions and directing someone else to commit a felony is a crime, even though Trump insists that it isn’t.
If there is any justice left at DOJ why is payment by Hillary Clinton and DNC to FusionGPS for the phony Steele dossier not under investigation. On your theory in Cohen plea it’s an illegal campaign contribution.Let’s go DOJ wake up. where’s the indictment. Clintons not above law
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) August 23, 2018
This is not the first time that the assertion has been made that Clinton committed campaign finance violations when her campaign and the DNC paid Fusion GPS to investigate and find opposition research. Of course, Fox News has already beaten that drum long ago.
This is, as so many of the Trump campaign’s assertions are, a false equivalency. There are several reasons why.
First, seeking opposition research into a political opponent is not a crime. However, if the person offering opposition research contacts the campaign and offers illegally obtained information that the campaign does not report, that is a crime.
Second, if the campaign offered the illegally obtained opposition research then changes the entire party’s platform to be more friendly to the foreign country’s government, which means there was a quid pro quo, that is a crime.
Third, if that opposition research that is illegally obtained is offered by a government operative of a foreign country and no one reports it to law enforcement, that is a crime.
Finally, as long as the campaign funds used to seek that opposition research reports the expenditures on their campaign finance reports, which are public, there is no campaign finance violation.
This is clearly a false equivalency and a distraction. There is not one shred of evidence that the Clinton campaign, the DNC, or Clinton as an individual committed a single crime, yet Trump leads his rally attendees in chants of “lock her up” while he himself is under investigation for collusion with a foreign government and campaign finance violations that constitute a felony.
Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license