No matter how many times Trump and his media lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, insist that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found “no evidence of collusion,” the truth is that they do not know how much or what kind of evidence Mueller has amassed or what he’s been told by key players during the 2016 election and transition period like Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn.
NO COLLUSION – RIGGED WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
An op-ed from USA Today explains that Trump has already committed crimes for which he should be indicted, crimes that prove he colluded with Russia in plain sight of all Americans. While the news cycle focused for some time on the easily provable campaign finance law violation admitted to in court by Cohen at the direction of the president, a separate and more grievous offense had already occurred by then.
‘Prosecutors triggered a national firestorm last month when they asserted that President Donald Trump conspired with his ex-fixer, Michael Cohen, to commit campaign finance crimes involving hush money payments to two women. But the discussion has so far overlooked another Trump campaign finance offense — one that is even easier to prove because it occurred in plain sight.’
According to the writers of the op-ed, one of which is Fred Wertheimer, an attorney who has worked on campaign finance laws most notably to insist on transparency by political candidates, Trump committed a finance violation the day he stood in front of the public and called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
‘On July 27, 2016, Trump called on Russia to find presidential Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump proclaimed. He added, “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Federal campaign finance law prohibits any person from soliciting campaign contributions, defined as anything of value to be given to influence an election, from a foreign national, including a foreign government.’
“Absolutely nothing” (on Russian Collusion). Kimberley Strassel, The Wall Street Journal. The Russian Collusion fabrication is the greatest Hoax in the history of American politics. The only Russian Collusion was with Hillary and the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2018
Whether or not Trump actually received any quid pro quo as a result of that statement, the writers say that it doesn’t matter, although it definitely appears as though he did. Russian hackers began committing cyber crimes against the DNC and Clinton’s campaign manager the same day Trump made that call on camera. It was the call alone that violated campaign finance laws.
‘Some may say Trump’s invitation was merely campaign rhetoric or hyperbole, which should not be criminalized. But that is to ignore the plain language of the law, and its purpose: to protect the United States from the influence of foreign countries in our elections. The statute says “It shall be unlawful for … a person to solicit, accept or receive a contribution or donation … from a foreign national.”In using the word “or,” the statute makes plain that the act of solicitation in and of itself is a violation. The danger of Trump’s words can be seen in the fact that Russia took them both seriously and literally.’
Donald is a con man. A liar. COLLUSION, CONSPIRACY AND OBSTRUCTION. IMPEACH AND IMPRISON! pic.twitter.com/Ns03aqgKOE
— David (@David66094757) January 1, 2019
If the courts uphold the Watergate memo that insists the president cannot be indicted, that’s a law that should be changed. However, Trump’s campaign team can and should be indicted, according to the op-ed, as well as Trump the minute he leaves the White House should he fail to win the 2020 election. The statute of limitations for these crimes is five years, so an indictment must be filed before then.
‘If this were an isolated incident, that would be one thing. But the Cohen revelations expose a pattern of campaign finance law violations by Trump, complete with a tape of him discussing the cover-up: evidence he knew what he was doing was wrong. Then there are the many other allegations of illegal conduct, including substantial evidence of obstruction of justice. The president appears to operate with blatant disdain for the nation’s laws, and his alleged violation in soliciting campaign help from Russia is only one instance.’
No collusion pic.twitter.com/7yKm0mrBNd
— Jen small (@Jensmall15) January 1, 2019
The op-ed also notes that Trump cannot continue to plead ignorance because of his inexperienced campaign team. Trump has made many statements and issues many tweets that prove that he is aware of campaign finance laws, which are in place in order to protect us from incidents just like the one Trump committed.
‘Campaign finance laws are enacted to protect the American people. They do not exist for candidates to choose whether to comply with the laws or not, as they see fit. No one is above the law — not an ordinary citizen and not the president of the United States. President Trump must be held accountable for his allegedly illegal activities — for his apparently knowing and willful violations of the nation’s campaign finance laws.’
The GOP can resist this all they like, but they’re only hurting themselves and the country by continuing to support a criminal president.