Just think about these two events carefully for a moment:
1. Despite initially denying it, Donald Trump has explicitly admitted that the Russian government hacked the US election in 2016.
2. Donald Trump Jr. has admitted to meeting with a Kremlin associate* to get opposition intel on Hillary Clinton during the same election.
If you absorb those two statements then try to reconcile them with the notion that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 election, you might find yourself a) in a parallel universe, or b) going completely insane. Because of course they are not reconcilable.
By the Trump family’s own admission, they are guilty of collusion with the Russian government and should be removed from the White House immediately. If they accept that Russia did indeed hack the election and admit they set up a meeting with a Russian government associate to gain opposition intel on Hillary Clinton — intel Trump Jr. knew was gathered by the Russian government in order to help elect his father — there can be no other way to interpret it.
Furthermore, Trump Jr’s meeting was almost certainly illegal. As Vox’s Matthew Yglesias points out:
It’s essentially illegal to seek foreign help of any kind in a political campaign. Under 52 USC 30121, 36 USC 510, the law governing foreign contributions to political campaigns, you don’t have to actually get useful help from foreigners, according to this law: The mere fact that Trump Jr. asked for information from a Russian national about Clinton, and heard her out as she attempted to describe it, might have constituted a federal crime.
The Trump administration is continuing to spin, obfuscate and lie about this latest revelation, claiming Trump knew nothing about his son’s meeting (despite key campaign team members like Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner being there), and attempting to argue that there is still no evidence of collusion. As Kellyanne Conway perplexingly told Fox & Friends “no helpful information” was gained, and “no follow-up” by the Trump campaign happened after the meeting, apparently making the illegal meeting completely fine. This would be akin to a bank robber arguing that he shouldn’t face jail time because he didn’t steal as much money as he had intended to.
What will it now take to hold Trump and his family to account? They have broken so many laws it is now impossible to keep count of them. There is clear evidence of obstruction of justice after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Now we know for certain that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government’s attempts to undermine the US election process by accepting a meeting with them to gain damaging intel on Hillary Clinton. The case against Trump is now clearer than ever, and both sides of the aisles must work together to ensure justice is done. Because if none of this sticks, America can no longer be considered a functioning democracy.
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Correction: this article originally stated that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian government official. It is currently unclear whether Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer Trump Jr. met with, is a Kremlin official. She was referred to as a “Russian government attorney” in the email introduction to Trump Jr., but there is some confusion as to whether she works directly for the Kremlin.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.