Donald Trump, Trump Tower, Russia Muller Manafort discussed on Slate's Political Gabfest
So much Russia Muller Manafort, Guiliani news this week. Manafort trial raced forward really went very quickly for it really, really fast in district of Virginia, Rick gates testified to truly epic line tax evasion and all sorts of other misbehavior by his former boss, and even more epic line embezzlement and adultery by himself. Man, these are these are real pair these two. Meanwhile, the president admitted by tweet that the Trump Tower meeting's purpose was to gather political dirt, which something that has long been denied or hidden and that perhaps added to legal jeopardy for Donald Trump, junior, meanwhile, Robert, Muller and Rudy Giuliani sparred over the possible terms of Donald Trump interview with the presence legal team publicly rejecting the notion. The president would answer questions about obstruction of Justice. There are lots and lots of threads so. Ben, let us start with Trump rather than with Manafort what? What does it matter? Eliminates a different way. What crime could Donald Trump or Donald Trump junior have committed during the Trump Tower meeting or in the what they said about it, or the preparation for it? Well, so Donald Trump junior has potentially more obvious exposure there, which is to say, I'll look, Donald Trump, senior didn't participate in the meeting, and it's not entirely clear that he knew about it at the time which she'd denies. Although there is some reason to be concerned about the integrity of the denial. Donald Trump, junior, by contrast, participated in the meeting affirmatively expressed enthusiasm about getting the promised dirt. And so to the extent that you believe that that that that meeting involved transactions that could be regarded as conspiracies or campaign finance violation. Or any number of other things you know he's directly involved in it. The exposure associated with Donald Trump, senior, I think probably more has to do either if it turned out he in fact knew about it at the time or the activity he engaged in on Air Force One after it emerged where he helped or crafted the statement that his son ended up issuing is clearly under scrutiny as reflect his state of mind with respect to obstruction of Justice and that sort of thing. But I think he does have a little bit more removal from the meeting itself. What's so what's so wrong? Or what is wrong about meeting with somebody who is offering damaging information about your opponent? If that person is a agent of a foreign government? Well, if they're just merely offering nothing directly comes it. Okay. Well, so so the first thing is if you're merely offering something that would be illegal, if. If it happened and you kind of agreed to do it right, and you get together, you're you're kind of arguably in conspiracy land to commit that underlying offense. That raises the question of whether the underlying activity, if it had been consummated would in fact be legal right, ori- legal, and that's a complicated question. Bob Muller has issued to indictments one on the social media manipulation side, the the so called IRA indictment, and the other, the hacking indictment, which both alleged conspiracies on the Russian side of the operation. And so presumably Bob Muller believes that somebody who participated on the American side in one of those two conspiracies would be guilty of a crime that raises the question of whether any construction of the facts associated with this meeting could be construed reasonably much less proven beyond a reasonable. Doubt to have been an American side engagement in either of those conspiracies. And we simply don't have enough facts at this point to assess that question Emily, one of the other fronts this week was the back and forth between Giuliani and Muller. Some of which was the Guiliani part of it was waged publicly Muller's team as as ever was silent. So we have no idea what they're actually saying or doing, but Giuliani and another presidential turning. Jay secular were saying that the president would not answer questions about obstruction of Justice. What what is their case for him? Not answer questions and, and what? Why are they saying that publicly? I don't think there's much of a case for him not to answer all though. It is unresolved, you know, the supreme court while the president that does exist from the Nixon era suggests that the president should have to answer those questions. We've never faced this question directly because the Nixon era. Case is about turning over tapes, not forcing president testify under oath. So I think that the public waging of this campaign is first of all super unskillful and mostly just like throwing up a lot of smoke and mirrors..