Fox News is often on the defense for Donald Trump, but after the President of the United States admitted that a meeting in Trump Tower — previously described as being about reopening access to international adoptions — was actually about seeking information on a political opponent, even their legal analysts are having to admit there’s a potential problem.
This week, Judge Andrew Napolitano explained his reasoning, agreeing that it’s perfectly legal to get dirt on an opponent, but not for a campaign to seek or accept contributions of value from a foreign entity.
After multiple media outlets reported that Donald Trump was rumored to be worrying about whether his son, Don Jr., would face charges for his role in a meeting that took place in Trump Tower in June 2016 Trump sent out a tweet that would justify that concern.
Trump claims he didn’t know about the meeting beforehand, although his longtime attorney, Michael Cohen, has claimed otherwise. Donald Trump Jr. has given testimony to a House Judiciary Committee claiming the meeting was entirely about discussing international adoption, which they have denied to the U.S. after being subjected to sanctions.
However, his father doesn’t seem to be on the same page about the reasoning for the meeting. On Sunday, Trump issued a stark denial that he is afraid his son might be in line for serious charges. However, he didn’t stop with that denial and went on to contradict Don Jr.’s sworn testimony. Then he again denied being complicit himself.
Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics….
Mediaite notes that Judge Napolitano said Tuesday that Trump is right about part of this: It’s completely legal to seek out negative information to harm a candidate.
However, even as he defends Trump by insisting that the then-candidate didn’t know about the meeting until later, Napolitano says that the problem comes with seeking anything of value, including information, from a foreign government, even if the information was never actually received.
There are federal statutes that prohibit receiving something of value from a foreign national, foreign entity, or foreign government….f there was an agreement to receive dirt on Hillary, from the Russians, even if the dirt never came, if those who agreed, at least one of them, took some step in furtherance of the agreement, then there is the potential crime for conspiracy.
Only the night before, Napolitano shot down Trump and attorney Rudy Guiliani’s attempts to claim that collusion isn’t a crime. He spoke on Fox News, saying that this is only a matter of semantics because the word ‘collusion’ isn’t the word used in the relevant statutes. However, what is being called ‘collusion’ is also known by another term legally: conspiracy.
Napolitano says it’s not in Trump’s best interest to speak to Robert Mueller, and that his attorneys should prevent him from telling the story from his viewpoint.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Don Jr. sticks to his own narrative, maintaining that the meeting was definitely about adoptions and that any information offered about Hillary Clinton was somehow a ‘bait-and-switch.’
In Judge Andrew Napolitano’s opinion, as given in the Fox News link above, if there is sufficient evidence to the contrary, Donald Trump will have good reason to worry about his son.