Hoarding of Collusion Evidence: Where is the Solution?
By: Kaitwan Jackson
Tuesday July 11 added to the issue of Russia’s collusion with the 2016 Presidential election. Donald Trump Jr. released withheld emails between him and publicist Rob Goldstone. The New York Times informed Donald Trump Jr. on Sunday (July 9) that they had obtained the emails and were planning to release them within the coming week. Trump Jr. decided to publicly released the email contents on twitter, preventing The New York Times from exposing the emails that clearly entail evidence of Russia’s ability to provide the Trump campaign with “incriminating” evidence on Hilary Clinton.
Within the emails, Trump Jr. and Goldstone discuss Aras and Emim Agalarov. The two are public figures in Russia that have strong ties to President Trump due to the Miss America pageant and talks of erecting a Trump tower in Moscow. Goldstone writes the Agalarovs would be able to provide “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. and Goldstone continued correspondence and later decided to meet with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who claimed to have the evidence in regard to Hillary Clinton. The meeting on June 9, 2016 was attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Veselnitskaya does have contact with the Kremlin (Russian government), this creates a connection between her and the Russian government, and by association means Trump Jr. and all who attended the meeting did seek help with an affiliate of the Russian government. The Russian government has claimed no knowledge of Veselnitskaya as a government employee, and many are using this information to claim the meeting does not display collusion because Veselnitskaya is not an employee of the Kremlin.
When originally questioned about the meeting, the attendees stated that it was scheduled to discuss Russian adoption policies that seek to restrict Americans from adopting Russian children. The release of the emails details clearly that the meeting was scheduled with intent to gain conclusive evidence that would provide opposition to Clinton’s campaign. Evidence retrieved by Russians through hacking information spread between members of the Democratic National Convention. Assumptions have been raised that the information garnered is the result of Russian President Vladimir Putin creating an agenda to provide the Trump campaign with oppositional research to prevent the election of Clinton. Veselnitskaya was unable to provide Trump Jr. with the information sought after and preferred to discuss Russian adoption policy, this provoked Goldstone to claim the meeting was, “the most insane nonsense l ever heard.” However, those involved in the meeting originally disclosed that the meeting was strictly to discuss the adoption policy and withheld the true intent behind the meeting.
"To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016 was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow. Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow. The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research. I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn't work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue. As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was “the most inane nonsense l ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.” - released by Donald Trump Jr.
This meeting increases proof that the Trump administration has sought help from foreign entities, an offense punishable under the law. The information is presented as though it is something of value, because whatever could have been provided would contribute greater support for Donald Trump’s campaign. 11 CFR 110.20 states that it is prohibited for foreign sources to provide money or contributions of value to federal and local/state elections. US officials also cannot seek to obtain information from foreign entities. With this law in mind, assumptions can be made that the meeting violated both aspects. It is still under question whether the meeting will be considered a violation of this law.
Donald Trump Jr. is the least of our concerns because he holds no position within Donald Trump’s Presidential staff. However, Jared Kushner is under major scrutiny from the public, intelligence community, and both parties (Democrats and Republicans). We all remember the speculation regarding his capability to fill the role as senior advisor to the President. Then, there was his reported lies in regard to his communication with Russian officials. Officials are now awaiting the revoking of his security clearance and position within the White House.
Jared Kushner originally withheld information on his application for his extremely high security clearance regarding association with foreign affiliates . As information arose exposing his affiliation with foreign officials he began correcting these documents. Had Kushner originally provided this information, it would have possibly prohibited him from obtaining his security clearance, and most wonder why it was not revoked upon the first signs he withheld information. Kushner broke the law by withholding information regarding to contact with foreign officials, because his foreign contacts makes him vulnerable to the influence and hacking of sources outside the US. The intelligence community is concerned that as the presidency continues Kushner poses a major risk to securing American information. There have been no signs of reprimanding Kushner for his clear violations of the law, Republicans and Democrats alike are hoping that his security clearance is revoked and ultimately he is removed from his position.