- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

NBC blasted a headline Wednesday that went like this: “Did Donald Trump Jr. Break Any Laws When He Met With Russian Lawyer Veselnitskaya?”

And that, of course, tells Americans all that’s needed to know about the latest peer into the Russia-Trump collusion hysteria: No.

This is yet another witch hunt. Just like the witch hunt the media and left perpetrated against President Donald Trump. In fact, it’s one and the same hunt — it’s just spread among the family now.

“Federal investigators might have reason to examine whether Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the president, broke campaign finance law when he attended a meeting with a Russian lawyer who he believed would offer damaging information about Hillary Clinton, legal experts told NBC News,” the opener of the NBC story read.

Well, another way to read that is this: Federal investigators might not have reason to examine whether Trump broke campaign finance law.

But that would make the maybe-investigation a non-story, and that would mean it’s a non-starter for media-driven conversation. It’s much juicier to hint at cause for an investigation than simply admit what’s true — that nothing has presented as illegal on the part of the target of the investigation.

And this is what they’re investigating Trump Jr. for — whether he violated a federal statute that says a political campaign cannot “knowingly solicit, accept or receive” a “contribution or donation” from a foreigner. The spirit of that statute is to prevent financial donations from swaying potential election winners.

What Trump Jr.’s accused of is meeting with a Russian attorney named Natalia Veselnitskaya to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Would dirt on a political opponent be considered a contribution or donation, under the statute? Seems pretty thin.

Emails showed Trump Jr. was excited about the get-together.

Publicist Rob Goldstone wrote Trump Jr. about the potential meeting with a “Russian government attorney,” making clear this attorney had “information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” The information, he went on, “was part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

And Trump Jr. wrote in response: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

The meeting with Veselnitskaya went forth on June 9, a couple days after Trump formally announced his run for the presidency.

So — that’s it.

And now come these headlines.

“THE MEMO,” from the Hill. “Crisis Deepens for Trump White House.”

And from USA Today: “Trump Jr. Russia emails are last straw: We need a bipartisan independent investigation.”

And from Politico: “What Is Collusion? Is It Even a Crime?”

And this, from the New York Times: “Trump’s Son Met With Russian Lawyer After Being Promised Damaging Information on Clinton.”

The headlines, if they were truthful, ought to read this, though: Trump Jr. Meets With Russian-Tied Attorney — and Media Find Endless Possibilities To Hint.

Who wouldn’t meet with an individual who could offer up information on a political opponent?

There’s not a politician in America who wouldn’t have taken that meeting — who wouldn’t have listened to learn what opposition research or dirt had been dug up on a political contender. In fact, it’s done all the time. It doesn’t automatically translate into criminal.

It’s only a crime — or rather, a might-be, may-be, could-be crime — worthy of intense media scrutiny, however, when the target of the accusation is a Republican, particularly a Republican with a family name of Trump.

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