Prosecutor Takes Apart Donald Trump Jr’s Letter to Judiciary

by KevinNYC –

Renato Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor who served in the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago.  He has recently been commenting on twitter about the TrumpRussia case. @renato_mariotti

He has a very keen legal eye and is very good at explaining how a prosecutor would approach Trump Russia investigation.  He has a piece at Just Security breaking down Donald Trump Jr.’s statement to the Senate Judiciary committee.  He does an excellent job of finding the implications in Trump’s very carefully lawyered letter.  It’s well worth reading the whole thing.

Here’s a bit of his approach

Trump:  As it later turned out, my skepticism was justified. The meeting provided no meaningful information   [21]

Mariotti: [21]   Note that he does not say here that he didn’t receive information about Hillary Clintonor other information from the Russian government. What he says is that he did not receive useful information.

Some choice bits:

Trump JR:  To the extent they had information concerning the fitness, character or qualifications of a presidential candidate[27], I believed that I should at least hear them out[28]. Depending on what, if any, information they had, I could then consult with counsel[29] to make an informed decision as to whether to give it further consideration.

Mariotti: [27] This is an odd statement that is very hard to believe. Trump Jr. wasn’t an editorial board or the League of Women Voters. He wasn’t there to evaluate the “fitness” of a candidate—he was the son of the presumptive Republican nominee and was looking for information on his father’s opponent that could be used against her.[28] ….. It paints Trump Jr. as a passive fact finder as opposed to an active deal maker.

[29] As I discussed on twitter, this has the potential to be the most important admission by Trump Jr. You don’t consult with counsel about casual meetings with entertainers about adoptions. The fact that he planned to consult with counsel regarding what the Russians told him indicates that he was aware that receiving information from the Russians could open him up to legal liability. That could be used by a prosecutor to help prove his state of mind.

Trump JR:  I have no recollection of any documents being offered or left for us[51]. The meeting lasted 20-30 minutes and Rob, Emin and I never discussed the meeting again[52].

Mariotti: [51] This is a very important sentence. Trump Jr. claims that he doesn’t have a “recollection” of documents being offered or left, but does not discount the possibility that it happened. That wiggle room could be included by his attorneys out of an abundance of caution, but it’s critically important because receiving information that you know is stolen can be a crime.

[52] Note that he does not say that he did not discuss potential collusion with them—only that he never discussed “the meeting” with them.

He previously broke down Jared Kushner’s letter.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos