“The Atlantic article you linked to included many quotes by law professors saying information is clearly a “thing of value” and Don Jr. broke the law…”
That’s simply not true.
Chiraag Bains, a Harvard Law School fellow and former federal prosecutor:
“Those regulations define contributions to include ‘anything of value,’ and I would expect dirt on one’s opponent during a presidential election to qualify easily…After all, campaigns often pay handsomely for such information.”
Rick Hasen, a University of California, Irvine, law professor who specializes in election law:
“…pretty close to the smoking gun people were looking for [since] such information can be considered a ‘thing of value’ for purposes of the campaign finance law.”
There are only two quotes and neither is saying information is clearly a thing of value covered by the applicable statute or that a law has been broken. They are both hedging for a reason and that reason, presumably, is that nobody has ever been charged with violating the applicable statute for receiving information. They may very well be right—the logic holds up—but it is all speculation at this point.
“That contradicts their long-running insistence no one from the campaign worked with Russia in any way.”
No argument whatsoever, but again, that Trump and his cronies are liars ain’t exactly news. I don’t understand why this particular lie would push you over the edge. If they were notoriously honest yet lied about this, then it would make sense b/c one would assume they had an important reason for suddenly breaking from custom.
In this case, though, it fits the pattern of them lying about damn near everything and few, if any, of the previous lies were made to cover up criminal behavior.
“Finally, if you think this whole issue is unimportant, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think the issues you mentioned are important, but I think collusion (possibly criminal) between a presidential campaign/administration and a foreign power is important too.”
I certainly think this is important and I think the Mueller investigation is absolutely necessary given the numerous connections between Russia and Trump.
What I push back against is the idea that the hysterical, wall-to-wall coverage is justified simply because of Russia’s involvement. I have yet to see anyone whose professional reputation is dependent on level-headed, accurate analysis agree with the idea that Russia is some sinister global player. I’ve seen lots of people who like to be on TV and draw attention to themselves do so, but everything I’ve seen from people truly knowledgeable about Russia’s inner workings contradicts the notion.
It’s the mother of all circular reasoning.
We’re supposed to freak out about Russia’s efforts to influence the election because they’re uniquely bad except what makes them uniquely bad, we’re told, is their efforts to influence the election. I mean, five years ago, Democrats were literally laughing at the idea of Russia being a global threat even though Putin had already established himself as a brutal authoritarian. As recently as a year ago, Obama was cooperating with Russia in Syria even though it had already annexed Crimea.
Meanwhile, we should ignore the aforementioned Ukrainian efforts and those of the Persian Gulf States (via rivers of cash) despite less-than-glowing records on human rights. Not to mention our own efforts to influence (or overturn) elections in other countries and the collusion of many in the mainstream media to bolster one candidate.
If the hacking effort had fraudulently undermined the election results or we see evidence the Trump campaign colluded in that illegal effort or we see evidence the Trump campaign offered quid-pro-quo inducements to release the info, then I could see reason for outrage. Thus far, however, the only thing we have proof of is the hacking increased transparency and confirm what millions of Americans already suspected.