Clintonists Suddenly Claiming It’s Perfectly Normal to Do Oppo Research With Russians
It seems like you’re defending an argument put forth by the Washington Times that “Virtually all of Mr. Steele’s sources are Russian, meaning Democrats have been indirectly colluding with Moscow disinformation to bash the Trump team for purportedly doing the same thing.” That’s poppycock. Democrats aren't saying it’s “perfectly normal and acceptable to do opposition research with the Russians.” They’re saying it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to do opposition research. Despite some surface similarities, the opposition research paid for by the DNC’s lawyer and the “dirt” on Hillary Clinton Trump Jr. hoped to receive from Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya aren’t the same sort of thing — they’re more like opposites.
According to election law,
A foreign national shall not, directly or indirectly, make a contribution … or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.
Legal experts have argued that the meeting between Veselnitskaya and Trump Jr. could be construed as election fraud or criminal conspiracy because in exchange for a meeting, Veselnitskaya offered to donate “dirt” on Hillary Clinton (AKA “something of value”) to help Trump win the election. As attorney Jeffrey Jacobovitz has explained,
“It’s as close as you can get to a smoking gun” of whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia... And it could mean Trump Jr. crossed the legal line on collusion...
Unlike Trump Jr., the Clinton Campaign and DNC did not meet with a Russian national or even receive “dirt” on Trump. They hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research not knowing that Steele’s research would eventually lead him to Russian sources he’d cultivated during his years as a spy in the Soviet Union. Steele gathered raw intelligence about Trump from these sources but did not pay them for it. Because the intelligence indicated that Russians were trying to affect the 2016 election, Steele believed he may have uncovered potential criminal activity and (bypassing the Clinton Campaign) sent the dossier to the FBI.
In other words, while Trump Jr. potentially committed a crime, Christopher Steele simply reported one. Had Trump Jr. reported Veselnitskaya’s offer of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, he wouldn’t be dealing with legal exposure today.