Trump says the media is his enemy.
One of the biggest complaints from Team Trump seems to be that last week the media spent too much time focused on Trump. They contend the media should have spent more time on Clinton’s emails. But is that a legitimate complaint or is Trump blaming the umps?
Last week brought us two story lines related to Clinton’s emails. One involving Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s Chief of Staff at the State Department who traveled to New York to interview job candidates for a top job at the Clinton Foundation. No allegations other than questionable volunteer work. Not too exciting of a story. Covered above in one sentence.
There were also allegations of “pay for play.” The pay part is clear, donors paid money to the Clinton Foundation (old news). The play part is less clear and depends on how you define “play”. Team Trump goes as far as to define the play described in the emails as criminal activity. Rudy Giuliani stated this was a classic pay to play and he would open an investigation. The only activity described are meetings scheduled on behalf of former donors with State Department personal. Does this constitute criminal “playing”?
One can clearly argue about the ethics of setting up such meetings, if that did indeed happen. But is it an illegal act? The US Supreme Court recently ruled on a bribery case involving former Virginia Governor McDonnell (US v. McDonnell available here). In this ruling, the Court found:
Taking into account the text of the statute, the precedent of this Court, and the constitutional concerns raised by Governor McDonnell, we reject the Government’s reading of §201(a)(3) and adopt a more bounded interpretation of “official act.” Under that interpretation, setting up a meeting, calling another public official, or hosting an event does not, standing alone, qualify as an “official act.”
So unless Team Trump is referring to a law other than 18 USC 201 or acts other than setting up a meeting, there is no violation of law. Therefore, it doesn’t require much media coverage. Not much new in the emails.
Trump on the other hand, had a busy week: saying only second amendment people could stop Clinton, accused Obama of being the Founder of Isis, explained that when he says “founder” he was being sarcastic. Then he pivoted to the elections and polls being rigged and it all the media’s fault people don’t like him. Clearly it takes a bit more coverage to fully explain what was Donald Trump’s last week. The media has done just that.