President Donald Trump could be one step closer to impeachment amid the Trump Jr. controversy of Russia meeting.
Donald Trump Jr., the U.S. President’s eldest son, may have committed “treason” and could face legal action. Trump Jr. has released a disturbing email exchange between him and the Russians, suggesting that he was willing to accept Russia’s aid to help his father win the 2016 presidential election.
In what could potentially unseat President Trump if it becomes an impeachable offense, Trump Jr. agreed to meet with a “Russian government attorney” after being promised damaging information about his father’s presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. The controversial tweets containing the email exchange have been released after Trump Jr. had made a series of contradictory statements about the June 2016 encounter.
By making the email exchange public, President Trump’s eldest son has just offered the most solid evidence suggesting that Trump campaign’s inner circle aides were willing to accept the assistance of Russia to help Trump win the election. This is the first time Trump’s inner circle has publicly admitted to accepting Russia’s aid in helping Trump defeat Clinton in last year’s election.
Did Trump Jr. Commit Treason When He Agreed to Receive Help From Russia?
As the FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election continues plaguing the Trump administration, Clinton’s former running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, told CNN that Trump Jr. may have committed “treason” when he agreed to accept the promised dirty information on the Democratic candidate.
The email exchange between President Trump’s eldest son and the Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, shows that Trump Jr. agreed to meet with Mrs. Veselnitskaya only after he was promised incriminating information to smear Clinton’s campaign.
Here is page 4 (which did not post due to space constraints). pic.twitter.com/z1Xi4nr2gq
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
Here's my statement and the full email chain pic.twitter.com/x050r5n5LQ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2017
The mere fact that Trump Jr. was eager to accept damaging information against his father’s presidential opponent could trigger legal action against President Trump’s son. In what could become an even bigger headache for the U.S. President, if the FBI investigators press criminal charges against his eldest son, Trump’s presidency may come in legal jeopardy as well.
The Trump administration has been plagued by the ongoing investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and more revelations of undisclosed meetings between Trump’s inner circle and the Russian government-connected figures further fuel the impeachment talk.
Trump Jr. Was Eager to Accept Damaging Information from the Government of a Hostile Nation
Trump Jr.’s connection to the Russians has been the most disturbing to date, as the email exchange between him and the Russian lawyer showed clearly that Trump’s eldest son was ready to accept damaging information from the government of a nation hostile to the U.S.
The latest revelations come months after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded the Russian government was responsible in meddling in the 2016 election and have evidence suggesting that the Kremlin assisted Trump by helping leak hacked emails stolen from Democratic officials.
While Trump Jr. explained his move to release the email exchange as his willingness to be “totally transparent,” the email conversation features the kind of information that could put him legal jeopardy. In the U.S., it is illegal for a U.S. national to solicit or accept a contribution or donation in connection with an election from a foreigner.
Did Kremlin-connected Lawyer Actually Help Trump Win the 2016 Election?
Trump Jr. was not the only one from his father’s campaign who attended the meeting with the Kremlin-connected lawyer, as two of Trump’s most important advisers, Paul Manafort and son-in-law Jared Kushner, also attended the controversial meeting.
Although it is unclear whether or not Mrs. Veselnitskaya actually provided any incriminating information about Clinton during the June meeting, the timing of the meeting suggests that the Russian lawyer could have had the damaging information on the Democratic candidate.
The meeting, which took place on June 9, 2016 at Trump Tower, came just a month before WikiLeaks began leaking the damaging information against Clinton in July. According to the U.S. intelligence agencies’ investigation, it were the Russians who stole and provided to WikiLeaks the incriminating information about the Democratic candidate. Many analysts argue that the WikiLeaks revelations served as the biggest blow to Clinton’s campaign that prevented her from clinching the presidency in November that year.
Trump Jr. Offers Contradictory Accounts on the Meeting with the Lawyer from Russia
Last Saturday, Trump Jr. for the first time spoke publically about the meeting, which took place two weeks after his father won the Republican nomination. At the time, the President’s eldest son downplayed the importance of the meeting to the FBI investigation, alleging that it centered merely on adoptions and had nothing to do with Clinton.
But less than 24 hours later – on Sunday, after the media started digging into the controversial meeting – Trump Jr. had a sudden change of heart. In his new contradictory account, the President’s son described in a statement the woman he had met with as someone who “might have information helpful to the campaign.” Trump Jr. was also quick to add that “it quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
While the President’s son called the woman’s statements “vague, ambiguous and made no sense,” it seems that Trump’s campaign was very eager to receive “helpful” information from a foreign government, as the meeting included Trump Jr. and two of the then-presidential hopeful’s top advisors.
Is Impeachment Against Trump Underway?
So has the email exchange between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer constitute enough evidence to press impeachable charges against the U.S. President?
One can argue that the probability of impeachment depends much on how Republicans in Congress react to the controversy against Trump, rather than on the severity of that controversy. While the email exchange between the President’s eldest son and the Russian government-connected lawyer has in fact offered concrete evidence that Trump campaign was eager to receive Russia’s assistance to help the Republican candidate win the election, Trump’s fate depends more on whether or not Republican leaders in Congress can close their eyes on the controversy.
After all, it is not enough to simply start the impeachment process against Trump, as the House can only impeach the President with a majority while the Senate requires a two-thirds majority to convict Trump.