Responding to news that Donald Trump, Jr., the president's son, met with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, a former White House ethics lawyer was unequivocal in his condemnation of the action.
"Let's cut through the baloney here: we know what the Russians have been doing, they've been doing this since the 1917 Russian revolution," former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter told MSNBC's Katy Tur. The Russians, Painter argued, have been "conducting espionage" in attempts to destabilize non-communist nations for 100 years -- and that's continued right up to today.
When the Russians called for "derogatory information" on Clinton, Painter continued, the "first person" Trump Jr. should have called was the FBI.
"I don't care if you're a Republican, as I am, or a Democrat -- you call the FBI," Painter said. "The last thing you do is go meet with the Russians to try to get the derogatory information."
"They're only trying to do that to use you to accomplish some purpose, and we know what this is -- undermining our system of representative democracy," he continued.
"It's a huge problem" that so many senior Trump aides have been accused of and admitted to meeting with the Russians for such purposes, Painter said.
"That's not how we win elections in the United States," he concluded. "We don't use Russian agents and Russian spies to gather information on our opponents and we don't accept such information."
Watch Painter ring the "treason" alarm and read his tweets on the matter below.
Yes it could be treason for an American to knowingly receive and use information obtained by a foreign adversary through spying in the U.S.— Richard W. Painter (@Richard W. Painter)1499699323.0