After President Donald Trump’s weekend tweet may have implicated his namesake son in violations of federal law, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle presented a detailed timeline of deviating explanations for why his top campaign advisors met with a Russian delegation during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The president is once again putting focus on that Trump Tower meeting, potentially complicating legal matters for his son over the high level sit-down Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and then campaign chair — who’s in his second week of his trial — Paul Manafort had with a Kremlin-linked lawyer an alleged former Russian intelligence agent, an oligarchs representative, and an interpreter,” the host explained.
“What’s wrong with that?” Ruhle asked. “Well, let’s look at the shifting story from the White House and the campaign.”
Ruhle then documented the timeline, displaying on-screen a tick-tock of the shifting story from June 9, 2016 until the president’s weekend tweet.
Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower. This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
“So the president and Don, Jr. have changed their story, but the story they’re telling now is it was totally legal,” Ruhle noted. “We both know it’s not legal, but what’s the actual punishment?”
“What are the ramifications?” asked Mimi Rocah, a former Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York, who is an MSNBC contributor.
“Well, there are several different crimes that could be charged coming out of this set of facts, I think,” Rocah replied.
“The possible crimes are conspiracy to defraud the United States, the same conspiracy that’s been charged against the Russians,” she explained.”It would be conspiring with the Russians to do that by interfering with the sort of fair administration of the election laws.”
“That’s one possible serious felony,” Rocah noted.
“Another one as we’ve been discussing is possible violation of the obstruction laws, there’s different prongs of that, basically it would be interfering with ongoing investigations,” she added.
Rocah also suggested that Trump’s tweet came as no surprise to special counsel Robert Mueller.
“Bob Mueller probably knew what Trump tweeted before Trump tweeted it,” she suggested. “It’s all of us saying ‘wow, look what he just admitted on Twitter — he obstructs justice on Twitter and now just made a big admission on Twitter,’ that’s stunning but Mueller knew what that meeting was about.”
“Prosecutors love to be able to say something is indisputable,” Rocah reminded. “It now is.”