Quantcast
Connect with us

Did the Citizens United ruling save Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner from prosecution?

Published

on

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation, which Attorney General William Barr released publicly on April 18, not only discusses indictments of various associates of President Donald Trump, it also discusses some Trump associates who weren’t indicted. Two of the ones who weren’t indicted were Donald Trump, Jr. and White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and law professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy explains in an article for The Atlantic that one of the reasons why might be the United States’ evolving campaign finance laws.

In June 2016, Trump, Jr. and Kushner, along with Donald Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Paul Manafort, were among those who attended an infamous meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney with ties to the Kremlin, was there as well and, according to Mueller’s report, promised dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. And Torres-Spelliscy has some thoughts on why Trump, Jr. and Kushner were never indicated for campaign finance violations.

“The special counsel’s office,” Torres-Spelliscy writes, “could not establish” that Trump, Jr. or Kushner “had knowingly aided and abetted Russians in violating campaign-finance rules meant to fence out foreign involvement in American elections.”  But the law professor adds that “there was another reason Mueller might have shied away from prosecuting Kushner and Trump Jr. for a campaign-finance conspiracy”: Mueller “would have faced the real possibility that a hostile Supreme Court could rule unconstitutional whichever campaign-finance law he used to charge them.”

Mueller’s investigation led to Manafort facing a long list of criminal charges, including bank and tax fraud. But none of the charges Manafort was convicted of in 2018, Torres-Spelliscy points out, were a direct result of his presence at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Mueller’s probe, Torres-Spelliscy explains, “proceeded against a backdrop of a conservative Supreme Court’s systematic deregulation of campaign finance from 2006 to the present.” And that includes the High Court’s 2010 ruling in the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which described campaign spending as a form of speech protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.

ADVERTISEMENT

Torres-Spelliscy observes, “A key question in the Mueller investigation was whether Trump Jr. and others in the campaign had illegally abetted the Russian operatives who had promised ‘dirt on Hillary Clinton’ — presumably, stolen e-mails from the Democratic National Committee. Had the Russians shown up at Trump Tower with cash for its namesake’s 2016 campaign, that clearly would have violated the foreign ban. The crux of the issue under campaign-finance law is whether stolen e-mails constitute ‘a thing of value’ for the purpose of the foreign-donor prohibition.”

A key player in the Citizens United lawsuit was David Bossie, who headed the right-wing Citizens United group. Bossie, who fought to end limits on campaign contributions, went on to become a deputy campaign manager for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Torres-Spelliscy concludes the Atlantic piece by stressing that Congress needs to “shore up federal campaign-finance laws” by closing “the foreign loopholes that the Mueller report exposed…. Otherwise, future American confederates could plead ignorance—and get away with helping foreigners interfere with the 2020 election, too.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump asked right-wing conspiracy theorist congressman to help him pick his next Director of National Intelligence

Published

on

On Monday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump is consulting with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) about who he should consider to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Nunes has led the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee since 2015 and chaired the committee for four years, despite having no professional qualifications of any kind for that role. Since 2017, he has been known for his stunts and conspiracy theories intended to discredit the Russia investigation and throw suspicion on anyone who looks into Trump's conduct.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Conservative newspaper hilariously trolls Trump about his failure to build any new border wall

Published

on

Donald Trump on the US-Mexico Border

The conservative Washington Examiner trolled President Donald Trump for his failure to construct any new border barricade during his 30 months in office.

On Monday, Trump lashed out at the media on Twitter for not giving him positive coverage for his wall, which he erroneously claimed would be paid for by Mexico.

The Examiner replied to Trump on Twitter, posting an article headlined, "Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Here’s how a new study implies the Supreme Court has killed 16,000 people since 2012

Published

on

A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked into the effects of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion to people below 138 percent of the poverty line, which has seen nearly 15 million people enrolled in participating states. The results were encouraging: the mortality rate for near-elderly adults has dropped over 9 percent in the four years for which data is available.

But while this is cause for celebration, The Atlantic staff writer Annie Lowrey offered a darker take on the implications of these numbers:

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image