McKenna on KIRO: How much trouble is Donald Trump Jr. in?

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about Donald Trump Jr.’s revelation that he met with a Russian lawyer a year ago in hopes of securing damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, joined him at the meeting. Trump Jr. was told the meeting “is part of Russia and its government’s support” for Donald Trump.

Dave Ross: “The laws say that a foreign government can’t ‘materially participate’ in an American election, I believe is the way it’s worded. There was an offer of documents. Had there been documents actually changing hands here, would that have been illegal?”

Rob McKenna: “Well yes, it would have been illegal if that constituted material participation by the foreign government. And, it would raise the question of whether or not the campaign had solicited something of value from a foreign government, which is also illegal.

“Now here it gets a little trickier because, is agreeing to take a meeting after you’re contacted the same as soliciting something of value? If you have a discussion and you ask, well, ‘Yeah, can I have more information about this?’ is that asking for something of value or not?

“Opposition research is not clearly a thing of value the way that, obviously, money would be, or maybe data or other hard information. I doubt that this rises to the level of asking a foreign government for something of value, the way the statute’s constructed. So it may be more of a political embarrassment than a legal liability.”

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