Secret Service Says It Did Not Vet Russians Who Met With Trump, Jr.

The Secret Service is denying a claim by Jay Sekulow, a prominent member of the Trump legal team, that nothing “nefarious” could have happened at the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya, described to Trump as a Russian government lawyer with information damaging to Hillary Clinton. Sekulow claimed that the Secret Service would have prevented misbehavior and would have even prevented the Trumps from meeting with unsavory characters.

Reuters reports that Sekulow, who is also Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, said on “This Week” on ABC News, “Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”

In an emailed response to Sekulow’s query, also quoted by Reuters, Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said, “Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time.”

Additionally, the Secret Service does not screen meeting participants for honesty or “nefarious” purposes. The role of the Secret Service is limited to providing physical protection for their protectees.

It is not the job of the Secret Service to prevent protectees from making bad decisions. This concept is illustrated by reports that Malia Obama smoked marijuana while under Secret Service protection. The Bush twins also reportedly got into trouble while under Secret Service protection. A 2009 book detailed the girls’ wild side that included buying alcohol with a fake ID and a bar fight that eventually required the Secret Service to intervene.

Questions have been raised about the role of participants at the meeting, as well as the purpose of the meeting itself. Donald Trump, Jr. initially claimed the meeting was about child adoption policy, but then released the email chain showing that the topic was to be Hillary Clinton and assistance that the Russian government could provide to the Trump campaign.

The principal in the meeting was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer described as representing the Russian government of Vladimir Putin. Veselnitskaya denies working for the Kremlin and seems to have been a lobbyist who met with both Democrats and Republicans.

Last week, NBC News reported that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-born lobbyist who served as a counterintelligence officer in the Russian military, was also present at the meeting. Akhmetsin, who holds dual US-Russian citizenship, denies having current ties to Russian intelligence.

In musing about the responsibility of the Secret Service to protect adult children of the president from unsavory characters, Sekulow broke a cardinal rule of the trial lawyer profession: Never ask a question unless you know the answer. Sekulow is a respected conservative attorney who really should have known better.

Here’s Why I Think the Donald Trump, Jr. Meeting Sounds Like a Set Up

First, do not think this excuses Trump, Jr.’s poor judgment. He got an email that said the Russian government wanted to help his dad and they had damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s email server. His first thought should have been to call the FBI, not “yay daddy.”

There’s a terrible lapse in judgment here.

But I am still increasingly of the mind that this was a Democratic trick. Again, the Russians wanted to sow discord in the process. No one, including the Russians, thought Trump could win. It would make sense to hedge their bets and try to influence both sides, especially because they wanted the Magnitsky Act overturned and didn’t think Trump would win.

But you’ve got Fusion GPS, a Democrat firm preparing an oppo research file on Trump that claims he worked with the Russians, also working with Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya. The latter is the lawyer who met with Trump. The former, if NBC News is to be believed, sounds like it might have been the other person at the meeting.

So two of three entities helping the Russians get the Magnitsky Act repealed meet with Trump, Jr. and the third one not there is the one claiming Trump was collaborating with Russians.

Let’s say it was not a set up. It now seems likely Fusion GPS knew about the meeting and could have put that in the notes to build the claim. But if it was a set up, why are we only finding out about it now? Well, several reporters have said they’ve been working on the story for a year. The information has been slow in coming. If you had helped stage the meeting and didn’t want it to look like a set up, wouldn’t you let the reporters run their natural course instead of throwing it all at them?

Again, it does not excuse the meeting. But I certainly think we need to ask if the Russians were playing both sides and no one wants to ask that, if only because many of those in the position to ask it favored the losing side.

If This Former Soviet Spy Met With Donald Trump, Jr., It Probably Was a Set Up by Democrats

NBC News is reporting that a former Soviet counterintelligence officer joined Natalia Veselnitskaya in her meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. They are not naming the person.

If this rings a bell, you might have read my piece yesterday. Senator Chuck Grassley, in a letter to the Department of Justice, noted that “Fusion GPS and Rinat Akhmetshin, among others, were involved in the pro-Russia campaign in 2016” while Fusion GPS was preparing the anti-Trump dossier.

Senator Grassley described Akhmetshin as “Russian immigrant to the U.S. who has admitted having been a “Soviet counterintelligence officer.” In fact, it has been reported that he worked for the GRU and allegedly specializes in “active measures campaigns,” i.e., subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda.”

So we have Fusion GPS, a Democratic opposition research firm, working with a Russian company whose lawyer is Natalia Veselnitskaya. And we have this. And we also know it was the Obama Administration that allowed Veselnitskaya into the United States to meet with Trump, Jr.

This sounds more and more like a set up.

Keep in mind that this does not excuse Donald Trump, Jr.’s judgment in taking the meeting, but it does put it in perspective.

Were Democrats Working With Russia Against Trump? That Russian Lawyer Has Ties to Democrat Oppo Researchers

This will not get nearly as much coverage as Donald Trump, Jr. meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya, but it does raise the issue of whether Democrats and Russians were as collaborative as the Democrats claim the Trump team was. There is a remarkably small degree of separation between Natalia Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS, the Democrat opposition research firm that came up with the Trump dossier.

In 2012, the Russian government started hiring hordes of Washington law firms, lobbyists, political strategist, and others to get the Magnitsky Act repealed. The act, named for Sergei Magnitsky, sought to hold the Russian government accountable for the man’s death. Mr. Magnitsky was a lawyer who uncovered massive tax fraud in Russia. He was arrested, tortured while in prison, and died.

One of the law firms hired by Russia to work on repeal is Baker Hostetler, which also has ties to Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS. According to Senator Chuck Grassley, who wants Fusion GPS officials to testify before the Senate, Fusion GPS was also involved with the Russians over the Magnitsky Act. Senator Grassley’s office notes “Despite the reported evidence of their work on behalf of Russian interests, neither Fusion GPS nor Akhmetshin are registered as foreign agents under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).”

Grassley continued, “Fusion GPS was apparently simultaneously working on the unsubstantiated dossier alleging collusion between Trump presidential campaign associates and Russia” while helping Russia with the Magnitsky Act. It also appears the FBI was willing to pay Christopher Steele, the former spy, who helped Fusion GPS compile the dossier.

Now, let me quote directly from the Chuck Grassley press release on Fusion GPS with the major, relevant portions highlighted:

In 2013, the Justice Department opened a case to seize the U.S. assets of Russian-owned Prevezon Holdings, which received millions of dollars from the theft and used it to purchase real estate in New York, according to the department’s complaint. In response, Prevezon Holdings and the Kremlin launched a campaign to undermine the Magnitsky Act and discredit Magnitsky’s claims of corruption, according to a 2016 complaint by Hermitage CEO William Browder. Fusion GPS and Rinat Akhmetshin, among others, were involved in the pro-Russia campaign in 2016, which involved lobbying congressional staffers to attempt to undermine the Justice Department’s account of Magnitsky’s death and the crime he uncovered, repeal the Magnitsky Act itself, and delay efforts to expand it to countries beyond Russia, according to Browder’s complaint. Akhmetshin, a Russian immigrant, has reportedly admitted to being a “soviet counterintelligence officer,” and has a long history of lobbying the U.S. government for pro-Russia matters. Fusion GPS was reportedly tasked with generating negative press coverage of Browder and Hermitage.

You know who else worked for Preveson Holdings? Natalia Veselnitskaya.

According to Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik News, Veselnitskaya had “evidence showing that the grounds for the Magnitsky Act are based on lies perpetuated by UK millionaire of US origin William Browder.”

In addition to working for Prevezon Holdings and working against William Browder, just like Fusion GPS was doing, Veselnitskaya also had dealings with Rinat Akhmetshin, the founder of the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation. As noted above, Akhmetshin was named by Senator Grassley as sharing work with Fusion GPS against Browder. In a letter to the Department of Justice, Senator Chuck Grassley says this about Akhmetshin:

It is particularly disturbing that Mr. Akhmetshin and Fusion GPS were working together on this pro-Russia lobbying effort in 2016 in light of Mr. Akhmetshin’s history and reputation. Mr. Akhmetshin is a Russian immigrant to the U.S. who has admitted having been a “Soviet counterintelligence officer.” In fact, it has been reported that he worked for the GRU and allegedly specializes in “active measures campaigns,” i.e., subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda. According to press accounts, Mr. Akhmetshin “is known in foreign policy circles as a key pro-Russian operator,” and Radio Free Europe described him as a “Russian ‘gun-for-hire’ [who] lurks in the shadows of Washington’s lobbying world.” He was even accused in a lawsuit of organizing a scheme to hack the computers of one his client’s adversaries.

As you know, Fusion GPS is the company behind the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and Russia. It is highly troubling that Fusion GPS appears to have been working with someone with ties to Russian intelligence –let alone someone alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns– as part of a pro-Russia lobbying effort while also simultaneously overseeing the creation of the Trump/Russia dossier. The relationship casts further doubt on an already highly dubious dossier.

Radio Free Europe has a story noting Akhmetshin’s group had hired Veselnitskaya as an attorney:

Prevezon and the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation overlap in another way. In an e-mail sent in April to a Warsaw-based NGO that was hosting a speech by Browder, Russian Natalia Veselnitskaya identified herself as a lawyer working on behalf of the foundation and sought permission to attend, according to officials with the NGO, called the Open Dialog Foundation. Veselnitskaya is also a lawyer for Prevezon.

So let’s tie all this together.

Prevezon, which is a Russian group, hires Fusion GPS and Rinat Akhmetshin to generate negative press coverage on a British citizen. Prevezon also hires as legal counsel both Baker Hostetler and Natalia Veselnitskaya.

Rinat Akhmetshin also puts Natalia Veselnitskaya on the payroll.

Rinat Akhmetshin, who works in collaboration with Fusion GPS at the time it is preparing the Trump dossier, is an admitted “Soviet counterintelligence officer” who specializes in “subversive political influence operations often involving disinformation and propaganda.”

While all of this is going on, Fusion GPS is working on the opposition research dossier on Donald Trump using a foreign agent. Are we really supposed to believe that it is completely coincidental that Natalia Veselnitskaya just so happens to be the Russian lawyer who got access to Donald Trump, Jr.? Are we to believe that there is no direct relationship between Veselnitskaya and Fusion GPS?

It is remarkable how she gets a PR agent to urge Trump, Jr. to meet with her by promising Russian information about Hillary Clinton’s emails as the Clinton email server story is blowing up. And then it is remarkable how she gives a perfect performance to NBC News two days ago claiming she only talked with Trump about the Magnitsky Act, but assured the press that the Trump team was hoping for dirt on Hillary.

It is also really remarkable that this all happens as Fusion GPS is prepping its opposition dossier and a New York Times reporter who has been following the story admits it was a year ago, at that time, that someone tipped him off about the meeting.

Add to all of that two more nuggets. Natalia Veselnitskaya had been denied a visa into the United States. She had been given temporary parole, allowing her to enter the country with an expired visa, but it has been revoked by 2016. Still, Veselnitskaya was able to enter the US anyway to meet with Trump, Jr. in the middle of 2016. It is my understanding this could have only happened in one of two ways. First, she could have argued she was the sole lawyer of representation for her client, but Baker Hostetler also represented Prevezon. She could also have been allowed into the country if she had a collaborative relationship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You know, the organization that was considering paying Christopher Steele for his Trump dossier work prepared for Fusion GPS.

Also, Ms Veselnitskaya, on her Facebook page, purportedly had several pro-Hillary Clinton posts and anti-Trump posts.

There are three questions reporters should be asking right now.

What is the relationship between Glenn Simpson, Fusion GPS and Natalia Veselnitskaya?

Did Veselnitskaya serve as a source for the “Trump Dossier”?

Who retained Veselnitskaya to attempt to meet with Donald Trump, Jr.?

One final point: the issue is not whether this excuses Donald Trump, Jr. for poor judgment. The issue is whether certain Democrats were collaborating with Russians at a time Democrats claim the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russians. Both sides should have been dubious of Russians bearing gifts and it looks increasingly likely that neither side was. The Democrats could be trying to undermine Donald Trump with as much help from the Russians as they claim Trump received from Russia.

Comparing Timeline to Emails Creates Big Problems for Trump

The text of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails detailing the meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya is troubling enough, but the way the emails fit into the overall timeline of the presidential campaign and the unfolding Russia scandal are even more problematic for the Trump Administration. The emails, released by Donald Trump, Jr., provide confirmation that members of the Trump campaign were open to accepting “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump” and actions taken by the Trump campaign may indicate that Donald Trump himself was aware of the offer and intended to use the Russian government’s intelligence information.

The email chain began on June 3, 2016, about a week after Donald Trump had officially secured a majority of Republican delegates to become the presumptive nominee. At this point, the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the theft of the emails was not public knowledge.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, Donald Trump announced, “I am going to give a major speech on… probably Monday of next week [June13] and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons and I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”

The next day, June 8, the @DCLeaks_ Twitter account posted the first links to stolen emails on the DC Leaks website. The DC Leaks website and Facebook accounts apparently debuted the same day.

On Thursday, June 9, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, “The [sic] Russian government attorney” referred to in the emails, in New York’s Trump Tower.

On Sunday, June 12, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on British television that more leaked emails relating to the Clinton campaign would be coming out soon.

Donald Trump did not make his promised “very interesting” speech on June 13, but on June 14, the Washington Post broke the news that hackers had penetrated the DNC network and “gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.” The report, which identified the culprits as “Russian government hackers” even at that early date, also said that “the intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC’s system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic.” The Post also reported the hackers had targeted Republicans as well. Trump’s speeches from that week did not contain any new and notable information about Hillary.

The next day, June 15, a hacker calling himself “Guccifer 2.0” contacted The Smoking Gun to claim credit for the hack of the Democratic National Committee. Guccifer 2.0  claimed to be a Romanian, but is widely suspected to be a creation of Russian intelligence.

On June 18, the Washington Post reported that the Trump campaign had removed a pledge to provide weapons to the Ukrainian forces fighting the Putin-backed invasion of their country. The report says that the changes were made “last week,” which would mean the platform changes immediately followed the meeting of Trump’s campaign advisors with Veselnitskaya.

On June 27, the first stolen DNC emails were published on the DC Leaks website.

A month later, on July 22, WikiLeaks released a second batch of DNC emails. The FBI announced that it was opening an investigation into the hack shortly after.

It was at this point that Donald Trump publicly asked Russia for help in finding the emails that were deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server. “I will tell you this,” Trump said on July 27 at a press conference, “Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

A few months later, just before the final release of stolen emails by WikiLeaks, Roger Stone, a Trump advisor, seemed to hint that something big was coming. “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” Stone tweeted on August 21. In the week before the final email dump on Oct. 7, Stone posted three tweets hinting that something was coming according to Business Insider, including one on Oct. 3 that read “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon.”

While Donald Trump, Jr. claims that nothing of substance emerged from the meeting with the Russian lawyer, his response to the emails and the subsequent actions of the Trump campaign clearly show an intent to use information obtained from a foreign government to discredit a political rival. Such coordination is possibly illegal and certainly unethical.

While there is currently no paper trail that leads directly to Donald Trump, Sr., Trump’s speech on June 7 suggests that he was aware that something was in the wind. Additionally, his July 27 appeal to Russia looks starkly different in view of the revelation that the Russian government had offered its assistance to his campaign a month before.

In addition to the fact that none of the Trump advisors disclosed the meeting and that Donald Trump, Jr. initially lied about what was discussed, the emails create another problem for the Trump Administration.  The timing of the meeting and the platform change raise the possibility of a quid pro quo with the Russians. The fact that the Trump campaign changed the Republican Party platform in a way that benefitted the Russian government immediately after the Russians offered dirt on Hillary is something that will be difficult to explain away. It is also a decision that can likely be traced to Donald Trump himself.

Although the Donald Trump, Jr. emails are not a smoking gun to prove that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but they are close to it.

Memo To Jared Kushner: Way To Score on Your Own Team’s Goal!

Buried eleven paragraphs down in the New York Times‘ latest blast against the Trump White House is this little knife in the back of Jared Kushner.

The emails were discovered in recent weeks by Mr. Kushner’s legal team as it reviewed documents, and the team amended his clearance forms to disclose it, according to people briefed on the developments, who like others declined to be identified because of the sensitive political and legal issues involved.

How cute. They use unnamed sources for everything, except when they want to burn a source inside the Trump inner circle. No “on condition of anonymity” for Kushner and his legal team, huh.

The NYT is now playing poke-the-tiger with Trump and his family, hoping possibly to provoke some kind of MacBeth tragedy in the First Family.

Allahpundit popped up his own tub of popcorn for this one. “When Trump inevitably fires Jared, he should have NBC air it live as a very special episode of ‘The Apprentice.'”

The Times goes on to note that Manafort also disclosed the meeting with the Russian lawyer to federal investigators but says nothing about him mentioning emails. Kushner and Manafort are the only members of the inner circle with a conceivable motive to go public with this stuff: Each of them was a much bigger player in the campaign than Don Jr was, so if the fact that the meeting took place had somehow ended up in the papers, the coverage likely would have focused on one or both of them instead of Junior — probably Kushner most of all since, unlike Manafort, he works in the White House as a top advisor. The solution, presumably, was for Team Jared (or Team Paul) to leak the details of the meeting preemptively, emphasizing that Donald Jr, not Kushner or Manafort, had been the one excited at the prospect of Russian-provided oppo on Hillary Clinton. How Kushner’s going to manage his relationship with the president after this, I can’t imagine.

He also dispenses with the theory that Trump Jr. was handling the disclosure and statement on his own. Shocking, that, because every lawyer I know buried head in hands and sobbed when the emails were tweeted. But most lawyers don’t deal with the Game of Thrones that is the Trump White House.

According to the NYT, it was the president’s own advisors who drafted Junior’s original “adoption” statement and it was the president himself who approved it. Three sources told the Times that Don Jr wanted to come clean and do a full explanation from the beginning, and, er, three other sources claim that Don Jr was adamantly opposed to full disclosure, which demonstrates starkly just how circular this firing squad is right now. Whatever the truth may be as to what Don Jr wanted, why did Team Trump lie in the initial statement about what happened at the meeting knowing that Kushner and Manafort had told the feds about it recently and thus the truth was likely to come out? And why is Team Trump drafting statements for Don Jr anyway? He’s supposed to be a private citizen who’s independent of the administration, right? That’s the whole reason that letting him run the family business is supposedly acceptable: In theory, he’s not interacting with the White House. In reality, the White House is putting out statements in his name. Why would Kasowitz and other Trump family lawyers allow that to happen knowing how it exposes them to conflict-of-interest problems?

Why indeed. Last, Allahpundit points out this little coincidence in timing. Just a coincidence, right?

 

I think the whole Trump family needs to get on Air Force One and fly out to a remote island to work out their differences. Maybe a few cage matches. Whoever emerges gets to stay, and the others get to live in exile somewhere cold (like Siberia) until the Master’s term ends or he leaves office.

In the meantime, Jared Kushner has got to be the goat, not as in “greatest of all time” but as in a real goat who scores on his team’s net to lose the game. Apparently they all see the same bus coming and the urge to push the others under it is simply too great.

The Story is True. No Crime, But No Excuse.

I have written now, for several days, that I distrusted the New York Times story about Donald Trump, Jr. and the implications of it because of the media’s track record on this story and how perfect the story it. It just seems too tidy.

But with the release of Trump, Jr.’s own email thread, it is true.

I think what is not true is that a crime has been committed. I have not seen that yet. But there are plenty of things that are perfectly legal, yet remain perfectly wrong, see e.g. Batman vs. Superman.

What Donald Trump, Jr. did was unethical, sleazy, and shows extremely poor judgment. In trying to help his father, he has distracted his father’s administration and confirmed for many people that this entire administration exists because of Russian theft. I still think that is not true. And I still contend that many Democrats are most upset because Hillary Clinton is now denied the Presidency and they prefer to hang their hat on this than admit how terrible a candidate she was.

But there really cannot be and should not be an excuse for Donald Trump, Jr.’s behavior. There are no whataboutisms or they-did-it-toos that justify seeking out Russian government information to sabotage an American Presidential campaign.

I know the GOP will now go all whataboutism and there is a lot there. I myself have brought up Ted Kennedy, which despite PolitiFact’s “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” dismissal of the story still remains true.

There is no crime here. It seems like a perfect set up. It seems to me Russia has played this whole thing masterfully, learning just how to play both American political parties and the press off each other. It seems to me the Russians recognized what amateur dupes it could use to undermine American democracy.

None of that would have happened had Donald Trump, Jr. shown better judgment.

The Real Reason Democrats Are Freaking Out About Donald Trump Jr.

Democrats are freaking out about Donald Trump, Jr.’s latest email revelations. I am not going to defend what the Trump campaign did, nor should any reasonable person who cares for America and our nation’s right to self-determination. It is indefensible political sleaze.

But it’s not a crime.

All of the above are lawyers (or former lawyers) of various practices.

Vox (Dylan Matthews) says it’s not treason (but they’re not sure if it may be a crime).

I’m going to side with the lawyers and, for now, absent any other facts, say it’s very probably not a crime to attempt to collude with the Russian government to gain opposition research during a campaign.

Ironically, the opposition dirt promised to the Trump campaign was that Hillary was being secretly funded by Russians. That would be a crime under current campaign law.

Double-ironically, the Clinton campaign did indeed work with foreign government officials and journalists, specifically Ukraine, to get dirt on Trump campaign officials, namely Paul Manafort. Manafort was one of the attendees in Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya.

[Alexandra] Chalupa met with Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and one of his aides, Oksara Shulyar, at the Ukrainian Embassy in March 2016 to talk about unearthing Paul Manafort’s Russian connections, Chalupa admitted to Politico. Four days later, Trump officially hired Manafort.

So why are Democrats freaking out, calling Trump Jr.’s meeting “treason?”

(Not all Democrats are riding the crazy train to Treasonville. Notably, Sen. Bernie Sanders called it “ridiculous.” Kudos to the Bern.)

The reason they’re so frothing at the mouth over this (triple-ironically, the same reason Sanders isn’t frothing) is that they want moral equivalence with Hillary Clinton’s own crimes, for which she was never prosecuted.

Without a doubt, there was sufficient physical evidence of means and opportunity for Clinton to be charged with multiple felonies for mishandling and exposing classified information to America’s enemies. (That’s not treason either, but closer than Trump’s actions.)

Where the FBI, under Director James Comey, struggled, was over proving intent. The job of Secretary of State enfolds within it enough trust of the U.S. government and the executive branch that it’s difficult to overcome. However, many lawyers disagreed about the height of the hurdle, and the FBI’s responsibility.

Brilliant former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote that Comey was flat out wrong. Given Clinton’s position, background, knowledge and training as an attorney, he concluded that many reasonable prosecutors would have taken the case to court.

Patently, Hillary Clinton was well aware of (a) the highly classified subject matter of communications that would inevitably be passing through the private e-mail system she set up for State Department business, in violation of statutes and government rules; (b) the fact that e-mails are stored on servers; (c) the fact that the communications facilities and devices used by State Department officials are routinely targeted in cyberattacks by foreign intelligence services and other hostile actors; and (d) the rules for the proper handling of classified information (and potential penalties for mishandling it). Consequently, her mishandling of classified information was knowing and intentional, as well as grossly negligent. Many reasonable prosecutors would salivate at the prospect of taking such a case to court, especially if they knew that Clinton was going to run with a “lack of intent” defense.

In a July 9, 2016 feature, the Washington Post related how FBI investigators struggled with the decision (which was largely political) over whether to recommend charges. There was no doubt they could have done so if they decided to.

Over the course of 16 hours, prosecutors and FBI agents agonized over whether to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime. In the end, after weighing every ounce of evidence, examining piles of documents and gaming out whether a jury would ever convict her, the group made its wrenching decision: no charges.

That doesn’t sound cut-and-dried to me. It sounds like there was ample evidence of a crime, and really the only sticking point was if a jury could be persuaded of Clinton’s intent.

Comparing that to Trump Jr. & Co., they certainly had intent to collude with the Russians. And if the Russians brought the junk in their trunk, they’d have consummated the collusion with glee and champagne. But collusion on the basis of opposition data, regardless of Russia’s intent to help one candidate (which is rightly a matter of foreign policy), is not illegal in itself.

If the Russians offered, say, to hack the DNC on behalf of the Trump campaign and provide the fruits of that criminal venture, sure, that’s conspiracy in various forms, but that’s not what the emails show. The emails show nothing more than what the DNC and Clinton campaign had done to gain oppo research on Trump.

Democrats are freaking out because they know their failed candidate committed crimes for which she was not prosecuted, obtained a deal with the Justice Department to abide by the FBI’s decision, during a private on-the-tarmac meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton, and followed through. Every aspect of the Clinton email investigation was tainted by political influence.

Clinton got a pass, and she knows it. And every Democrat now calling Trump Jr.’s action “treason” knows it. They want equivalence so that later they can claim nobody has the high ground.

It’s true nobody has the high ground. But Clinton’s low ground, legally speaking (we won’t even delve into Sidney Blumenthal’s antics over two decades), is much, much lower than Trump Jr.’s.

The facts stand: Hillary Clinton committed felonies which were not prosecuted. Donald Trump Jr., on the facts in evidence, committed no crime.