In only the latest misstep that the president has taken with regard to the special counsel’s investigation into collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, Trump just took perhaps his most desperate step of all.
In what his lawyers – and son – will certainly view as a misguided slip-up, Trump took to Twitter to not only throw Trump Jr. under the bus for his illegal meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer in Trump Tower during the campaign, but attempt to exonerate himself in the process.
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
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By explaining that it was his “wonderful” son, Donald Trump Jr., who set up the meeting, the president is effectively throwing him to the wolves. He tries to explain that it is legal, either because he mistakenly believes it is or simply as a front so that he doesn’t seem as terrible for using his own son as a scapegoat.
To be clear, meeting with a foreign power for damaging information on an opponent is not “totally legal.” Per the Los Angeles Times:
Federal law makes it a crime for any person to “solicit, accept or receive” a contribution or “anything of value” from a foreign person for a U.S. political campaign or “for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.”
Surely the president of the United States knows that such a meeting is not illegal, although given the quality of his legal counsel, that could be up for debate. What is not up for debate, though, is that he just created a slew of problems for his own son that aren’t going to go away any time soon.