The secret meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had with Russians on June 9, 2016, is becoming an important part of Mueller’s investigation into the Russian collusion.
Federal prosecutors are working with Mueller with the sole purpose of determining Trump Jr.’s intent by taking the meeting, even though he already admitted that he took it to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.
It wasn’t just Trump Jr. that attended—Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort also participated.
So far, Trump Jr.’s defense is that he didn’t break the law because the Russians didn’t have any useful information, suggesting he would have colluded if they did.
Sources close to the investigation say that the prosecutors are scrutinizing Trump Jr.’s statements while also trying to learn exactly what information the Russians did provide.
Depending on the value of the information, Trump Jr. could face up to 5 years in prison. They are specifically focusing on what mindset Trump Jr. was in at the time.
In the email Trump Jr. released, an associate of the family requested a meeting to provide “some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” that came from Russian officials as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
Since accepting or even requesting information on a political opponent violates federal election laws, Trump Jr. might find himself in a lot of trouble for even taking the meeting.
But despite how obvious Trump Jr.’s criminal activity might seem, the special counsel is taking no chances.
“To prove a willful violation, prosecutors would typically do a deep dive on the background of the person and all the other times they were involved in campaigns, or may have been exposed to the law,” said David A. Vicinanzo, a former chief prosecutor of a federal campaign finance task force that investigated illegal foreign contributions in the 1990s “If you are someone who has been involved in campaigns, they can show circumstantially that they knew they were doing something wrong.”
Regarding Trump Jr.’s case, he said, “by the time June rolled around, you would think that they have a bevy of lawyers long since advising them on what campaign rules are.”
Things aren’t looking good for Trump Jr.—and if Jr goes down, his father will probably fall soon after.