In further evaluating the document that “leaked” to the New York Times – and not by Trump’s legal team we’re assured, and we believe everything they say – The Daily Beast picks up a new component that could spell big trouble with any normal administration, but with this one hardly seems to qualify as something “dirty.” For the first time, the President’s team admitted that Trump himself helped author/doctor the statement that came out regarding the damning June 2016 meeting at Trump tower (“I love it!”) where the entire campaign team met, except not Trump, if we’re to believe them, all to hear “Dirt on Hillary.”
To set-up the “only Trump” portion, we must remind ourselves that it took the Don Jr. three versions of a statement issued to get it where they wanted it, and none were compatible with the others, meaning two of the three must contain at least one lie. With respect to that “minor” issue, about what could only be called a devastating meeting, the legal team makes it sound blase, routine (because Mueller wanted to ask about it):
You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.,” the lawyers wrote.
“The President is not required to answer to the Office of the Special Counsel, or anyone else, for his private affairs with his children,” the lawyers added. “In any event, the President’s son, son-in-law, and White House advisors and staff have made a full disclosure on these events to both your office and the congressional committees.”
Now, there is some rock-solid legal analysis underlying that statement. Under no circumstances is the president (or virtually anyone else) required to answer to the office of the special counsel for his private affairs with his children. THAT is true.
The president does not have to answer to the special counsel if he helps his minor son with his homework, or even spends much time with him. After all, Barron is a minor, and it is purely a private affair. Additionally, if Donald Junior approached his father and said, “Dad, I think I made a mistake, I had an affair with all the women you had affairs with, and now my wife is mad, what do I do?” The president’s advice to his son is an entirely private affair for which the president owes no one an answer, so long as it doesn’t involve Michael Cohen, a half dozen Delaware LLCs, payments made through contracts not signed and all the usual. Fair enough.
But, when the president’s “children” are also acting as “officers in his campaign” and taking meetings with official representatives from the Russian government, (“I love it!”) involving other “non-children” like alleged felon Paul Manafort, and convicted felon Michael Flynn, and then your son writes an “official statement” addressing the meeting, botches it, and the president then intervenes to write a “good one,” with precious Hope Hicks saying “it’ll never come out anyway” – then at that point we’re no longer talking about Barron doing his homework, or advice on affairs, then we’re talking about a conspiracy to commit fraud, or at least conspiracy to obstruct justice by writing misleading statements.
Of course the legal counsel for the president must know this. However, they apparently feel the need to say something justifying why they refuse to speak to Mueller. Apparently, the “you have all the documents,” and “fk you, this is private family stuff, anyway” was about the best they could come up with.
But, when one clears all that away, what’s left is that the president helped draft a lie to deal with a troubling situation, to wit: getting caught meeting with Russian spies. Stripped of all the blinking lights meant to distract, it’s pretty clear that it is a big deal, in any administration.
*Oh! Bonus points for reading this far, to my very loyal readers. There’s been a great deal of talk lately about “sealed indictments” and it is true, they could pertain to the president. However, I find that unlikely. When one indicts a president, you do it directly, and loudly. But, when one has an open/shut case of obstruction of justice or lying to the FBI against the president’s family, then you want to keep that very quiet, because those types of charges might get you fired, before you get the president.
I have no idea what’s in the sealed indictments. That’s just food for thought, and where my money would be, if I had to bet.