Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bob Bauer

[Edit 7/11: I keep adding to this blog entry, so, if you've come here before, scroll down to see if there is anything new for you.]
[Edit 7/16: See also Referendum on Trump and Professor Turley.]

Bob Bauer is a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie and Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at New York University School of Law. During 2010 and 2011, he was White House Counsel to President Obama. Earlier this month, Bob Bauer published, in the online forum Just Security, the below two part article:
Campaign Finance Law: When “Collusion” with a Foreign Government Becomes a Crime 
Campaign Finance Law: When “Collusion” Becomes a Crime: Part II
Federal election law prohibits foreign nationals (which includes foreign governments) from making contributions or expenditures to influence U.S. elections, and the Federal election law further prohibits domestic persons from providing "substantial assistance" to foreign nationals (including foreign governments) who make contributions or expenditures to influence U.S. elections.

The article discusses whether, under these prohibitions, there is a case that Trump and the Trump campaign criminally violated the  law. The article, right at its outset, frames the matter this way:
Commentary on Russian intervention in the 2016 elections has included one confidently expressed and perhaps growing view: that there may be a scandal there, but no conceivable crime. It is claimed that the Trump campaign could wink and nod at Russian hacking, and derive the full benefit, but that without considerably more evidence of direct involvement, there is no role for criminal law enforcement. The matter is then left to Congress to consider whether new laws are needed, and the public, of course, will render its judgment in opinion polls and in elections still to come.
This view is flawed. It fails to consider the potential campaign finance violations, as suggested by the facts so far known, under existing law. These violations are criminally enforceable.
All the news reporting and commentary seems to assume there needs to have been meetings or communications between Russians and members of the Trump campaign, happening during the campaign, in which Russia's interference in the election was discussed (i.e., collusion).

Further, for many weeks, the American public has been hearing that no evidence has been found of any such meetings or communications having taken place during the campaign.

Bob Bauer's article raises the question of whether there could be a criminal violation that the Trump campaign provided "substantial assistance" to Russia in Russia's interference in the election without there having been any private meetings or conversations between Russians and the Trump campaign.

For example, assume there were no such private meetings or communications, but say the Trump campaign at some point became aware of the Russian interference in the election to help Trump, and the Trump campaign undertook campaign activities to take advantage of the Russian interference, including Trump publicly asking Russia to carry on its interference in the 2016 election.

During the past several days, I have tried to find out whether it is the view of the Department of Justice that there is no criminal case against the Trump campaign unless there were private meetings and communications during the campaign between Russians and members of the Trump campaign in which the Russian interference with discussed.

I have tried to get information about this from Rick Hasen, who writes the Election Law Blog from which I learned about Bob Bauer's article; Joyce White Vance, who is former U.S. Attorney in Alabama and who appeared on Morning Joe this past Friday to discuss the Mueller investigation; and Andrew C. McCarthy, contributing editor of National Review; Alabama's representatives in Congress; and others. My efforts have been largely by means of numerous tweets, such as
I did not tweet to Bob Bauer because I did find a Twitter address for him.

I have not been able to get any information as a result of my tweets.

I will email Bob Bauer and post the email here after I send it

[email sent]
From: Rob Shattuck <>
Date: Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 2:13 AM
Subject: DOJ and your JustSecurity articles.
Dear Mr. Bauer,
I have been posting and tweeting your JustSecurity articles. See my blog entry Plea.
I am trying to get a current read on what the Department of Justice thinks about a criminal case against Trump and the Trump campaign if there were not any private meetings or communications between Russians and Trump campaign personnel in which the Russia interference was discussed ("private collusion").
I have been making inquires about this by tweeting, including to Rick Hasen, Andrew C. McCarthy, Joyce White Vance, Jeffrey Toobin, Jonathan Turley and Morning Joe. I did not find a Twitter address for you.
My tweet inquiries have not produced any responses.
If you are in a position to shed any light on where the DOJ or the Mueller investigation stand on a criminal case if there was no "private collusion," I very much would like to post that information on my blog entry Bob Bauer.
Thank you for your attention to this email.

EDIT 6/21
I just can't get a response.

EDIT 6/22

EDIT 6/23
Are Dems caving?

EDIT 7/6

EDIT 7/8

EDIT 7/10
Corn's article says:
It’s been common for political observers to say the Trump-Russia controversy has generated a great deal of smoke, but the amount of fire is yet to be determined. It’s true that the various links tying Trump and his associates to Russia have yet to be fully explained. Many questions remain: Was there any specific coordination? If not, did the Trump camp privately signal to Moscow that Russia would get a better deal if Trump were elected? That alone would have provided encouragement for Putin to attack.
This country needs a thorough and public investigation to sort out how the Russian operation worked, how US intelligence and the Obama administration responded, and how Trump and his associates interacted with Russia and WikiLeaks. But whatever happened out of public view, the existing record is already conclusively shameful. Trump and his crew were active enablers of Putin’s operation to subvert an American election. That is fire, not smoke. That is scandal enough.
Don Jr. over the weekend has sent the country back to what "happened out of public view." Don is going to be stuck with never ending investigation of what "happened out of public view." Don really ought to man up and say, "yeh, I asked Russia to interfere and that was the damn right thing to do to keep the country out of the clutches of Hillary," or say, "naw, I was just joking around, don't take it so seriously, folks," or say, "I am the great President Donald J. Trump and I don't have to explain a damn thing to you jerks." But poor Don knows he did a bad and he just can't face up to that, so Don will just keep trying to deflect as endless investigations proceeds. Tough luck, Don.

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