Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Media and Bias, but I repeat myself

On MTP daily,Chuck Todd interviewed Kathleen Clark Washington University Professor, an expert on legal ethics. At the beginning of the conversation she said Trump, Jr., may be in legal jeopardy. But in her answers to all of Chuck’s questions the ineluctable answer was essentially based on what we know so far nothing done by any of the parties to that meeting was illegal.
Taking a meeting is not illegal. However, if and when there is proof of the transfer of “anything of value” and not necessarily money, to the Trump campaign from a foreign entity, the game is on. Interestingly, she said the foreign source doesn’t have to be a government, a foreign citizen is sufficient.
Professor Clark also noted that there is NO treason here. But there could be treachery. This was an interesting exchange. She seemed to indicate that Treachery isn’t illegal. In this case the treachery would be “being beholden to a foreigner” for a favor received. This would be subject to political analysis and the judgement of the “body politic" but not to criminal prosecution.
So, let’s juxtapose the above with something that DID happen.
The following is the opening paragraph and conclusion of a staff report of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the United States Senate, signed by the Committee Chairman Rob Portman and Ranking Member, Clair McCaskill.
“On December 2, 2014, at the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,the Israeli Knesset voted to schedule new national parliamentary elections for March 2015. Within weeks, an international organization known as the OneVoice Movement absorbed and funded an Israeli group named Victory15 or “V15” and launched a multimillion-dollar grassroots campaign in Israel. The campaign’s goal was to elect “anybody but Bibi [Netanyahu]” by mobilizing center-left voters.1 The Israeli and Palestinian arms of OneVoice, OneVoice Israel (OVI), and OneVoice Palestine (OVP), received more than $300,000 in grants from the U.S. State Department to support peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine over a 14-month grant period ending in November 2014.2 In February 2015, the Subcommittee initiated an inquiry concerning the connection, if any, between OneVoice’s State Department grant funds and V15’s political activity. This report outlines the findings from that investigation.
OneVoice Israel’s conduct fully complied with the terms of its agreements with the State Department and governing grant guidelines. The experience under the OneVoice grants, however, reveals the ease with which recipient organizations can repurpose certain public-diplomacy resources for political activities. The State Department failed to foresee and guard against that risk from the outset. OneVoice was forthright with the Department about its political activity in 2013, and it was also clear that OneVoice would use grant funds to build or enhance resources that might be applied to political activities. OneVoice’s 2013 grant proposal called for using the funds for standard tools of a modern political campaign, including a voter/activist contact database, a trained grassroots network, and a large social media presence. Immediately after the grant period ended, OneVoice deployed those grant-funded resources as part of the V15 campaign to defeat Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2015. Despite the fact that influencing a foreign election is across a “red line” for U.S. grantees,175 all of this activity was permissible under Department guidelines and the terms of the grants."
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember this being debated by the Mainstream Media much less a call for criminal prosecution. Perhaps there's no law against the U.S. government involving itself in the politics of another country.
Donald Trump, Jr., take note, this is how you get away with influence from a foreign entity.

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