Turley: Saying Trump Jr. Committed Crime Would Make Criminal Code Cover Foreign Academics and Environmental Groups

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley argued that prosecuting Donald Trump Jr. by treating the exchange of information as a political contribution would broaden the criminal code to include a broad amount of political speech, and make the criminal code cover foreign academics or environmental groups. Turley began the interview by stating that Trump is making the same mistake in giving his family members powerful positions that President Clinton made by putting his wife in charge of healthcare reform and that such nepotism rarely has any public value. After the discussion turned to the legal aspects of Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia meeting, Turley said that he wasn’t convinced the meeting was a crime. Host Chris Matthews Matthews responded by asking whether accepting opposition research is “accepting assets from a foreign source, which I understand to be illegal?” Turley answered, “Chris, look, you’re a great advocate of the First Amendment, and I respect that. And there’s where I would caution you, that if you start to treat the exchange of information as if it’s equivalent to a political contribution, it would bring a host of political speech within the criminal code, that’s never been done.