Not long ago, Jonathan Turley was the favorite Constitutional expert to cite on the left.
He’s a consistent liberal who usually comes down in favor of the left on any given matter. However, Turley does this because of his consistently liberal view of the Constitution — a view that has put him at odds with the left over the last few months. While leftists have been heaping scorn and accusation on the Trump administration, Turley has been scratching his head and wondering what it is they’re actually talking about. From a legal perspective he has become the voice of reason on the left, and it seems he’s at it again with his most recent op-ed of Donald Trump Jr.’s ongoing problems.
Turley argues that the left is getting way ahead of itself in attacking the administration for their Russia ties, when there isn’t actually ANY EVIDENCE that anything illegal has happened.
It is like we have this giant Rorschach test where everyone sees inkblots and sees crimes everywhere.
The criminal code has defined elements to it. You just don’t find these ambiguous crimes. Some people have said this could be treason. For the love of God, treason is defined in the Constitution. This is not treason. Other people have said this could be a Logan Act violation. Well, Logan Act has been used once in 200 years and is facially unconstitutional. One said, well, if you take things of tangible value under the campaign laws and treat information like that, then maybe you have a campaign contribution violation. Well, yeah, but we haven’t seen that done. You could also treat it like a panda and say it’s an endangered species violation, but courts haven’t done that. So, I think that people need to take a breath…
What I’ve said to a lot of my friends who do legal analysis is, is this really the world you want to live in, where we broaden the definition of crimes so far that most any conversation could be a criminal act?
That’s a very dangerous world to live in, but more importantly, if information is now a thing of tangible value under federal campaign laws, then the Clinton campaign could be charged with the same type of offense, and a wide variety of other campaigns could be charged…
Now, what is not routine is to have high-ranking people like this meet with someone without knowing the nature of the meeting. That was not a smart move to make, but it doesn’t make it a crime. And so, people have got to be very careful. If this is a crime, then a wide array of contacts that routinely occur between politicians and foreign nationals would also be a crime, and then you raise serious free speech and association concerns under the Constitution.