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Don Jr. Should Be Sweating as Russian Lawyer Offers to Talk

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who famously met with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials, said in a recent interview that she would like to tell her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Veselnitskaya said she’ll only testify if her statements are made public, which the Senate has yet to agree to, but she also said she’d be willing to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If either of these ends up happening, Don Jr. could potentially be in trouble.

In that same interview, Veselnitskaya said that during her discussions with Trump Jr., he asked for documented proof that Hillary Clinton‘s campaign received illegal contributions, and in exchange, his father could review an anti-Russia law should he become president. The law in particular is the Magnitsky Act, which targeted Russian officials believed to be behind the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant who died in a Russian prison after he investigated fraud that allegedly involved Russian tax officials pocketing $230 million in Russian state funds. After the Act was passed in 2012, Russia banned adoption from Russia to the U.S.

On its face, this sounds like a quid pro quo, with Trump Jr. promising at least an effort to change U.S. policy to benefit Russian interests, in exchange for something of value to the Trump campaign. Attorney Brad Moss told LawNewz.com that based on what we know so far, it’s unlikely that Trump Jr. would be indicted over this, but it wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.

“Conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws is one example often discussed with respect to Donald Trump, Junior, with the argument being he was conspiring to receive something of value (Russian Government documentation) from a foreign national in violation of campaign finance law restrictions,” Moss said. “With a quid pro quo, however, there is a feasible argument to also be made that there was a conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by way of exchanging changes in U.S. sanctions law for the documentation on Hillary Clinton.”

Still, Moss said, “These are stretches,” but “cannot be dismissed outright either.” He added that, at the very least, Mueller could use this as leverage against Trump Jr. to make sure he cooperates fully with the investigation, when it comes to providing documents and testimony.

 

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