Some wondered if the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., would be charged in the Mueller investigation after his admitted 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer to solicit dirt on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Well, that’s not the case. He and and other participants–then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and senior advisor Jared Kushner— aren’t being charged with violating campaign finance law because there wasn’t “admissible evidence” to show that they knew that what they were doing was illegal, according to the newly released and redacted Mueller Report.
“To prove that a defendant acted ‘knowledgeably and willfully,’ the government would have to show that the defendant had general knowledge his conduct was unlawful,” said the report.
Mueller’s team hypothesized that Trump Jr. could claim that he didn’t believe that his actions broke the law. They suggested the same is true of Kushner. Investigators pointed out that Manafort is experienced in political campaigns, but added that they didn’t have the evidence to show that he actually knew the law.
Some on Twitter were less than complimentary about this.
Special Counsel literally concluded @DonaldJTrumpJr was too dumb to prosecute. 🤷🏾♂️
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 18, 2019
Kushner & Trump Jr. skated on the campaign finance violation for the Trump Tower meeting because they were so ill-informed prosecutors couldn’t prove they knew taking contributions from foreigners was illegal (& on a technical issue involving valuation). So, only the best people.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 18, 2019
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) April 18, 2019
Turns out ignorance of the law is an excuse, depending on the wording of the specific statute.
Trump Jr. declined to talk with Mueller’s team, according to the report.
He is declaring victory, though, after Attorney General William Barr summarized the Mueller findings to say there’s no collusion, and no findings of obstruction of justice.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 18, 2019
The actual Mueller report said there’s no finding of obstruction, but detailed actions that could be construed as obstruction.
[Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images]