Somewhere Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave.
Courtesy of The Atlantic:
In a motion to dismiss a new lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump’s campaign team of illegally conspiring with Russian agents to disseminate stolen emails during the election, Trump campaign lawyers have tried out a new defense: free speech.
The lawsuit, filed last month by two donors and one former employee of the Democratic National Committee, alleges that the Trump campaign, along with former Trump adviser Roger Stone, worked with Russia and WikiLeaks to publish hacked DNC emails, thereby violating their privacy.
But the Trump campaign—represented by Jeffrey Baltruzak, Michael A. Carvin, Nikki L. McArthur, and Vivek Suri, all of the law firm Jones Day—responded in a brief filed Tuesday that the campaign can’t be held legally responsible for WikiLeaks’s publication of the DNC emails.
Furthermore, the Trump lawyers argued, the First Amendment protects the campaign’s “right to disclose information—even stolen information—so long as (1) the speaker did not participate in the theft and (2) the information deals with matters of public concern.”
The motion’s language seems to further an argument made by Trump and his allies as they await the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into a potential conspiracy between the campaign and Russia in 2016: namely, that collusion, even if it involved the coordinated release and exploitation of a candidate’s emails during the presidential election, is not a crime.
Wait, so the Trump campaign’s new legal argument is no longer that there was no collusion, but that collusion was not a crime?
That kind of makes me think that Mueller has gathered enough evidence to prove collusion.
Remember that it is illegal for the Trump campaign to have accepted “anything of value” from a foreign national and since it can easily be argued that the stolen emails released by Wikileaks and Russian websites helped their candidate win the election, that of course was incredibly valuable.
I don’t think this argument holds any water whatsoever, which also indicates to me a certain level of desperation.