Let’s start with 52 U.S. Code § 30121 (emphasis mine):
It shall be unlawful for—
(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.
Keep that last part in mind while reading Trump’s positively astounding tweet from yesterday morning.
Finally, let's compare that to Donald Trump Jr.'s statement to the New York Times after they discovered that this meeting took place (President Trump's own lawyers confirmed that the president dictated Jr's misleading statement to the Times):
“It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.”
Trump's denial that anything came of the Trump Tower overture is the lone firewall between this tweet becoming an admission of a crime. However, if you believe president “the meeting was about adoption of Russian children—wait, no—it was to get information on an opponent,” is being truthful, then you really should pay more attention to what's going on in the world. Our president's brain is melting, and that's before you get to the fact that he's been a serial liar his entire life.
There's been a lot of misinformation coming from team Trump over the famed Trump Tower meeting on June 9th, 2016, so here is a helpful thread laying out the timeline from trial lawyer, Max Kennerly.
I'll leave you with one more piece of potentially circumstantial evidence. Rob Goldstone—the British publicist who helped set up the Trump Tower meeting—checked in for the secret meeting on Facebook at 3:57 pm (I've written that sentence countless times over the past year and it still hasn't become any less hilarious).
At 4:40 pm that same day, Trump tweeted this.
As I highlighted in an article last year, every Trump tweet about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails prior to this one used the number 30,000—including one less than a month before the Trump Tower meeting. Each subsequent one after this tweet used the number 33,000—which was a previously reported figure by CNN.
So what changed that day? Why did Trump start using a more specific number 40 minutes after a meeting “to get information on an opponent” began? I would say that Robert Mueller will reveal the answer to that question, but given that the most damning information in this saga has come from POTUShitforbrains and his failson namesake, we can probably expect one of the Donald’s to tweet the truth in the coming weeks as Mueller’s probe continues to close in on a president who openly solicited the aid of a foreign adversary.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.