CNN’s Toobin: Trump Jr.’s Emails ‘In and of Themselves Are Not Proof of Any Crimes’

CNN’s Toobin: Trump Jr.’s Emails ‘In and of Themselves Are Not Proof of Any Crimes’

11 Jul, 2017
11 Jul, 2017

On Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin cautioned that Donald Trump Jr.’s emails are a small piece of information and aren’t proof of any crimes by themselves.

Toobin said that, from a legal perspective, the emails are “very serious, but it’s also important to say, there is a long way to go, and these emails in and of themselves are not proof of any crimes.”

Toobin continued that there are two issues, “One is, it is a crime for campaign officials to solicit anything of value from a foreign government. So the question is, was anything solicited here of value? Were emails solicited, was hacking solicited? That is a question investigators will want to explore. The other issue is that Jared Kushner, who is now a very high White House official, he’s copied on these emails. The question is, did he disclose these — this meeting to — when he filled out his form applying for a security clearance? If he intentionally left it off, that’s a crime. It’s not a crime if he simply forgot or made a mistake. This meeting, though, certainly seems pretty dramatic, even in the context of a dramatic campaign, the idea that he simply forgot about it, which strikes me as probably a little hard to believe.”

He added that getting opposition research from a foreign national would be a crime “if a court agreed that it was something of value. I’m not aware of any criminal cases yet where something — anything of value is defined as research. But, it’s not out of the question, and again, it’s always important in this — in these circumstances to remember we have a very important but small slice of information. What do the other emails show? What do the witnesses say? Was there any surveillance? I mean, all of this in — is — you would have to have inspector — Director Mueller accumulate, and then he would make a decision. You don’t make a decision based on these very provocative emails.”

Toobin concluded that going to the FBI would have been “a much more prudent” thing for the Trump campaign to do and that sending top members of the campaign to the meeting was “the craziest thing to do.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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Report: Explosions in St. Petersburg’s subway system leave at least 10 dead

At least 10 people were killed and 50 people were injured Monday following explosions in St. Petersburg’s subway system, Russian state-run media outlet TASS reported.
CBS News reported that two explosions took place in two subway stations in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city.
BREAKING: An explosion in a metro stationin St. Petersburg, Russia, has left several dead, state-run reports say
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2017

10 people have been killed & 50 are injured after deadly blasts rock St. Petersburg subway, Russian media reports
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 3, 2017

Reuters reported that the Russian news agency Interfax “quoted an unnamed source as saying one of the blasts was caused by a bomb filled with shrapnel.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was in St. Petersburg on Monday, said officials are investigating if the explosions were the result of a terrorist attack, the Associated Press reported. Putin also offered condolences to the families of the victims.
Reuters said that Russian officials have closed the St. Petersburg subway following the explosions, while Moscow is “taking unspecified additional security measures” for its subway system “in case of an attack there.”
Watch below, via Sky News:

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CNN’s ‘Massive’ Error on Russia? No Time For It on ‘Reliable Sources’

CNN’s media unit has an enormous black hole in its review of the media world: CNN. On Friday, CNN retracted an online story making unsubstantiated claims about the Russian ties of Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci. Jon Passantino at Buzzfeed reported on Sunday a crackdown on CNN reporting on Russia to prevent future mistakes. 
So how much time did Stelter have for this story on his show Reliable Sources on Sunday? Nothing. Instead, Stelter spent more than five minutes hate-analyzing Fox & Friends as a Trump infomercial. He spent about ten and a half minutes indulging "TV legend" Phil Donahue. He even closed the show with four minutes allegedly about Russia — but his guest Masha Gessen basically fed back Stelter his favorite talking point that Trump is an "aspiring autocrat" who’s shutting down access to the press: "We’re definitely hurtling towards a closed system of government…"
Here’s what Buzzfeed reported: 

CNN is imposing strict new publishing restrictions for online articles involving Russia after the network deleted a story and then issued a retraction late Friday, according to an internal email obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The email went out at 11:21 a.m. on Saturday from Rich Barbieri, the CNNMoney executive editor, saying "No one should publish any content involving Russia without coming to me and Jason [Farkas]," a CNN vice president.
"This applied to social, video, editorial, and MoneyStream. No exceptions," the email added. "I will lay out a workflow Monday."
The new restrictions also apply to other areas of the network — not just CNNMoney, which wasn’t involved with the article that was deleted and retracted.
A source close to the network, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter, told BuzzFeed News earlier that the story was a "massive, massive f—up and people will be disciplined." [Emphasis mine.] The person said CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker and the head of the company’s human resources department are "directly involved" in an internal investigation examining how the story was handled.

It’s not like Stelter was unaware of the CNN retraction. He tweeted that on Saturday morning:

On Sunday night in his e-mail newsletter, Stelter spent about 230 words on the "massive" mess-up: 

On Friday evening fully retracted a story after questions were raised about the accuracy of the reporting and sourcing. The story, by Thomas Frank of the investigative unit, said Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials." It didn’t get TV airtime, but it was shared on the web, where it was spotted and scrutinized by Breitbart.
On Friday night the story was replaced by an editor’s note: "That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled." The editor’s note included an apology to Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci, who was named in the story. The next morning Scaramucci responded via Twitter: "CNN did the right thing. Classy move. Apology accepted. Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on." Some prominent conservative figures, like Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity, seized on the story as an example of anti-Trump bias and anonymous source malfeasance…
An embarrassing moment for CNN
The truth is, there’s still a lot we don’t know. On Saturday and Sunday I asked CNN PR for details and comment. A network spokeswoman declined to comment as of Sunday evening.
— My take: I sometimes complain to my editors about the layers of editing and oversight that exist at CNN. But these processes exist for good reasons. Determining what went wrong this time will help prevent future damage to the news organization… [Emphasis in the original.]

Perhaps Stelter should try to be as upset at his poor access to his own network’s executives as he is to the media’s poor access to Trump. 

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