So, even if he didn't know the exact name or identity of the Russian lawyer he was to meet with, he knew -- if he read his email -- that whatever he was told in the meeting was part of a foreign government's efforts to help choose its preferred candidate in the 2016 election.
Sit with that for a minute: The eldest son of the de facto Republican presidential nominee reportedly met with someone he knew was peddling information as part of a Russian government effort to elect his dad.
Sounds real to me. It's sounds like it's getting realer all the time. And Randall Eliason on how conspiracy cases are made, brick by brick like a wall. Only this wall is getting made.
Conspiracies, by their nature, take place in secret. To break through that secrecy, prosecutors often rely on circumstantial evidence. The classic trial lawyer’s metaphor is that each such piece of evidence is a brick. No single event standing alone may prove the case. But when assembled together, those individual bricks may build a wall — a big, beautiful wall — that excludes any reasonable doubt about what happened.
That’s why this latest news is a big deal. The meeting helps establish a few critical facts. The first is simply that contacts between Russians and campaign officials did take place. If you are seeking to prove a criminal partnership, evidence that the alleged partners had private meetings establishes the opportunity to reach an agreement.
Of course, there already was evidence of other meetings between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign. The crucial new detail about this meeting is that campaign members now admit it took place after they were told that Veselnitskaya was offering compromising information about Clinton.
This fact is significant regardless of what happened at the meeting. Proving a defendant’s state of mind is key in any criminal case. This meeting provides critical evidence about the state of mind of Trump representatives: They were willing to hear what a Russian individual had to offer about their opponent.
Wonder how well the Trumps are sleeping these days.