Common Cause

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Donald Trump Jr. E-mails Are Smoking Gun Confirming Illegal Solicitation from Foreign National

Statement of Paul S. Ryan Common Cause Vice President for Policy and Litigation

WASHINGTON - If these e-mails are not a hoax, they are the smoking gun showing that Donald Trump Jr. illegally solicited a contribution from a foreign national—in the form of opposition research against Hillary Clinton—as our complaints yesterday alleged. These e-mails show a clear violation of federal campaign finance law. Trump Jr. received the offer of valuable “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary” from Russia, responded that he “appreciate[d]” the offer and that he “love[d] it” and enthusiastically requested a call with Russian Emin Agalarov to receive the offered information, which Trump described as “Political Opposition Research.”

Whether or not he actually received that information does not matter in the eyes of the law. Trump’s solicitation of the information is what constitutes the violation. Further, the emails released by Trump today indicate that the offer of opposition research on Clinton included “some official documents.” If Trump left the meeting with those documents, then he apparently accepted an illegal contribution from a foreign national, which is an additional violation of federal law.

It is shocking that Donald Trump Jr. did not immediately contact federal authorities when he was offered information, supposedly from the Russian government, intended to undermine the 2016 election. Donald Trump Jr. clearly chose to put his father’s campaign before his country and that is deeply troubling.

To read the DOJ complaint filed yesterday, click here.

To read the FEC complaint filed yesterday, click here.


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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

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