Vail Daily column: Mr. Trump, hacking is a crime
July 28, 2016
Even by Donald Trump's questionable and ever-shifting standards, the hypocrisy is astounding. Despite his life of crookery, bullying, strong-arming, and apparent defrauding, he has called long and loudly for his opponent to be indicted for what he — but neither the Justice Department nor the FBI after thorough-going investigations — has called her crimes.
On Tuesday, after it appeared that the Russians had hacked at least some of the Democratic National Committee's emails, Trump called for even more.
During a press conference in the battleground state of Florida, Trump said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.
"They probably have them. I'd like to have them released," he continued. "Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those e-mails, I mean, to be honest with you, I'd love to see them."
This is extraordinary by any measure.
Said Jake Sullivan, a Clinton policy advisor, "This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
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Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta suggested the remarks raised questions about Trump's loyalty to the United States. "No presidential candidate who's running to be president of the United States ought to be asking a foreign country, particularly Russia, to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts to try to determine what the Democratic candidate may or may not be doing," Panetta said.
While out of one side of this mouth, Trump is calling foul, out of the other, he is being foul. Yes, yes, we've come to expect crude, inappropriate, immature, foul and downright nasty comments from The Donald — that's the stuff he's made of — but publicly soliciting a crime, what's more by a foreign power and Russia of all nations is, well, criminal.
Hacking, you may know, is a crime, at least when the perpetrators access systems without the owner's permission. The crime of hacking originates with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a 1986 law, which makes any unauthorized access into a protected network or computer a federal crime and permits harsh penalties for those convicted.
Solicitation of a crime is itself a crime. Criminal solicitation is requesting, encouraging or demanding someone to engage in criminal conduct, with the intent to facilitate or contribute to the commission of that crime. So when Trump thrust his jaw out, egging on the Russians, he was committing the offense of criminal solicitation. Even if not strictly actionable, it is, to say the least, reprehensible, uncomely and befitting only desperate win-at-all-costs gutter politics.
There should be deep concern too about Trump's cozying up to a foreign power in denigration of American values and ideals and his apparent disloyalty to the nation he pretends to serve in the interests of his own self-aggrandizement. If he had a soul, he would be willing to sell it to the devil for a glimpse of his own benighted reflection.
Does it amount to treason? Well, maybe.
Treason may be defined as the crime of betraying one's country. It is at least arguable that solicitation of a hostile foreign power to commit a crime and interfere with the American electoral process amounts to criminal betrayal.
What it proves with certainty once again, is that Trump is not fit for the presidency, either by temperament, experience or even the most rudimentary statesmanship. Instead, this Richie Rich of a pretender is better suited for his past life as a reality TV performer. Would anyone truly trust him with his hands on the nuclear codes?
Like her or not, it is undeniable that Hillary Clinton — despite the Trumpists caricature of her — has spent a lifetime helping other while Trump has spent a lifetime — like a pig at a trough — pushing aside others to only help himself. In Trumpworld, the mantra is to grab and horde all that you can, everyone else be damned. The bloviating, self-inflated Trump, whose life is fantasy more than fact, would even sell the soul of his nation to the Russians in his bid to grab the presidency.
Trump's latest is, to employ a favorite phrase of his, "disgusting." Soliciting criminal conduct, emboldening a rouge nation, and committing treason to feather his gilded nest is simply beyond the pale.
Before he was elected, President Obama penned, "The Audacity of Hope." Trump has engaged, instead, in pure, unadulterated, malign, irredeemable audacity of hate.
Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the bars of Colorado and California who practices in the Vail Valley with the law firm of Stevens, Littman, Biddision, Tharp and Weinberg LLC. His practice areas include business and commercial transactions, real estate and development, family law, custody, divorce and civil litigation. Robbins may be reached at 970-926-4461 and at either of his email addresses, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
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