One of the most relevant statues, in my view, has to do with the conspiracy to the Defraud the United States. Federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 371 says:
If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Thus, I think Donald Trump and his administration is vulnerable under this statue. I’m not alone in this estimation. Mueller’s team has already indicted 13 Russians on the basis of this statue. Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University Law, said:
U.S. election law prohibits foreigners from providing assistance to U.S. political campaigns, and prohibits anyone from soliciting such foreign assistance. It is through the lens of that law that I have followed the developments of the past few days about the June 9, 2016, meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
If the emails leading up to the meeting that Trump Jr. released Tuesday morning are genuine, they are damning. In the first email, a business associate wrote Trump Jr. and indicated that a Russian government official “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary [Clinton] … and would be very useful to your father.” This email was offering assistance that would violate U.S. law. But rather than rebuff the offer, Trump Jr. expressed enthusiasm for it, and even suggested when the information should be disclosed to the public: “Seems we have some time and if it is what you say I love it especially later in the summer.” Trump Jr. may be counting on his father—and the presidential pardon power—to excuse him from criminal liability for what he disclosed Tuesday morning.
Donald Trump may be liable if he knew about this action. George Washington University Law School Lecturer in Law, Randall D. Eliason wrote:
Suppose Trump campaign officials got involved with Russian hackers only after the hacking was already completed, and worked with them on things like timing the release of certain emails. Conspiracy to violate the CFAA might not be a viable charge, because you can’t conspire to commit a crime that is already completed.
At that point a couple of other options would come into play. Accessory after the Fact, 18 U.S.C. § 3, punishes anyone who knows a crime against the U.S. has been committed and then “receives, relieves, comforts or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment.” Anyone who worked with Russian hackers to help them conceal their activities and avoid detection or apprehension could be considered an accessory.
A related charge, Misprision of a Felony, 18 U.S.C. § 4, punishes anyone who has actual knowledge of a felony that has been committed against the U.S. and “does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority.” Again, if Trump campaign officials got involved with Russian hackers after the hacking was completed and cooperated with them rather than reporting the hacking, misprision would be a potential charge.
The investigation is not a witch hunt, Trump protestations aside.