Trump's inexplicable and highly public confession has provoked a fecal geyser visible from space.
As you read this, members of his legal team are sprinting down the hallway in a half squat, shoving staffers out of the way and pounding on bathroom doors like Fred bellowing for Wilma in the Flintsone's closing credits. Trashbags filled with reeking and sodden trousers are lined up in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue waiting for collection by guys in hazmat suits.
See, their boss--for no apparent reason--just admitted, in a tweet, that the purpose behind the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his highest advisors and a bunch of Russians was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Which, contrary to what Lord of the Undead Rudy Giuliani gibbers, is a clear violation of federal law.
True, politicians do try to get dirt on one another all the time. And it's not illegal.
So long as it's not from Russians.
52 USC Sec. 30121 makes it unlawful For "a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make. . .
a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election
Trump's defense, so far as it can be divined from the leaking hacks still willing to appear in public in his defense, appears to be threefold: first, that information--dirt--is speech protected by the First Amendment; second, that dirt is not a "thing of value"; third, that Hillary got Russian dirt via the Steele dossier.
I guess when you're sitting in a cushion of your own stool you have to say something. Point by point:
Political information is not protected speech. If it were, so would insider information or intellectual property. Doesn't warrant further discussion.
Second, of course "dirt" is a thing of value. Politicians pay for it. A lot.
Finally, whoever paid for the Steele Dossier paid for it. Thus, it is neither a donation nor a contribution--the acts prohibited by the statute. Accordingly, there is no arguable criminal liability for whoever bought it, because they paid for it. To be clear, the statute doesn't prohibit any candidate from staying in a Russian hotel--but it does prohibit staying in a hotel if Putin's paying for it.
So that's why Trump spokespeople look so uncomfortable. They're covered in shit.