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May 28, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Trump’s America: Where the News is Made Up, and the Laws Don’t Matter.

Back in June 2016, a Russian lawyer met with Donald Trump’s closest advisors, promising “dirt” on then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, spoke with senior members of Trump’s campaign just six days after the meeting was proposed. The meeting took place at Trump Tower NYC, and the audience included Donald Trump Jr. and top campaign advisor Paul Manafort. Russia went on to intentionally spread propaganda via a state enforced social media campaign throughout the election, intending to sow political discord within the United States and bolster Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Presidential Election. Such activity was confirmed in January 2017 by US intelligence, including the FBI, CIA, and NSA. Meanwhile, a Special Counsel led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been tasked with determining any culpability from the Trump campaign in the conspiracy to defraud the 2016 Presidential Election. The Trump Tower meeting has remained a focal point in this ongoing investigation.

On May 20 2018, the New York Times reported that just three months prior to the 2016 election, a second Trump Tower meeting had taken place. On 3 August 2016 Donald Trump Jr. met with George Nadar — representing Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Mohammad bin Salman, respective crown princes to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Also present at the meeting was Joel Zamel, who came with “a multimillion-dollar proposal for a social media manipulation effort to help elect Mr. Trump”.

Just as Donald Trump Jr. replied “I love it!” to Natalia Veselnitskaya, in response to receiving potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton, he was equally amenable to meeting with George Nadar. The meeting was planned primarily to discuss efforts to assist in the election of Donald Trump, and communication between the Trump Administration and foreign agents has continued deep into Trump’s presidency. An investigation conducted by the Associated Press, and resulting correspondence, revealed that Nader maintained access to the highest level of US Government and conveyed messages from the princes of the two Gulf countries to President Donald Trump. Foreign interference in an American election is illegal under federal election laws.

We don’t yet know whether or not Zamel’s social media campaign took place, and we don’t yet know if Trump had prior knowledge of the similar campaign out of Russia. However, Trump and his campaign advisors did know of the desire from these foreign nations to secure his election, and they did not report this activity to US intelligence. A Senate intelligence committee released a report on 16 May reaffirming assertions Russia was successful in their attempts to influence the 2016 election. Committee Vice-President and Democratic Senator Mark Warner stated on 20 May — “I don’t understand what the President doesn’t get about the law that says if you have a foreign nation interfere in an American election, that’s illegal”.

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:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this