Kendall Coffey on MSNBC with Richard Lui – July 16th, 2017
Founding member of Coffey Burlington, PL and author of Foreclosures in Florida, Kendall Coffey appeared on MSNBC to discuss the recent developments in the Russian investigation with Richard Lui.
For additional information about Kendall Coffey, follow him on Twitter, @Kendall_Coffey
Richard Lui: An ABC News/Washington Post poll out this morning shows 63% of Americans believe that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russians was inappropriate. Kendall Coffey is a former federal prosecutor and former US attorney in the southern district of Florida. Thanks for being here. Kendall. You heard what Jay Sekulow said. So lawyer-to-lawyer here, you to him, was this meeting illegal?
Kendall Coffey: Well, not from what we’ve seen so far, but there’s some elements here that certainly the special council Robert Mueller is going to have to look at very closely. He has not indicated, and is not going to indicate, all the information he has about this meeting until maybe the very end of his investigation. What we know is that some of the attendees of the meeting, they’re saying nothing came from it. Mueller isn’t going to accept that. He’s going to want to get into the details of everything that was said at the meeting and, very importantly, whether any further collaboration was produced by the meeting. So far no crime, but there’s still a good ways to go on this.
RL: Now part of that meeting, Jared Kushner there, son-in-law of the president, when you look at Jared Kushner’s legal jeopardy, legal exposure, after failing to disclose the meeting, along with other connections. Not once, not twice, but three times, adding, all said, 100 new contacts that he did not do initially. Where does he face danger here when he became a government employee?
KC: Well, better late than never. At least he added some of these elements after the fact. But the reality is, it’s going to be up to the individuals with the FBI in Mueller’s office interviewing him, whether they believe his explanation that he simply forgot these meetings. And he’s going to get pressure, and they’re going to look at a lot of different evidence to see what might indicate that of course he remembered–or maybe he didn’t. People do forget things, and there could be legitimate explanations, but remember–
RL: But Kendall, forgetting 100? You as a prosecutor would you say, “Well, it’s fine to forget two or three.” But 100?
KC: They’re going to be skeptical. But he’s going to have an opportunity to make the explanations, and very importantly, in his explanations, they have to believe that he is truthful. Because the biggest mistake anybody can make in this kind of scenario is to lie to the FBI and attempt to defend themselves in the course of an interview. We all know how often prosecutions happen, not because of what they did, but because of what they fibbed.
RL: So as we’ve seen over the last seven or eight days here—Kendall, you’ve been watching it–it’s sort of like watching somebody fall down steps since the reveal of this meeting. Some have said, “Well, that’s because they’re new to this.” That they are new to government, new to being in the White House. How would that factor in at all as you might be prosecuting such a case?
KC: Well, it will help a little bit. Especially if they conclude, for example, Donald Trump Jr. was not an expert in crisis management, didn’t have a lot of government explanation or exposure. That perhaps Jared Kushner really did not quite understand what he’s supposed to list and what he isn’t. But these are also highly intelligent people in front of highly skeptical prosecutors. So they’re going to have to come up with more than an, “I forgot” explanation, I think, to satisfy all the people who will be listening in [to] their interviews with the FBI and the special counsel.
RL: Would that satisfy you?
KC: I’d have to listen to a lot first; I wouldn’t make a judgment. This is about a criminal pro. So, you not only need to be skeptical, but you got to believe you can prove their criminality beyond the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. That’s not an easy burden in a case like this.
RL: My friend, Kendall Coffey. Thank you, sir.
KC: Hey, thanks, Richard.
RL: You bet.