National Review’s David French Analyzes Trump Emails: ‘I Could Not Believe My Eyes’

On Tuesday, Donald Trump, Jr. confirmed a report that he had emailed and met with Russian contacts to try to get information about Hillary Clinton because the Russian government wanted to support the Trump campaign. He tweeted screenshots of the exchange, in which he was promised "high level and sensitive information" from the Kremlin that would help his father beat Clinton in the 2016 election. Is colluding with foreign governments illegal, and what comes after this startling revelation?

National Review’s David French, a veteran, author, and Harvard Law graduate, joined Glenn on radio Wednesday to analyze the story.

Based on what we know, the emails show “attempted collusion,” French explained, saying that he wouldn’t have believed such an email exchange existed just a week ago.

“I would have thought that’s a bad ‘House of Cards’ episode,” French said incredulously. “That’s just too on the nose.”

French listed the three things we can learn from what we know so far. First, the Trump campaign is still culpable even if they didn’t gain information about Clinton from the meeting; second, an independent investigation is still needed because we don’t know what actually happened in that meeting; and third, we should wonder if there’s more information waiting to come out.

“As somebody said, if you’re thinking you’re buying drugs, and they turn out to be fake drugs, that doesn’t make you any better of a person,” French noted.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: Rand Paul just announced that the G.O.P. is -- has decided to keep Obamacare. I mean, how are you going to get Obamacare through with any of this? And they weren't going that direction anyway.

We want to talk to David French from the National Review. He's a senior fellow. He's a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Author of several books and a graduate from Harvard Law School.

So, David, I want to start there, with what you know legally.

Were any crimes committed at all?

DAVID: It doesn't -- there doesn't seem to be the crimes that have been committed. I mean, at least I haven't identified any yet.

You know, there's been a word that's been thrown around a lot, and that's "collusion." And collusion isn't really a legal term. It's more of a political term. And it means cooperation, I would say. It means participation. And it's -- it's -- obviously -- obviously, no one would want to see Americans cooperating with, participating with a hostile foreign power, as it tries to influence an American election. So calling something "collusion," regardless if it's illegal is still very damaging. It's still very, very problematic.

But as of right now, if you look at the decision of Donald Trump Jr. to take that meeting with Jared Kushner, with Paul Manafort, that doesn't seem to be illegal. It still seems to be -- but that doesn't mean that it's not highly, highly problematic. And we can't say the definition of right and wrong is defined by what's legal or illegal.

GLENN: Correct. And we don't have collusion, per se,, but we do have just in the email, at least -- we do have the willingness to coordinate. When he wrote, "Hey, this is great. But it would be better if it was released maybe later this summer," that is the beginning of cooperation. Is it not?

DAVID: Well, right. Absolutely. The way I phrased it is it looks like based on the available evidence -- what you had was like attempted collusion. If you had asked me a week ago -- or if you had told me a week ago that there exists an actual email sent to high-level Trump officials that says, "We're offering that -- we're offering to provide the Trump campaign with official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father, and it's high-level and sensitive information, but it's part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump," like that's actually in an email, and then a high-level Trump official, no less high-level than Trump's son responds with, "If that's what you say, I love it," I would have thought that's a bad House of Cards episode. That's just too on the nose, that people can actually --

GLENN: Yeah. And there's no -- there -- I didn't think that there was collusion. I didn't think any of -- you would have said to me last week, if there was just emails between the Russians and the Trumps, I would have said no. I mean, I just -- I didn't believe any of this by any stretch of the imagination. And so now we get to the repeated lies. I think we counted 38 or 48 lies, where they are saying none of this happened. One of those, which is stunning -- and I'm trying to get the tape of it, is from Jake Tapper, where he had Donald Trump Jr. on, at the time of the convention, and he said, "You know, they're saying that the -- that the Russians are targeting Hillary Clinton in favor of your father."

And the answer from Donald Trump Jr. is astounding now that you know what he knew, where he rolls his eyes and he said, "This is just pathetic. They will say anything to win."

I mean, where do you go with that, David?

DAVID: Well, one of the things you do, where you go with that, is you don't believe a word they say anymore. And that's really, really important. Because one of the major defenses that we heard yesterday was, okay. Well, we took the meeting. But the meeting was nothing. Nothing happened. There was no collusion. They didn't offer us anything. We didn't give them anything.

And, you know, that may well be true. That may well be true. It may well be that they took a meeting under false pretenses. But there's two things that flow from that. Or, really three things. One, it still doesn't mean that their intent wasn't terrible. As somebody said, if you're thinking you're buying drugs and they turn out to be fake drugs, that doesn't make you any better person.

GLENN: Yeah. And you're not calling the police. I've been ripped off!

DAVID: Right. Exactly.

And, number two, it says, we don't need to believe a word that you said what actually happened in the meetings. So that means independent investigation should continue.

And, number three, it should make us very, very, very curious about whether there's anything else here. There's no reason for us to believe that this is the last shoe to drop right now.

GLENN: Well, especially since on Saturday -- you know, two weeks ago, it was nothing. Then Saturday, it was a meeting about adoption. And then it was, oh, there's a little more.

And then by Monday, it was the most amazing Hollywood-written email we've -- any of us have ever seen.

DAVID: When I saw that email -- I could not believe my eyes, when I saw that email.

GLENN: David, you have -- you have been watching the conservative movement for a long time. But you've been watching it now for the last 18 months. And I have to -- I have to ask myself and you, all right. People are really hurting. They're really struggling. They don't believe the press. They don't, really, in anything anymore. They reached out to Donald Trump because he spoke their language and said, look, I'm going to bring your jobs back. I'm going to help you with health care.

Many people will look at this and say, this is a distraction. And we have to stop it because we need to get the things done that he promised he was going to get done.

How do you -- what does this do to the conservative movement, if we play this like the left played Bill Clinton in the 1990s?

DAVID: Well, I think what happens is we become that which we despise. You know, I was -- I was -- you know, I remember the 1990s very, very vividly. I remember being appalled at the Democrats, not just -- not just that the Democrats were willing to excuse Bill Clinton, but the extent to which they would attack other people to cover for Bill Clinton and to distract from Bill Clinton.

And you begin to see a lot of the same things happening in the -- you know, what we would still call the conservative movement, that not only are they excusing, they're attacking other people. Sometimes unjustly. Sometimes these other people do wrong things. But attacking other people to excuse Donald Trump. And then at the end of the day, you're looking at it. And, yes, Donald Trump has done some good things. The Gorsuch nomination was very good. The Mattis nomination was very good. But on a lot of things on his agenda, he's not even moving in any direction on those particular things.

And so you, at the end of the day, you're going, "Well, I'm attacking on his behalf. I'm excusing things I never would have excused" -- I mean, could you imagine two years ago, Glenn, that there would be Republicans talking about a meeting like this, with the intention of meeting with foes of the United States to influence an American election -- two years ago, saying, "Oh, that's not a big problem. Here's the real problem?" I could have never imagined that.

GLENN: I could have imagined Hillary Clinton -- honestly, I think so lowly of Hillary Clinton, that I could imagine that.

DAVID: Well, yes.

GLENN: But I couldn't imagine this with --

DAVID: From our side.

GLENN: From our side. No.

How serious is this, David? Where does this go?

DAVID: That's a great question. I would say, it's very serious. We don't know how serious it will get because we don't know what else is there. If this is -- if there is no other shoe that drops in all of this, if this is the story, this is very, very serious, but it's not going to lead to a change in the administration. It's not going to lead to impeachment. But it should be -- it should be deeply alarming, and it should be deeply damaging. But we just don't know. We're at a point right now where -- as Jonah Goldberg put it well, we know so little that we should trust no one and defend no one because there are a lot -- so many facts that we don't know. We have to wait. We have to be patient. And I know that's really hard in the Twitter news cycle. But we really do have to be patient. There are actual credible investigations ongoing.

And what this has shown us is that these investigations aren't a, quote, unquote, witch hunt. For a while -- and I was beginning to believe it. I was beginning to believe that the collusion narrative was utterly false

GLENN: Me too.

DAVID: And now I'm seeing that maybe that's not right, and we need to really -- we need to really leave no stone unturned.

GLENN: So I'm going to talk to the audience here in a few minutes about some of the things that I'm worried about. I mean, any time in American history, that the United States government has become unstable, that's when our foes move. We are -- we are in a situation where one of our foes is Russia. I mean, we are entangled with Russia in North Korea. We're entangled with them in ISIS in the Middle East. In Europe -- I mean, the president just gave a great speech about not -- having Europe not entangled with Russian oil.

I am concerned about things like Kim Jong-il. Is there something on the horizon that we should watch for and be very careful and watch this administration and how they move? Because we know that there might be some deep connections with Russia.

DAVID: Well, you know, we just have to look at very carefully what's happening both in Europe and the Ukraine. The Baltic States. And also Syria. You know, look, people don't realize what a flash point Syria is and what a flash point Syria could become. Because we're moving towards a de facto partition of that country, where we're the guardian and protector of our allies, Russian is the guardian and protector of their allies, and our allies and their allies are often in direct military conflict with each other.

GLENN: Yep. Yep.

DAVID: And that's extremely volatile. And that requires a very steady hand at the wheel. Or a very steady hand at the -- you know, at the helm of the ship of state. And this is something where -- things like this, where you're realizing, could there have been such inappropriate contacts behind the scenes that even today there might be some possibility that there the Russians have leverage that they shouldn't have? That's where it gets very, very troubling.

Because this kind of news cycle -- if there exists other context, this kind of news cycle can erupt again, just at the whim of the Russian state. And that's what a lot of people don't realize when they say, oh, well, what's wrong with taking a meeting about opposition research? Well, what's wrong with it is that the person who meets with you, in this case, if they're agents of the Russian government, has the information that they met with you. They have the knowledge that they met with you. And they have the ability to deploy that knowledge at will to harm you. And that creates leverage. And that's just one of the problematic aspects of it. But it's a very problematic aspect when that leverage is on behalf of our chief geopolitical foe.

GLENN: I have one more minute to answer this question: We're -- we're sitting here and looking at the House and the Senate. They're trying to get health care through. Et cetera, et cetera. They're trying to get a bunch of judges through.

What do our listeners need to do to not -- to have a chance of not losing the House in 2018?

We -- the way we react as the G.O.P., if we bury this, there's a lot of independents that will say, "I want checks and balances on this guy."

DAVID: Right.

GLENN: More so than they already did. What -- how should we be reacting now? What should we be saying?

DAVID: I would say three words: Do your jobs. And your jobs include getting through good legislation. Because there's nothing that says administration chaos can't mean that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can't put good legislation on the president's desk that could help Americans. And, number two, do your job in holding this president accountable. Because if you're seen entirely as carrying his water -- and any positive agenda is stalled while you're carrying his water, to say that that puts the House -- makes the House vulnerable and the House majority vulnerable is an understatement. And I think "do your jobs" is the message.

GLENN: Yeah, I agree.

Great. Thank you very much. David French from the National Review. Good talking to you, David. Stay safe.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.