Rudy Giuliani now claims that collusion with Russia is 'not a crime' — an apparent concession to the mountains of evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with foreign operatives who tried to sway the 2016 election.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer and disastrous spokesperson, now claims that it is "not a crime" if Trump actually did collude with Russians who tried to influence the American presidential election.
"I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime. Collusion is not a crime," Giuliani told the hosts of "Fox and Friends," Trump's favorite television show.
Giuliani echoed the argument in an appearance on CNN, stating, "Colluding about Russians — I don't know if that's even a crime."
This marks quite a shift in the Trump team's defense.
Now, however, Giuliani is arguing that just in case it turns out that the Trump campaign really did work with a foreign entity to help sabotage the election, it was never a crime in the first place.
There is, of course, a mountain of evidence that many of Trump's campaign officials and associates did collude with Russian operatives to influence the election.
Most notably, senior officials with the campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., met with Russian operatives promising election dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, has indicated that contrary to Trump Jr.'s congressional testimony and Trump's public claims, the senior Trump knew about the meeting in advance.
While Giuliani is right that the word "collusion" isn't a legal term, he's wrong about whether Trump and his associates could be prosecuted for these and other actions.
After Trump publicly called on Russia to obtain Clinton's emails, Russian hackers who were in contact with Roger Stone, Trump's long-time political adviser and friend, reportedly tried to do exactly what Trump asked them to.
And former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has deep ties to Russian interests, has been indicted for financial crimes.
The "no collusion" defense has always been suspect — but Trump still led his team in denying reality, as he so often has.
Now Team Trump wants to deny reality in a new way, by claiming that collusion isn't a crime.
And by making that weak defense, Giuliani gets extremely close to admitting that there was collusion after all.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.