President Donald Trump, contradicting past denials of campaign coordination with Russia, on Tuesday claimed such “collusion is not a crime.”
The president has repeatedly since taking office denied that he or his 2016 campaign associates worked with Russian officials or individuals during his race against Democratic foe Hillary Clinton. But, as his attorney Rudolph Giuliani did on Monday, Trump muddied those waters on Tuesday.
“Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!” Trump wrote.
Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
That came after a confusing Monday morning media tour by Giuliani, during which he first floated his collusion as legal theory. Friendly Fox News anchors agreed. A less-friendly CNN host looked stunned.
The former New York City mayor and U.S. attorney, and now Trump, appear to be trying to influence public opinion about the Justice Department’s Russia probe of possible campaign coordination and whether Trump obstructed justice since taking office with moves related to the investigation, including firing then-FBI Director James Comey.
Legal experts say Giuliani and Trump have a point: there is no federal law or statue making campaign collusion a crime.
But they also say Special Counsel Robert Mueller would bring charges of conspiracy, making false statements to federal investigators or obstructing justice. Those are federal crimes.