Legal experts across the country are face-palming after President Donald Trump made a ridiculous claim about collusion on Thursday.
During a surprise interview with the New York Times at his Florida golf course, Trump talked extensively about the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and repeatedly claimed that he didn’t collude with Russia to win the 2016 Election. But he added a caveat that even if he did commit collusion, “it’s not a crime.”
“I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion. And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times.”
Except that Dershowitz is not on the case, so he has no clue exactly what Mueller and his team are looking at or what evidence they have uncovered, nor does he have access to any materials or testimony Mueller has gathered.
“There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime. But there’s no collusion.”
Also, Trump claimed the investigation against him “makes the country look very bad” and “puts the country in a very bad position.”
“So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”
No, there is not a specific law that says collusion is a crime. But conspiracy and obstruction of justice are crimes that Mueller can charge Trump with.
Firing former FBI director James Comey for not complying with Trump’s demand to kill the investigation could be considered obstruction, for example.
Furthermore, over a dozen legal experts from around the nation agree that Mueller could hit Trump with obstruction of justice charges, despite claims by Trump’s attorneys that he can’t legally commit such a crime.
It also needs to be pointed out that while Mueller would not use the term “collusion” to describe Trump’s crimes, he could use the term “criminal conspiracy” in any indictment or report. Conspiracy is specifically against the law, and any collusion with Russia to undermine our democracy would be considered a conspiracy.
Also, Trump can be charged with violating the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because he urged Russia to hack the DNC and Hillary Clinton in search of emails. And he can be charged because his campaign illegally solicited campaign funds from foreign nationals.
So, there are plenty of things Trump could be charged with, all of which are impeachable offenses, especially when combined.
He can claim that collusion is not a crime all he wants. It sounds like he is basically admitting that he committed it, but is trying to escape charges by taking advantage of the wording of the law.
He’s protesting too much. It’s a nice try, but will hardly save him if Mueller merely uses real legal jargon to describe Trump’s illegal activities another way.
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