Why is collusion not a crime

Trump attorney Giuliani claims collusion is not a criminal offense

The saga of the investigations into the Russia contacts of Donald Trump's election campaign team and any "collusion" - that is, secret agreements - with Russia has been one chapter richer since Monday morning. The Republican ex-Mayor of New York, interim cyber security advisor and now legal advisor to President Trump, Rudolph "Rudy" Giuliani, indicated on American television that any secret agreements might not be punishable at all.

"I don't know if that's a crime - making secret deals with Russia. Hacking is a crime. The president didn't hack. He didn't pay for the hack," Giuliani told CNN. He repeatedly referred to the fact that secret agreements - "collusion" - are not explicitly listed in the penal code as an offense and therefore do not constitute a criminal offense. In fact, even Trump's Ministry of Justice assumes a different interpretation of the legal situation.

Collaboration is a crime

The "New Yorker" quoted in April 2018 from a briefing document from Vice Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which special investigator Robert Mueller put together in preparation for the Manafort trial. It states that charges against Manafort are justified if he "has committed one or more crimes by making arrangements with officials of the Russian government regarding Russian influence over the US presidential elections in 2016, in breach of US Laws ".

This somewhat bulky, legal formulation makes it unmistakably clear that the attorney general sees collusion as a criminal offense in the sense of the US judiciary. Giuliani nevertheless reassured on Fox News on Monday: "I sat there and looked at the penal code to see whether collusion is a crime. Collusion is not a crime."

Change of tactics

Just as Trump's team tried in recent months to present it as if the president could not be legally prosecuted for obstructing the judiciary, Giuliani is now trying to influence public perception of the secret deals, commentators say. This is interesting insofar as President Trump has almost always insisted that there should be no "collusion". A prominent exception was the "Time" interview last December, in which he said: "There were no secret agreements. And even if there had been one, it would not be a crime."

Trump Tower Meeting

Rudy Giuliani's appearances on the morning shows also had the much-discussed meeting in the Trump Tower in June 2016 on the subject. Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen recently accused Trump on CNN of having known about the meeting - attended by two Russian lobbyists, Trump's son-in-law and presidential adviser Jared Kushner, then campaign leader Paul Manafort and Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. . So far, President Trump has vehemently denied this. Giuliani limited himself to making it clear, however, that Trump was not physically present - which is already well known.

The reporter then wanted to know why he knew that Trump was not there. "Because Cohen is a liar and Don Jr. says he wasn't there," Giuliani replied. Giuliani countered the reply that Trump Jr. obviously had an interest in so testifying that Cohen was only pursuing his interests. Giuliani also said Trump was absent from a separate, previously not publicly known, meeting prior to the Trump Tower meeting. This puzzled observers because the reporter couldn't even know about it. Giuliani then stated that he had merely "anticipated" the story. (Fabian Sommavilla, July 31, 2018)