On Tuesday morning, President Trump took to Twitter to begin a new day’s news cycle – this time, by mirroring the words of his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Trump stated:
There are a few problems with this tweet.
First, Trump is correct that the term “collusion” doesn’t refer to a crime, which is one of the problems with Democrats’ continual insistence on using it. But the activity of colluding with the Russian government to affect an American election could most certainly be a crime. It could involve conspiracy; it could involve obstruction; it could involve lying to federal law enforcement. All three of these issues are live right now, although the Mueller investigation has not completed its work.
Second, there’s no reason for Trump to go here. If he didn’t collude with the Russians in any way, why would he downplay the problems with collusion? As a believer that Mueller has provided no evidence thus far suggesting that Trump himself was involved in collusion, it’s bewildering why Trump would go here. Imagine you’re investigated for tax evasion. Wouldn’t you simply say you didn’t commit tax evasion, rather than arguing that tax evasion isn’t a crime?
Third, if collusion isn’t a crime, why would Trump be concerned with Hillary Clinton committing it? It’s all well and good for Trump to point out Hillary’s campaign working with Christopher Steele, who may well have worked with Kremlin agents. That’s legitimate. But if it’s a bad thing when Clinton did it, wouldn’t it be a bad thing if Trump did it?
Here’s the bottom line: none of this is smart public relations. Trump should simply maintain his innocence and then allow the Mueller investigation to do its work – and fight its conclusions if he thinks those conclusions are not based in reality. His penchant for throwing off random thoughts on Twitter is the exact opposite of what any lawyer worth his salt would tell a client, guilty or innocent, to do.