On Monday morning, President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, appeared on national television – where he proceeded to explain twice that collusion with the Russians in the 2016 election wouldn’t actually be a crime. Speaking with Alisyn Camerota on CNN, Giuliani explained that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort wasn’t intimately involved with Trump, since he only worked with Trump for four months: “They’re not going to be colluding with Russia, which I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians. You start analyzing the crime – the hacking is the crime…The President didn’t hack.”
Giuliani then shifted the goalposts again: he said Trump hadn’t attended the infamous July 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Giuliani, who said on Thursday that Trump didn’t know about the meeting, is now more vague:
Now, for Trump’s core supporters, perhaps this is assurance enough – who cares whether Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting? Who cares whether he “colluded”? He took down Hillary Clinton, and he didn’t hack her, so no crime was committed!
But crimes could have been committed. Trump Jr. has testified his father didn’t know about the meeting; that puts him in danger of perjury. Furthermore, election law prevents foreign nationals from giving a “thing of value” to any campaign – if the Russians shared dirt, that could violate election law. If the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians about the hacking, they could be involved in conspiracy. Or members of the Trump Team could have lied about any of this stuff.
Most of all, for Democrats to gin up the American public over a possible impeachment doesn’t require a serious crime. All it requires is the scandal of Team Trump having coordinated with the Russians to exchange information, and Trump knowing about it. That would be political dynamite, even if Trump’s base isn’t particularly concerned.
All of that is the Left’s conjecture at this point. But by Giuliani moving off his “Trump is innocent” position and toward the “collusion is not a crime” position, he’s undermined the president’s protestations of innocence. In the end, all of this may come to nothing. But Giuliani just did his boss no favors.