Trump to NY Times: Collusion Is Not a Crime
I can’t help but think of OJ Simpson and his, “I didn’t do it, but if I did, this is how I would have done it…” episode.
President Trump was interviewed by the New York Times on Thursday – no filter, no John Kelly or other aides to craft his message, so it was exactly what we’ve come to expect from unfiltered Trump.
On the subject of the Russia probe, Trump praised veteran attorney Alan Dershowitz, who has come out in support of Trump, saying he had a right to fire James Comey, as president, and that it did not equate to obstruction.
Well, he didn’t just fire him. He fired him because he wouldn’t end the Russia probe. These were Trump’s own words on national television.
More unfiltered Trump.
What about potential collusion with Russia, a hostile foreign power?
“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,” Trump told The Times. “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.”
I don’t know that Alan Dershowitz said any such thing.
I know Fox News personality (of course) Gregg Jarrett loudly blustered back in June that collusion wasn’t a crime.
And keeping in mind that I’m no lawyer, I checked around and found a few interesting opinions specifically addressing the notion of collusion not being a crime.
“There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime,” he continued. “But there’s no collusion.”
Well, what is collusion?
It’s a cover word, possibly a poor one, that has several components.
Experts other than Dershowitz and Fox News’ bobbleheads have explained that collusion encompasses a variety of criminal activity: conspiracy (an agreement to commit a crime), recruitment (finding, convincing individuals to aid with intelligence objectives), aiding and abetting in a crime, fraud, including online activities, such as hacking, wire fraud, and treason.
So to say there was no collusion covers a lot of ground.
One of President Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said earlier this month that it didn’t matter if members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia because “there is no crime of collusion.”
“For something to be a crime, there has to be a statute that you claim is being violated,” he told The New Yorker. “There is not a statute that refers to criminal collusion. There is no crime of collusion.”
Again, strictly looking for the word “collusion” apparently short sells the range of charges that might be applicable under the umbrella of the word.
Trump further bemoaned the image of the nation, as Robert Mueller’s investigation grinds on.
“It puts the country in a very bad position,” Trump said. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”
Oh, I agree with that, but not at the expense of allowing potentially criminal activity to go unchecked.