Trump's lawyers now say collusion is not a crime. Right-wing media have been saying that for over a year.

Trump's lawyers now say collusion is not a crime. Right-wing media have been saying that for over a year.

Blog ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS, GRACE BENNETT & KATIE SULLIVAN

Two lawyers for President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, have begun publicly making the case on behalf of their client that colluding with a foreign country to swing an election is not be a crime. During a July 30 appearance on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Giuliani claimed that “collusion is not a crime,” an argument he went on to repeat that same day to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. The next day, Sekulow appeared on Fox & Friends and declared multiple times that “collusion is not a crime.”

This isn’t the first time that Giuliani has suggested that potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia may not have been illegal. In May, he told Fox’s Laura Ingraham that there is “nothing illegal” about “looking for dirt” on political opponents, even “if it comes from a Russian or a German or an American.” And Trump in December himself told The New York Times, “Even if there was [collusion], it's not a crime." These claims from the president and his lawyers echo more than a year of similar protestations by right-wing and pro-Trump media figures:

  • Fox’s Sean Hannity: “The breaking news today is [special counsel Robert] Mueller is just now starting investigating Russia collusion, which isn’t a crime.”

  • Hannity: “Today is the one-year anniversary of the Mueller witch hunt, and so far the special counsel has not provided a single shred of evidence of any collusion. And collusion is not against the law.”

  • Hannity: “Collusion is not a crime.”

  • Hannity : “Collusion’s not a crime. That’s the whole irony here.”  

  • Fox’s Jeanine Pirro: Trump “only needs to answer questions about crimes. If it’s not a crime to fire [former FBI Director] Jim Comey, then what crime are we talking about? Collusion? Russian collusion is not a crime.”

  • Pirro: “Collusion is not a crime, so why are all the Democrats saying we’re looking for collusion? Collusion is not a crime. How stupid are they?”

  • Fox’s Laura Ingraham: “Collusion’s not a crime. ... As Andy McCarthy keeps saying, collusion -- there is not a crime in actually speaking to Russian officials during an election cycle.”

  • Fox’s Gregg Jarrett: The FBI “launched the investigation, as I argue in my book, to frame Donald Trump for things he didn’t do, for crimes he didn’t commit. Collusion is not even a crime in a political campaign."

  • Jarrett: “You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election.”

  • Jarrett: “It was always a myth that collusion in a political campaign is a crime. It’s not.”

  • Jarrett: “Collusion is only criminal in an antitrust setting. It has nothing whatsoever to do with elections.”

  • Fox Business Network’s Lisa Kennedy Montgomery: “As the president’s attorney Jay Sekulow has pointed out a bunch of times, collusion is not a crime. And that’s absolutely true.”

  • Frequent Fox guest Alan Dershowitz: “You cannot impeach a president unless he’s committed a crime. Collusion is not a crime.”

  • Dershowitz: “Collusion is not a crime. I have seen no evidence of collusion.”

  • Dershowitz: “I’ve been teaching criminal law for 50 years, and I know the federal criminal code pretty well. The word ‘collusion’ appears only in one context, and that is if businesses collude with each other in violation of the antitrust law, that’s a crime. But there’s no crime of collusion with a foreign government.”

  • Dershowitz: Mueller is “inventing a crime. There’s no such crime as 'collusion' in the federal statute.”

  • Fox's Brit Hume: “Can anybody identify the crime? Collusion, while it’d obviously be alarming and highly inappropriate for the Trump campaign -- of which there is no evidence by the way, of colluding with the Russians, -- it's not a crime.”

  • NRATV’s Dan Bongino: “I don’t believe the collusion story at all. But the fact is, Tucker, even if there was collusion, collusion isn’t even a crime.”

  • Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: “What is the crime? If the Russian KGB chief is talking to Paul Manafort and the chief says, ‘You know, I've got this dirt here that says Hillary Clinton was this or that.’ And Paul Manafort says, ‘Next Wednesday, why don't you release that. That'd be great for us.’ I don't know that that's a crime at all, what’s the crime?”

  • Conservative author Ronald Kessler: “There’s no violation of the law if, in fact, the campaign colluded with Russia, whatever that means.”

  • Conservative author Michael Reagan: “Collusion is not breaking the law.”

  • Pro-Trump Twitter troll Bill Mitchell:

  • Right-wing radio host Mark Simone:
  • Frequent Fox guest Jonathan Turley on Fox & Friends: “Collusion itself is not a crime”

Video by John Kerr

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.