Rudy Giuliani is a busy man these days. In a series of interviews, President Trump's attorney has been defending his biggest client and belittling the Robert Mueller investigation, and one line in particular was making headlines Monday. "Collusion is not a crime," Giuliani asserted on Fox & Friends, per CNBC. More details and context on Giuliani's latest push, along with an odd tweet of his:
- On collusion: "I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime," Giuliani said on Fox. "Collusion is not a crime." Trump himself has previously made this point, as when he told the New York Times in December, "There is no collusion, and even if there was, it's not a crime."
- Elaborating: In an interview on CNN, Giuliani reiterated that he didn't know if colluding with Russians is a crime. “Hacking is the crime," he said. "The president didn't hack. He didn't pay for the hacking.” He also called Michael Cohen a "scumbag." See the full interview here.
- Conflict: On a related topic, Giuliani would not elaborate on Trump's weekend claim that Mueller has "conflicts of interest" because of their "very nasty & contentious business relationship." A post at the conservative Hot Air site digs into the possibilities and comes up with an old one over, of all things, golf dues. But "if Trump believes there’s a serious financial 'dispute' that disqualifies Mueller on conflict grounds, why won’t he just specify it?" wonders Allahpundit. "Is it because his lawyers think it would sound nutty to try to shift the Russiagate debate towards a debate over golf dues?"
- Strong words: In yet another interview, this time with Axios, Giuliani said it's time for Mueller to wrap up. "Why don't you write a report and show us what you have, because they don't have a god---- thing," he said. "It's like a guy playing poker. He's bluffing and he's only got a pair of twos."
- That tweet: On Sunday, Giuliani issued a succinct tweet that read "You" in its entirety. A mistake? Probably, but that hasn't prevented all kinds of fun from people filling in the missing blanks, including rapper Soulja Boy, who suspects a song reference. Deadline rounds them up.
- The goal-posts: At the Washington Post, an analysis by Aaron Blake says Giuliani's latest comments fit in with a Trump strategy that is "a study in goal-post moving." That is, "constantly watering down previous denials and raising the standard for what would constitute actual wrongdoing." Giuliani also seems to be emphasizing a very narrow point about the famous Trump Tower meeting with Russians—that Trump himself wasn't physically present, even though the bigger issue is whether he knew about it in advance and gave it his blessing.
- Is he right? So is Giuliani correct in saying that collusion isn't a federal crime? An answer from Newsweek: "While 'collusion' is not specifically contained in the federal statute, 'conspiracy against the United States' is. It is not clear whether a sitting president would be indicted by the Justice Department. Trump is also being investigated for obstruction of justice."
- Another big meeting: At the left-leaning Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall thinks Giuliani let something slip by talking about a preparation meeting that took place two days before the Trump Tower meeting. Giuliani's point in bringing it up was to emphasize that Trump himself wasn't at either one, but the fact that a prep meeting was held suggests "the Trump team took the planned encounter with the Russian government emissary much more seriously than they’ve suggested to date." The prep meeting was on June 7, and that night Trump promised in a campaign speech to deliver bombshells soon on Hillary Clinton. It sure looks like "Trump was so excited about the dirt his campaign was going to receive two days later that he couldn’t help but brag about it in public that night."
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