Rudy Giuliani Is Now Claiming Collusion May Not Be a Crime

The latest evolution in the president’s defense in the Russia investigation.

During two separate television interviews Monday morning, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani openly questioned whether collusion with the Russian government—a reported focus of the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin—is a criminal offense. 

The attempts to downplay the gravity of the charges appear to mark a new stage in Trump’s defense in the Russia investigation. As recently as Sunday night, the president again rejected the allegation that any collusion between his campaign and Russian officials took place during the 2016 presidential election. 

By Monday morning, his lawyer Giuliani told Fox & Friends, “I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime—collusion is not a crime.” 

Appearing on CNN’s New Day moments later, Giuliani repeated his assertion. “I don’t even know if that’s a crime, colluding about Russians,” Giuliani said. “You start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.”

“The president didn’t hack! He didn’t pay them for hacking!” he continued.

The television interviews come hours after Trump published a series of angry tweets targeting special counsel Robert Mueller. He also claimed Democrats were the party guilty of collusion—an offense his personal lawyer now suggests may not be a crime.

The president’s ramped up attacks against the special counsel investigation follow reports that Trump’s longtime personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen is preparing to tell Mueller that the president knew in advance about the now infamous June 2016 meeting, during which Trump campaign associates met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of receiving damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

Trump hit back, suggesting on Friday that his one-time confidant and fixer is using spurious information in order to strike a deal with federal prosecutors over his troubled taxi business.

Update 2:50 pm EST: Later on Monday, Giuliani called into Fox News to clarify his statements by repeating the assertion that collusion is not a crime. “It’s a very, very familiar lawyer’s argument that: My client didn’t do it, and even if he did it, it’s not a crime.” He continued: “The only crime here is hacking and it is ridiculous to think that the president hacked.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.