Rudy Giuliani, moving the goalposts, says “collusion is not a crime”

Late last week, as we discussed here, the President’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen signaled through his attorney that he was willing to testify that Donald Trump knew in advance of his son’s meeting with a Russian delegation that had come to New York prior to the 2016 election promising illegally-gotten “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump, staying true to form, responded to the news by melting down on Twitter, calling the Mueller investigation a “rigged witch hunt,” and once again stating definitively, “There is no collusion!” Well, it looks as though sometime between that Sunday morning meltdown and this morning, when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani hit the cable news circuit, a decision had been made to change tack yet once again, tentatively embracing the idea of collusion, but arguing that collusion isn’t a crime.

Colluding with Russia is “not a crime,” Giuliani told CNN… “I have been sitting here trying to find collusion as a crime,” Giuliani said on Fox and Friends, then going on to repeat, “Collusion is not a crime.”

So, it looks as though there’s a attempt to move the goalposts mid-game. No longer is Trump’s team insisting that there was “no collusion.” Now it would appear as though they’re floating a trial balloon, saying that, even if there was collusion, it’s not a crime. And, for what it’s worth, they no longer seem to be arguing that Trump didn’t know in advance about that suspicious June 9, 2016 meeting that took place at Trump Tower between senior members of the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., and a delegation of Russians with ties to the Kremlin. This morning, Giuliani would only say taht Trump didn’t attend the meeting himself. [Asked on CNN if he could say for certain that Trump didn’t know in advance about the meeting, Giuliani said that “nobody can be sure of anything.”] And, perhaps most laughably, Giuliani is now saying that the only real crime in all of this is hacking, and that the President, as he isn’t himself a hacker, is innocent.

All of this, of course, is bullshit. While it’s true that there’s no federal statute that states definitively that “collusion” is a crime, we have plenty of laws against conspiring with foreign governments to influence our elections, and that’s what we’re talking about here. Furthermore, as any prosecutor can tell you, it’s not just the hacker who has committed a crime in an instance like this, but also those who gave the orders… hence the recent grand jury indictments against the 12 Russian GRU agents who oversaw the hacking campaign.

We can’t allow this trial balloon to go up unchallenged. We cannot allow the Trump administration to move the goalposts now, after swearing for two full years that there was no collusion. We need to keep reminding ourselves (and everyone we know) that, for the past two years, the Trump administration kept demanding that there was “no collusion,” and that Trump didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting between members of his campaign and Russian agents. We need to keep sharing videos like this one, showing the extent to which they denied that there was any coordination with the Russians in the run up to the election. We can’t allow history to be rewritten.

update: Trump has now weighed it to say that he didn’t collude, and, even if he did, it wouldn’t be a crime… Makes sense, right?

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56 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted July 30, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Chuck Rosenberg: “Collusion is a crime — we just happen to call it something else. We call it ‘conspiracy.’ But it is absolutely a crime.”

  2. Kim
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    While I like your theory that this is a trial balloon, I think Rudy’s job is merely to confuse the issue as much as possible, adding to the confusion.

  3. Maddow Blog
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Rudy Giuliani knows that “collusion” is just shorthand for potentially several crimes, so the fact that he’s now pushing this simplistic argument suggests to expert observers, like former AUSA Daniel Goldman, that something is up.

  4. Scott Dworkin by proxy
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Colluding with Russia in the way Trump has talked about for two years, absolutely is a crime. The legal charge would be conspiracy against the United States. So let’s stop using the word collusion. Retweet if you agree #TrumpConspired against America with his campaign and Russia.

    https://twitter.com/funder/status/1024281279485935616

  5. free jeans
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, if you missed it, had the following note to to his fellow attorney Rudy Giuliani:

    “Look it up—Colluding to violate the law is conspiracy. 18 U.S.C. 371. Obstructing Justice also is criminal. 18 U.S.C. 1503. Your client, Trump, is under investigation by the Special Counsel for both. Bombast & bullying won’t make it (or him) go away.”

  6. John Brown
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    They are going to do their best to make it a trial by public opinion. The primary is just a week away. Get out and work for and vote for Progressive candidates like Abdul for Gov. Let them know that the electorate demands that we abide by the Constitution and that traitors will get the justice they deserve.

  7. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Am I dreaming? Are the goal posts staying in the same place and you guys are reconfiguring the field of play? I just read a huff post article saying that Giuliani’s “new stance”, is that collusion is not a crime. The article was written in May.

  8. EOS
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    And the goal posts move dramatically for the opposing team. When they do exactly the same thing, it’s no problem. The DNC paid a foreign agent to dig up dirt on Trump in order to influence the election. The foreign agent made up a whopper of a lie, and then used it in a Federal Court in order to justify surveillance of the DNC’s political opponent. Everything they accuse Trump of doing was done previously by the Clinton campaign.

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “We can’t allow this tried balloon to glow up unchallenged.”

    Definitely cannot allow that. Definitely.

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Trump will be fine. Why hasn’t anything worked out yet for the anti-Trumpers? Obama, Clinton, Clapper, Brennan and others colluded to defraud the American people with illegal spying based on false information from foreign sources to interfere with the Trump campaign. That’s who is worried right now.

  11. anonimal
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    @EOS
    No, the DNC hired a private investigation firm (no sympathy for the competition?) to work on the dossier, picking up a investigation started by the Washington Free Beacon. A subconsultant on that dossier hired a former MI6 agent (AN ALLIED INTELLIGENCE AGENCY) as one of their investigators.

    The Federal Court justified their investigation because the dossier substantiated other intelligence from an Australian diplomat. That intelligence, that Russia hacked Hillary, was true. That means that the Trump campaign confirmed that hack prior to our own intelligence agencies. It doesn’t matter if some things aren’t true, because his dossier wasn’t the final report for the DNC (the pee tape is real though). It was part of the background research to confirm that report.

    Working with a guy who used to work for MI6 is not the same thing as working with a current KGB agent. Even if he was an active MI6 agent, its not equivalent. That assertion is willful blindness to the fact that Russia is doing to us what they have done to their neighbors for decades, destabilizing their political systems. Trump encouraged that destabilization of our own system, that’s treason.

  12. EOS
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks HW,

    You said it much better.

    There is something broken in their thought processes that doesn’t allow them to see what is plainly evident. We can follow the money trail for their foreign collusion, but all they have on Trump is the dates of meetings and speculation.

  13. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I remember Iron Lung saying something like ” who cares about Hillary, she did not win.” But, I honestly do not remember anyone of the more inclined toward speculation from mm.com-left- perspective addressing the possible collusion of the left. Which is strange because half of America has been talking about it for quite awhile now.

    Laser light focused; or focused on the laser pointer light?

  14. Lynne
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    You really have to live in a world devoid of facts and logic if you can come to the conclusion that Clinton did anything resembling collusion. It still cracks me up though that the hatred of powerful women is so strong that people still seem to think that accusing Clinton will help take the heat off of Trump. Is the goal to fill the field with so many false accusations that real ones, such as those against Trump, will be harder to see? Probably. Sadly a significant part of the electorate will fall for it.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Funny shit, Lynne. The Clinton DNC paid for false information which the FBI used to try to destroy the Trump campaign and Presidency. What part of that do you disagree with? Claiming misogyny is a joke.

  16. John Brown
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I think this take that Mueller will leave it up to Congress and the electorate is right on. Vote next Tuesday.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/31/politics/donald-trump-rudy-giuliani/index.html

  17. Lynne
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    HW I don’t know what else it is. You tell me why you insist on lying about Hillary Clinton if it isn’t misogyny. Why does the right hate her so much if it isn’t because of her gender? Especially in the context of spinning basic human rights for women over their own bodies as some kind of genocide?

    For anyone actually interested. The Washington Post has put together a piece on this that explains in detail

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/02/09/did-hillary-clinton-collude-with-the-russians-to-get-dirt-on-trump-to-feed-it-to-the-fbi/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c44ef568cefc

  18. wobblie
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    As I argued months ago, it is the obstruction of justice that will sink Trump.
    https://politicalwire.com/2018/07/31/mueller-has-evidence-trump-obstructed-justice/

    The whinning and crying of spoiled white men (I don’t believe that EOS is female) about HRC will not make a bit of difference. She is not under investigation, and has been cleared of any wrong doing. Pretending other wise is simply to get HW, EOS and the rest of the base fired up. After all the tax cuts sure have not helped the Republican election chances, nor has Trumps idiotic economic and foreign policy choices.

  19. wobblie
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The Democratic Primary will be hear soon. I know I will vote for Abdul. This is one of the reasons I will not be voting for Whitimer.
    https://theintercept.com/2018/07/18/michigan-governor-race-gretchen-whitmer-blue-cross/

  20. EOS
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Really, you guys need to turn off CNN and find a real news source. Just because MSM isn’t talking about it on a daily basis doesn’t mean we have forgotten about Obama’s and Clinton’s misdeeds. Who sold the uranium to Moscow? Who sold guns to Mexican cartels and Libyans and Syrians. Whose foundation received millions of big Pharma donations?

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    You didn’t say what part of what I said you think is a lie and why, Lynne. Quote your article if you want. I’m not paying for it.

  22. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    No whining or crying here. It is going to be you doing that soon though. The storm clouds have gathered. Can’t you hear the rumbling? Can’t you FEEL it? NXIVM (Clinton Global Initiative member) is already caught up in it. Look up 40 – 50,000 sealed indictments. What gives?

  23. Lynne
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    HW, fine. Here you go. I guess it is too much to expect YOU to fact check any of the bullshit you regularly regurgitate. EOS of course only thinks that news which doesn’t challenge the lies is valid. I imagine they watch a lot of Fox News. Possibly also Alex Jones.

    From the WAPO article I linked to earlier in response to HW’s claim: “Obama, Clinton, Clapper, Brennan and others colluded to defraud the American people with illegal spying based on false information from foreign sources to interfere with the Trump campaign”

    “The Clinton campaign, via a law firm, did seek “dirt” on Trump and Russia. Steele did rely on Russian sources, supposedly contacts mined from his years as a spy. Steele did actively seek to draw attention to what he had found, though virtually no reporters wrote about his allegations before the election because they could not confirm them. And the FBI did use Steele’s reports to help obtain a court order allowing surveillance of a Trump associate — but that was after Page had quit the campaign.

    For some, that may seem like a lot of smoke. But it’s a huge leap to say Clinton colluded with Russians to do this. Instead, you have (a) the campaign hiring (b) a research firm that hired (c) a researcher who spoke (d) to Russian sources. Steele, for his part, has suggested he tried to alert reporters and the FBI because he was appalled by what he had discovered. The closest connection to Clinton is the fact that Steele gave to the FBI material written by Clinton associates, but it’s unclear what the FBI did with that memo.”

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Did I say colluded with Russians, dork? The collusion is between each other to defraud the American people. Anyway how does Steele getting bogus information from Russians equal merely talking to them? That makes no sense.

  25. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Might as well just call it what it is: conspiracy to defraud the people and overthrow the elected government of the USA.

  26. Adam Schiff by proxy
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    The evolution of Trump on Russia:

    No meetings with any Russians.

    Ok, lots of low level meetings.

    Ok, high level meetings too, but about adoptions.

    Ok, not about adoptions, but Trump didn’t know.

    Ok, maybe he did, but no crime.

    Next?

    Ok, it’s a crime. Pardons for everyone!

  27. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Did Veselnitskaya meet with Fusion GPS around the time of the Trump Jr. meeting?

  28. anonymous
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Senator Jeff Merkley: “Let’s be 1000% clear: if you worked with a hostile foreign power during your election, it’s called TREASON.”

  29. Sad
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    HW you should really go over to Electablog.

    Please.

  30. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Senator Jeff Derpley thinks DJT worked with a hostile foreign power how? Clinton SOLD her power to approve the Uranium 1 sale to RUSSIA. 145 million to the Clinton Foundation in a three way deal to sell out our uranium. You people are wrong on a cosmic scale. How could someone BE so wrong? It’s insane.

  31. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what that is, Sad.

  32. Sad
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s another local blog with a whole bunch of really really liberal people you could educate.

    I think we’ve all got it.

    Google it.

  33. Sad
    Posted July 31, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Here, let me help you.

    https://www.eclectablog.com

  34. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    You think you’ve got it, huh? Wait till you really get it hahahaha!!!

  35. site admin
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    If you folks are serious, I could reach out to Chris and see if we might be able to set up a troll-sharing program.

  36. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Send Iron Lung then. I have always been sincere.

  37. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Site admin,

    Please note: You are suggesting mm.com has a troll problem in the comments section of a post,that has a headline, which can be proven counter-factual, within ten seconds, by anyone who has access to the internet.

  38. Jcp2
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, if it’s on the internet, it must be true.

  39. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Oddball comment again JCP2.

    Are you saying there are things on the internet that are not true? If so, cool, start acting like it, starting with the headline of this post.

    Get back to us when you have finished your research, Sherlock. You should have your answer within 10 or 20 seconds.

  40. anonimal
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    @FF
    How is the headline a lie? In the video below, he literally says that verbatim. Giuliani is a lawyer, it is his job to know exactly what he’s saying 24/7. That’s what he’s doing.

    https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/07/30/rudy-giuliani-fox-news-collusion.html

  41. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    The idea that he is “moving the goal posts just now” is not true. As I said above I was reading a huff post article reporting that Giuliani’s “new stance” is that collusion is not a crime. The article I am referring to was written in May.

  42. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Also, I don’t think Mark was lying. I do find it odd that a lot of media sources ran with this little narrative all at once when it had an obviously counter factual element within it that is central to the story being told…

  43. Anonimal
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Lol, so your point is that they moved the goal posts 2 months ago. That’s a legalistic read

  44. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see why that is funny.

    What are these “goal posts” Mark is talking about. Is the left hoping to score a political point by showing Trump did something unseemly? No. The “goal”,from a specific perspective, is to expose illegal activity that might lead toward impeachment. I think part of the dynamic giving life to the “story” is to show Trump is like a desperate cheater, at the end of a game, which he knows he is about to lose….The supposed sudden change in Giulliani’s position is trying express that dynamic, imo. Which is fine, except it is not true.

    Why the lol?

  45. Sad
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    A troll sharing would be great. Nobody hardly ever comments on Electablog. They might enjoy it? LOL

  46. anonimal
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    The goal post is the one that Donald Trump has set. He’s like a drunk idiot screaming “free bird” every concert he goes to, but instead shouting “There was no collusion”, despite never being asked about it. His performance at the Putin summit was as cringeworthy as a best man using his speech as a chance to only discuss himself.

    Donald Trump drew a line, dug a trench, and split the earth at “There was no collusion”. That is the goal post because Trump put it there.

    What is funny, is that you seemed to quibble about the timing. The issue here isn’t the timing, but whether the Trump campaign, and Trump himself, coordinated with an enemy to illegally access hilary clinton’s emails and spread disinformation online. Their answer to this is, well, we met with the russians to discuss the idea, but never followed through. Pretty sure that’s still collusion, since the ruski’s ended up doing it.

  47. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Never being asked about it? What the hell are you talking about? There’s an investigation into alleged collusion but somehow you don’t know that or you are pretending not to to make a stupid point.

    When did anyone from the Trump campaign say they met to discuss hacking Hillary’s emails? Are you out of your mind?

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Why would Trump set the goals up in such a way that the other team wins by proving something less than illegality? That would makes no sense. Likewise, why would Trump’s opposition set up the goals in such a way that winning is achieved by proving Trump did something merely unseemly but not illegal. That also makes no sense.

    Trump will continue saying “no collusion”, I think he is just using the phrase to say he did not do any illegal coordination. Actual illegal coordination is what we are trying to determine obviously. Also, the timing of Gulliani’s statements has no bearing on whether or not Trump did illegally coordinate, that should be obvious.

    The “changing of the goal post narrative” depends on ignoring an easily knowable fact. I am not trying to say the investigation is a fraud because Gulliani said “collusion is not a crime” as far back as May. I am saying the little narrative presented here is undermined by its reliance on a falsety.

    I am not expecting to change the course of the investigation by pointing out that falsety….I am throwing shade on the little narrative presented here and rightfully so, I think.

  49. Posted August 1, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    My letter to Chris Savage of Eclectablog. I’ll let you know if he answers.

    “Chris, it was suggested on my site today that I transfer a few of my more vocal pro-Trump commenters over to Eclectablog. While I’m hesitant to give up any of my regular readers, it strikes me that an exchange program could be interesting. Do you have a right wing conspiracy theorist that you’d be willing to swap for a week or two?”

    Assuming he’s up for it, who should we send over?

  50. Sad
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Since FF and HW are working as a tag team could they both go?

  51. Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    What, and leave EOS all alone?

  52. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I would be willing to sign up for a self imposed 1 week break, if that is desired by Mark or anyone actually. Just say the word. “The hostile takeover”, as Jean called it, was very boring and tedious. It consisted of asking people questions.

    Questions.

  53. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    You guys drive a tough bargain. How about a 2 week break?

  54. Sad
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Sure. Why not?

  55. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Ok.

  56. Posted August 1, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I actually like people talking here, and debating things. But, if people want to go exploring elsewhere, I’d be up for it, just so long as they promise to come back and share what they’ve learned.

    I just head back from Chris Savage. It looks like he doesn’t have anyone to give us in return, but he says he’s willing to sponsor one of our folks for a while, should anyone want to head over.

    Here’s his response, if anyone is up for the challenge.

    “I have a surprising dearth of trolls at Eclectablog. I have no idea why. Send ‘em over. My regular commenters will eat them for lunch.”

    Sounds like a challenge!

    If anyone does head over, be sure to identify yourself as an exchange student from Maynardland.

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