WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed on Twitter that “collusion is not a crime,” echoing an argument made a day earlier by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani that several legal analysts have pushed back against.
Trump, in a flurry of Tuesday morning tweets that also took aim at the powerful Republican fundraising duo, the Koch brothers, reiterated his stance that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.
“Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!" Trump tweeted, offering no evidence of alleged collusion between Clinton, the Democrats and Russian operatives. Clinton and the DNC were the targets of a Russian-backed hacking operation that released critical campaign emails in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.
Trump and Giuliani’s contention comes as both continue to assail special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and purported ties to the Trump campaign. Their latest argument comes amid recent reports that Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen is willing to testify before Mueller that Trump had prior knowledge of a 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving his eldest son, campaign aides and a Russian attorney offering damaging materials on Clinton. Trump has long said he was unaware of the meeting.
An August 2017 Department of Justice memo outlining Mueller’s authority in the Russia investigation indicates that acts tied to “colluding with Russian government officials” could lead to other charges such as conspiracy or election fraud.
While Giuliani has argued that he could not find “collusion as a crime” under the federal code, Chuck Rosenberg, a former FBI chief of staff, speaking on MSNBC on Tuesday, said, “Collusion is a crime. We just happen to call it something else, we call it conspiracy, but it is absolutely a crime.”
The president kicked off his morning with a pair of pre-dawn tweets criticizing billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch, calling them a “total joke” and “overrated,” after Charles Koch raised concerns about Trump’s economic and immigration policies during a summit with deep-pocketed Conservative donors this past weekend.
“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,” Trump tweeted. “I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas. They love my Tax & Regulation Cuts, Judicial picks & more.”
Trump followed up in a second tweet saying he made “them richer. Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn. They want to protect their companies outside the U.S. from being taxed, I’m for America First & the American Worker -- a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!”
The Kochs withheld their financial support from Trump during the 2016 campaign, and last Sunday Charles Koch told reporters at his Colorado Springs summit of donors, that the network of nearly 700 contributors would be willing to break from solely backing Republican candidates in the interest of moving “toward a society...where everybody has the opportunity to realize their full potential."