On Monday morning, the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, completely shifted course in his defensive narrative regarding his client and the looming conclusion of the Robert Mueller investigation, moving the goalposts so far back they’re on an entirely different playing field.
In a very, very telling appearance on the president’s favorite show, FOX & Friends, Giuliani announced that he had been over and over the legal code and had discovered that collusion is not a crime.
“I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime… Collusion is not a crime.”
President Donald Trump and many senior members of his 2016 election campaign are accused of colluding with agents of the Russian Federation in order to tilt the election in his favor through an elaborate hacking and electronic disinformation campaign.
The Trump team’s defenses have consistently evolved as new evidence against them emerges, and now it looks like we’re finally at the stage where we go from “there was NO COLLUSION” — a phrase Trump has repeated over and over again, most recently as of yesterday — to “there was collusion but it’s not illegal.”
Giuliani went on to suggest that members of the Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia, but the president himself wasn’t involved in it.
GIULIANI hints at the Trump campaign colluding with Russia: "They have have colluded… but [the president] wasn't involved in it." pic.twitter.com/Ckbc7vlYAx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2018
That possibility is a disturbing one indeed. Donald Trump is notorious for his lack of filter and his tendency to impulsively blurt out whatever comes to mind, meaning his team may have concealed the details of the collusion from the candidate himself, knowing that he might have decided to broadcast their wrongdoing for the world to see at one of his rallies.
Nevertheless, the backtracking from Giuliani represents a significant shift in the story the Trump team is trying to sell the public — and the entire thing simply reeks of guilt. After a year and a half of the president repeating “no collusion!” over and over again, the sudden switch to “perhaps there was some collusion but it’s not illegal” means that they know their goose is cooked, and we doubt Special Counsel Mueller is going to be so generous in his assessment of wrongdoing as Giuliani is.