For two years, CNN has committed more air time to the Trump collusion story than they have to the tax bill, ISIS, and job creation combined. One reporter calls this the “story of the century.” And it’s true that the president’s son met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of securing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. But does that mean Trump colluded with Russia? And even if he did, is that a crime? Let’s consider the opinions of leading legal experts, including famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz.
William Jeffress, the attorney who defended Scooter Libby, writes, “If the Trump campaign conspired with or assisted the Russians in hacking the emails of John Podesta or the Democratic National Committee, the crime is clear. But beyond that, it is anything but clear. We do not have a federal statute punishing corrupt efforts to influence an election, unless done by particular prohibited acts such as vote buying or illegal political contributions.”
The whole collusion “scandal” is considered a “nothing burger” by Saikrishna Prakash, distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia. He writes, “There are tidbits worth investigating here. For one, why did the convener of the meeting (with Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer) say the meeting was ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump?’ After all, the lawyer from Russia now claims she is not a government lawyer. But I don’t think this really amounts to much, at least as a legal matter. ‘Collusion’ is not a cognizable federal offense. Politicians seek dirt on other candidates – the dirtier the better. That is what opposition research is all about.”
Samuel Bell, Duke law professor, says simply, “Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing.”
But I find the words of famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz to be the most compelling, both on the merits of his argument and the credibility of the source. Dershowitz, who is an unapologetic liberal Democrat, is emeritus professor of law at Harvard University.
Dershowitz writes, “Which criminal statutes, if any, would be violated by collusion between a campaign and a foreign government, if collusion were to be proved? Unless there is a clear violation of an existing criminal statute, there would be no crime. Obviously, if anyone conspired in advance with another to commit a crime, such as hacking the Democratic National Committee, that would be criminal. But merely seeking to obtain the work product of a prior hack would be no more criminal than a newspaper publishing the work products of thefts such as the Pentagon Papers and the material stolen by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. That is why the entire issue of alleged collusion with, and interference by, the Russians should be investigated openly by an independent nonpartisan commission, rather than by a prosecutor behind the closed doors of a grand jury.”
Let’s return to our foundational question. Even if President Trump is guilty of collusion, is it even a crime? The short answer is “no.” The long answer is: “No, but as long as Trump opponents can keep the story going, in an effort to sidetrack legislative progress, they will.”
Democrat Adam Schiff has claimed, for two years, that there is “strong evidence” for collusion. But when he does a rare interview with any news outlets that are not strongly anti-Trump, he has yet to produce one piece of evidence to support his claim.
So this is where we stand. President Trump has been accused of a crime that a) is not a crime, and b) has zero evidence that it even happened.
And this – for mainstream media outlets – is the “story of the century.” Such an assertion can only be explained in one of two ways. Either a) the media is driven by its desire to get Trump, regardless of the evidence, or b) we are having a really boring century.