President Donald Trump gave a rare interview to The New York Times with no aides present and falsely insisted that “even if there was” collusion between his campaign and Russia it is “not a crime.”
Trump gave an unfiltered, impromptu interview to Times reporter Michael Schmidt at Mar-a-Lago with no White House officials to steer the conversation away from potential landmines. Much of the interview was incoherent babble, but Trump made it a point to claim that there was “no collusion” more than a dozen times in the interview.
But “even if there was,” he said, “it’s not a crime.”
“I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, ‘No. 1, there is no collusion,’ ‘No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion,’ and he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times,” Trump said.
“There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime but there’s no collusion,” he added.
It’s true that there is no crime called “collusion,” but if there was “collusion” it would not not be a crime, it would be charged as conspiracy.
In fact, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were both charged with conspiracy against the United States, though that was in relation to a conspiracy to defraud the government through money laundering.
Collusion is very much a crime. It’s like saying there’s no crime against “killing.” Right, but there is against “murder.”
Furthermore, even if there was no collusion, the president could still be charged for obstruction of justice for interfering with the investigation into whether there was collusion.
Moreover, some legal experts have suggested that Trump’s tweets and statements amount to witness intimidation or tampering, another potential charge that Mueller could bring whether or not there was collusion.
Trump repeated that there was “no collusion” 16 times in the interview, and insisted that the allegations were made up by Democrats “as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election.”
“I actually think it’s turning to the Democrats because there was collusion on behalf of the Democrats,” Trump said, falsely.
Trump also lamented that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe and can’t protect him.
It’s “too bad,” Trump said, adding that former Attorney General Eric Holder “totally protected” Obama, something he has “great respect for.”
And Trump appears to be buying his own BS even if no one else is.
He told The Times that he thinks that Mueller 1) will be fair, 2) will end the investigation soon, and 3) will find that there was no collusion.
“I think that Bob Mueller will be fair, and everybody knows that there was no collusion,” he said.
He added that he hopes the probe will end soon because it makes the United States “look very bad.”
“It puts the country in a very bad position, so the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country,” he said.
He also predicted he will win reelection in 2020 and the press will cover him more fairly because they don’t want him to lose.
“Six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump,'” he said.