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Giuliani: Trump ‘did not participate’ in June 2016 Trump Tower meeting

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Rudy Giuliani
Rudy
Giuliani.

Screenshot/CNN

  • President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy
    Giuliani said Monday that “collusion is not a crime.”
  • He also said “the hacking is the real crime” and Trump
    “didn’t pay” the Russians “for hacking.”

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said in
a pair of Monday morning interviews that he was at a loss for how
colluding with the Russians would be categorized as a crime.
Instead, he shifted the conversation by noting that the president
did not “pay them for hacking,” which he said was the real
offense.

Speaking with the “Fox and
Friends” morning show, Giuliani said he has “been sitting here
looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime.”

“Collusion is not a crime,” he said, adding the the president is
“absolutely innocent.”

Then in a discussion with CNN’s “New Day,” Giuliani said if you
“start analyzing the crime, the hacking is the crime.”

“The president didn’t hack,” Giuliani said. “He didn’t pay them
for hacking. If you got the hacked information from the Russians
here at CNN and you played it, would you be in jeopardy of going
to jail? Of course not.”

Giuliani’s comments came a day after Trump attacked the special
counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with investigating Russian
interference in the 2016 presidential election, on Twitter. Trump said there
was “No Collusion!” and added that Mueller’s “rigged witch hunt”
was “an illegal Scam!”

The remarks also followed CNN’s Thursday
report
that Trump’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is
willing to tell Mueller that Trump approved the controversial
June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and top Trump
campaign officials, which would contradict past denials from
Trump.

Cohen is under criminal investigation and recently released an
audio tape he made in September 2016 in
which
he and Trump discussed buying the rights to the
story of a
former Playboy model.


Michael Cohen and Donald Trump
Michael Cohen and Donald
Trump.

Jonathan
Ernst/Reuters


According to CNN, Cohen alleges he was present along with others
when Trump was informed of the Russians’ offer  that the
president signed off on the idea to meet with them. CNN’s sources
said Cohen does not have hard evidence to back up his claims.
Cohen last year testified to two congressional committees on
Russian election interference and did not say that Trump had
advance knowledge of the meeting, a source told CNN.

After that report, Giuliani spent days blasting Cohen’s
credibility, saying “he’s lied all his life.” On Friday, Trump
tweeted he “did NOT know of
the meeting with my son, Don jr.”

During his Monday interviews, Giuliani continued to question
Cohen’s credibility and said the president “did not participate”
in the meeting with the Russians.

Giuliani told CNN he was “happy to tell” Mueller that Trump
“wasn’t at the meeting.” Giuliani added that other individuals
who could corroborate Cohen’s account would not do so, charging
that Cohen is making these claims now because he feels the
criminal investigation closing in on him.

On Giuliani’s claim that collusion is not a crime, Fordham
University law professor Jed Shugerman wrote in Slate that while
Trump approving of the meeting would not be in and of itself
incriminating, subsequent conduct could point to a conspiracy to
defraud the US or obstruction of justice. Any such conduct could
be prosecuted, he wrote.

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