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Christopher "Tanoro" Gray is a web programmer and science advocate especially concerned with resource management technologies, biology, and artificial intelligence. He is a student of epistemology and philosophy as well as an Atheist competent in Christian theology.
HOME > View Blog  >  Collusion is not a Crime -- But...
Collusion is not a Crime -- But...
Posted by: Tanoro - Jul 31, 2018 4:03PM

Rudy Giuliani is in the news this week addressing Donald Trump's knowledge of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with persons representing the Russian government. Personally, I can't imagine why he even goes on television to address this issue as it risks incriminating Donald Trump by saying the wrong things -- like implying there were actually two meetings on Fox News' Outnumbered. In any case, he is categorically on-record that collusion didn't happen and it wouldn't be a crime if it did. He is partially right. "Collusion" is not a word with any legal significance, so let's put the colloquialism down and discuss what laws apply here.

Federal election laws prohibit, "foreign nationals from contributing any 'thing of value' to an electoral campaign." If you are caught conspiring with foreign nationals for political advantage, you've committed a felony. Worse than that, lying to the federal government in covering up such behaviors elevates the severity of the crime. The reason for this prohibition does not take an I.Q. of 160. We don't want our elected officials beholden to foreign governments.

Let's review what we know about the Trump campaign and its involvement with Russia:

  1. We know one or more meetings between Trump campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government took place in Trump Tower during the campaign.
  2. We know the subject of one meeting was pre-arranged to transmit politically damaging information on Hillary Clinton intended to aid Trump in winning the election.
  3. We know Donald Trump Jr. participated in arranging this meeting because he willingly posted the e-mails on Twitter.
  4. We know Donald Trump Jr. attended this meeting with Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and other central members of the Trump campaign.
  5. Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, has stated on-record that Donald Trump knew of this meeting and pre-approved it taking place.

Conversely, we do not know if Donald Trump personally attended any such meetings and it doesn't matter if he didn't. So what's the potential damage from a legal point of view?

  1. 18 USC 2 - Aiding and abetting. This would apply if Donald Trump's campaign were found to be reciprocating any assistance to the Russian government. For example, if Donald Trump returned the favor by showing Russia any kind of political favoritism within the scope of U.S. policy. At present, I have no hard evidence available to me of this.
  2. 18 USC 1343/1030 - Wire Fraud/Fraud and related activity in connection with computers. This would apply if it were discovered that the Trump campaign put Russia up to hacking the DNC e-mail server.
  3. 52 USC 30121 - Contributions and donations by foreign nationals. Knowingly accepting any kind of help from foreign nationals with your campaign is a crime. It doesn't matter if Donald Trump was in the meeting. If he knew about the meeting, he is among the offenders. Worse than that, there is evidence he personally approved it.
  4. 18 USC 2381 - Treason -- adhering to political enemies in an act of war. This is a tricky one. If it comes to light that Russia did, in fact, attempt to penetrate the 2016 election, it may viewed as an act of war. This may escalate any potential violations of 18 USC 2 to acts of treason.
  5. 18 USC 371 - Conspiracy to violate any of the above. Members of the Donald Trump campaign have repeatedly denied any and all such allegations.

If you're a Trump supporter, there is cause to be worried.

This blog is an editorial and contains only the opinions of the author. The author claims no expertise on most topics of discussion and this blog is not to be cited as an alternative for properly vetted journalism or scientific sources.

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