The Trump team’s defenses against the Russia scandal took a new turn recently with U.S. President Donald Trump himself and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani claiming collusion to not be a crime at all. (It is.)
That false claim is slowly but surely being incorporated into the Trump team’s broader platform, including via some new tweets from the president this Wednesday.
In the past, the president and his allies have wrongly claimed that it’s the Democrats who should be nabbed for collusion with the Russians. Now, they’re still hanging onto that false claim, but now they’re turning it into supposed evidence for Trump team collusion being legally irrelevant. After all, they claim, Hillary isn’t in jail, so why should Trump be legally scrutinized at all?
It’s a rhetorical rabbit hole, but it’s what the president of the United States has jumped into.
Wednesday, he wrote on Twitter:
‘“We already have a smoking gun about a campaign getting dirt on their opponent, it was Hillary Clinton. How is it OK for Hillary Clinton to proactively seek dirt from the Russians but the Trump campaign met at the Russians request and that is bad?” Marc Thiessen, Washington Post’
Hillary Clinton did not proactively seek dirt from the Russians.
The claim Trump shares in his Twitter post centers on the infamous Steele dossier, a collection of memos summarizing conversations former British spy Christopher Steele had with some Russian sources. Steele was working at the direction of Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Clinton campaign to produce opposition research on Trump. The Clinton campaign picked up the tab for the research after some Republicans had carried the firm’s work through the GOP presidential primary season.
Once that transfer of direction occurred, Fusion GPS — not the Clinton campaign itself — hired Steele. The former spy did not assist in a Russian government effort to change the outcome of the 2016 presidential election; he simply spoke to some Russian sources. Once he stumbled across the info that forms the core of the dossier, he sought to alert anyone he could, including via the FBI and the media. He didn’t try and hide it or secretly incorporate the info into Clinton campaign work.
That’s different from what happened between the Trump team and Russia. The point isn’t that Trump associates happened to talk to some people who happened to be Russian. The point is that they maintained contact with Russian government officials who were connected to an official scheme inside the Kremlin to tip the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. To top it all off, Trump & friends have lied about their Russia connections time and time again.
That’s a brief summary, but it sums it up. It’s Donald Trump Jr. and no one inside the Clinton camp who, when presented with the opportunity to get dirt from the Russian government on his side’s opponent exclaimed “I love it.” No tweet can erase the meeting he had with a Russian government lawyer or any of the other communications Trump associates had with Russian interests.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot