Aaron Blake explains how President Trump's legal team have seized on the ambiguous term "collusion" to set up their ultimate strategy for getting him off the hook for criminal activity:
Rudolph W. Giuliani went on TV and blurted out the Trump team's Russia investigation strategy this weekend.
“It is for public opinion,” Giuliani said on CNN, “because, eventually, the decision here is going to be impeach/not impeach. Members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, are going to be informed a lot by their constituents. So, our jury is the American — as it should be — is the American people.”
Basically, the word “collusion” isn't in the applicable criminal code; that's technically true. But the Justice Department has used the term in its own filings in Robert S. Mueller III's probe, and it's something of a blanket term that encompasses several potential crimes such as conspiracy, public corruption and coercion. Assisting a foreign power in influencing a U.S. election may not typically be called “collusion,” but it's almost certainly illegal. The media have used a somewhat generic, umbrella term in the absence of a specific, known and provable offense, and Trump and Co. have (rather smartly, I would argue) seized upon its vagueness to set the goal posts at “collusion.”
If Mueller does use the term “collusion” in his report, the argument will be: “But it's not even a crime!” Conversely, if he doesn't charge people with “collusion” but instead one of those other crimes, the argument will be: “They couldn't prove collusion, so they picked another crime!”
However it turns out, the defense will be built-in, and there will be plenty for GOP voters and lawmakers who use it to argue that the whole thing is a “witch hunt” — regardless of whether real crimes are involved.
Blake also cites a report that Trump supporters already believe the investigation is bogus, notwithstanding (a) actual convictions for actual crimes, and (b) that finding out whether the President of the United States shared information with a hostile foreign power is in everyone's interest.
We really, really need to take back the House in November, even if all we can do with the majority is get all this administration's malfeasance out into the open.