Rudy Giuliani On The Russian Collusion: So What? It’s Not Illegal

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“OK, and if it is, it isn’t illegal... It was sort of like a gift,” he said. “And you’re not involved in the illegality of getting it.”

 

President Donald Trump’s addition to his legal team, Rudy Giuliani, is a gift that keeps on giving.

Notorious for poorly thought-out interviews, the former New York mayor has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons ever since he admitted Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen for the hush money he paid to adult actress Stormy Daniels over her affair with then-presidential candidate, a statement that his client had previously denied.

And it seems he has contradicted his most high-profile client once again.

After Trump spent months maintaining there was “no collusion” with Russia and recently went on elaborate Twitter rants about how the Russian investigation, headed by Robert Mueller, is a “WITCH HUNT,” Giuliani has taken a new approach to it: so what if he did?

In a recent interview with Huffington Post, Giuliani initially said there was no collusion when he was asked why Trump repeatedly cited WikiLeaks and emails allegedly stolen by Russia to turn the polls in favor of then-candidate Trump.

However, later he completely changed his stance.

“OK, and if it is, it isn’t illegal... It was sort of like a gift,” he said. “And you’re not involved in the illegality of getting it.”

In a joint statement in October 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security concluded the information from WikiLeaks was, in fact, Russian efforts to derail the transparency of the U.S. election process.

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow—the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement read.

However, then-GOP candidate Trump did not pay any attention to the statement and soon started sharing emails stolen from the Clinton campaign.

“WikiLeaks! I love WikiLeaks,” Trump told an audience in Pennsylvania.

“It’s just the latest evidence of the hatred that the Clinton campaign really has for everyday Americans and you see, and you see so much from these WikiLeaks,” Trump said in Panama City, Florida.

“I’ll tell you, this WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable,” Trump said in Ocala, Florida. “It tells you the inner heart. You’ve got to read it and you’ve got to maybe get it, because they’re not putting it out.”

All of these statements were made mere days after the U.S. Intelligence statement of Russia’s involvement in the hacking.

Giuliani, himself, cited WikiLeaks in an interview with CBS in 2016, just a couple of days after the statement.

According to Politifact, Trump cited documents stolen through WikiLeaks more than 160 times during his last month of campaign.

In his recent interview with HuffPost, Giuliani still doubted the authenticity of the findings in the statement released by the U.S. intelligence in 2016.

“You say stolen. I say, emails that were put out in the public domain,” Giuliani said. “You’d also have to believe that U.S. intelligence was correct. They’ve been right about a lot of things. They’ve been wrong about a lot of things. I certainly wouldn’t trust Clapper or Brennan as far as I could throw them.”

A similar position was taken by Trump during his presidential campaign.

“She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking,” Trump said of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. “Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia.”

In January 2017, the U.S. Intelligence community went public with findings that not only corroborated with the U.S. Intelligence and DHS statement from 2016 but also added the intent of the Russian hacking was to get Trump elected as president.

And even though, Giuliani does not think using the “gift” from Russia constitutes of “collusion,” other lawmakers disagree.

“Those are simply the facts,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence committee. “So, Mr. Giuliani could not be more wrong. Make no mistake, these are dangerous efforts aimed at distracting us from the truth and they have the chilling effect of dismissing the seriousness of the Russian threat.”

Former acting CIA Director John McLaughlin shared similar views.

“Giuliani is just wrong on that point,” he said. “Either Trump simply didn’t care that this material came from the Russians, or was so foolish and naïve to think that it was OK to use it, or, and it’s a big ‘or,’ that he did so knowing full well that he was cooperating with the Russians.”

What’s also ironic is despite constantly using "leaked” information during his presidential campaign, Trump has now come to think of his own White House leakers as unreliable and “cowards.”

Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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