Speed Reads

explainers

Is colluding with Russia a crime? CNN's Chris Cuomo explains why that isn't the right question.

"Tricky when something can be true and untrue at the same time, and yet both aspects of it matter," Chris Cuomo said on CNN Tuesday night, alongside his whiteboard. He played Rudy Giuliani, speaking Monday in his role as President Trump's lawyer, saying that collusion isn't a crime. "Rudy's right — collusion is not a statutory crime under the federal code, in this context," Cuomo explained, but that's "a distinction without a difference." With Trump, "the key is the behavior, not the word," collusion.

"If it were to be proven that Trump or any of his people were doing what amounts to collusion with any of those who were intent on interfering in our democracy, there's plenty of potential criminal exposure, because the behavior would be criminal," Cuomo said, putting his law degree to good use by listing several relevant statues in the "family" of collusion and explaining how they could land Trump or his allies in legal hot water.

So, Cuomo said, you can safely ignore the new Trump team talking about collusion not being a crime. At the same time, if Trump or any of his people are indicted for collusion-related crimes, he cautioned, the burden of proof is on federal prosecutors.