Rudy Giuliani turned heads on Monday when he twice offered the claim that collusion isn’t a crime as a possible legal defense for his client, President Donald Trump.
Giuliani’s claim was based in a strict reading of the U.S. Code, where no law explicitly forbids collusion.
“I’ve been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime,” Giuliani said on “Fox & Friends.”
But critics were quick to point out that Giuliani was missing a larger point — the act of colluding with a foreign government to gain an advantage in an election could be in violation of other laws.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) drove that point home with a Twitter video on Wednesday, cracking open a copy of the U.S. Code for himself.
“I’ve recently noticed that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has been publicly saying that collusion isn’t illegal, that he can’t find it in the codebooks, and I just wanted to offer my advice,” Coons said.
Watch the video below:
I’ve been hearing @realDonaldTrump and @RudyGiuliani claiming that ‘collusion is not a crime.’ Well, I took the liberty of reading the U.S. code myself. Here’s what the law actually says: pic.twitter.com/qW2GPxuDdC
— Senator Chris Coons (@ChrisCoons) August 1, 2018
Coons cited 52 U.S. Code § 30121 to make his argument.
“It says, ‘It shall be unlawful for a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, in connection with a federal, state, or local election,” he said.
“It seems pretty clear to me that anything like a treasure trove of thousands of hacked emails, that is a thing of value, being solicited, accepted by an American campaign from Russian nationals would be a clear violation of U.S. Code,” Coons explained. “And actions to work together with Russian nationals to subvert our code would be illegal collusion.”
Coons ended his message with a word of advice to president’s lead lawyer.
“My advice to Mr. Giuliani would be instead of arguing that it isn’t illegal, to advise his client to cooperate fully with the Mueller investigation and the hope and expectation that if he is innocent, he will be fully cleared,” he added. “And if not, federal laws will be enforced.”