The Relevance Of The ‘Collusion With Russia Isn’t A Crime’ Argument

Jonah, I imagine I was one of the first commentators to posit the argument that “collusion with Russia” (without further defining what ‘collusion’ means) isn’t a crime. There are two reasons why the argument remains relevant. Although it could be argued that one is moot, I don’t think it is, for reasons I’ll get to.

It’s interesting that we are seeing the argument pop up more often now. When I first advanced it, there was a very specific purpose. The federal regulations governing when (a) a “special counsel” should be appointed, and (b) a Justice Department lawyer (including the attorney general) is disqualified from participation in a matter, do not apply unless conduct occurs that warrants a criminal investigation – i.e., there needs to be a crime. Because special counsels (or their precursors, special prosecutors and independent counsels) can so undermine an administration’s capacity to govern, I was arguing that, in the absence of some solid evidence that a crime had been committed, there was no basis in law to appoint one.

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