Trump’s ‘no collusion’ claims unravelling

Donald Trump and his supporters have adamantly claimed there was ‘no collision’ between his campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 US election, but that is unravelling. One of Trump’s got to media spokespeople has shifted the goal posts substantially, now saying there was no collusion just by Trump himself.

Even if Trump was not directly involved with Russian collusion, if his campaign manager, fixit lawyer, son, daughter or son-in-law were colluding during his campaign it would not be credible to claim he knew nothing about it.

For some reason CNN was used to walk back the ‘no collusion’ claim

CNN – Rudy Giuliani just totally contradicted 18 months of ‘no collusion’ talk from Donald Trump

If you know anything about the White House’s reaction to the ongoing special counsel probe into Russia interference in the 2016 election, it’s these two words: “No collusion.”

Trump, as well as his top aides — everyone from senior counselor Kellyanne Conway to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders — has insisted since the start of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation in spring 2017 that no one in the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to help his candidacy and hurt that of Hillary Clinton. In a single answer to a question about the Mueller probe last January, for example, Trump unleashed an epic seven(!) “no collusion” assertions. Here’s just a piece of that (bolding mine):
“Well, again John, there has been no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians or Trump and Russians. No collusion. When I watch you interviewing all the people leaving their committees, I mean, the Democrats are all running for office, trying to say this that — but bottom line, they all say there’s no collusion. And there is no collusion.”
Trump’s Twitter feed, too, is choked with “no collusion” talk. According to the indispensable Trump Twitter Archive, Trump has tweeted the words “no collusion” 60 separate times, with the first coming on May 12, 2017 and the most recent happening on January 6.

All of which brings me to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night. And these lines from Giuliani, in particular:

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign. I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.

But it looks like straight out bullshitting about what he ‘never said’. On Fox News in July 2018:

Fox News’ Guy Benson: “Regardless of whether collusion would be a crime, is it still the position of you and your client that there was no collusion with the Russians whatsoever on behalf of the Trump campaign?”

Giuliani: “Correct.”

This repositioning of ‘no collusion’ claims looks to be forced by what is now known.

When Giuliani started claiming that there was “no collusion” between the campaign and the Russians, we didn’t know that campaign chairman Paul Manafort had not only met with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russia with ties to the country’s intelligence service, but had shared polling data on the 2016 race. Or that Kilimnik is a focus of Mueller’s probe.

And it appears that Mueller has already written a draft report on his inquiry into collusion. It looks like Giuliani is trying to distance Trump himself from what may be revealed.

If, say, Mueller finds collusion but not by Trump, the President and Giuliani will now say: We told you! No collusion between Trump and the Russians. This is all one big witch hunt! Mueller didn’t find anything.

If Trump could maintain some level of credibility with his base, it would make it that much harder for GOP lawmakers — especially in the Senate — to turn on him in impeachment proceedings.

None of that, however, should excuse what Giuliani was up to on Wednesday night. He was purposely trying to rewrite the history of his defense of the President of the United States in an ongoing investigation into how Russia sought to influence a national election on US soil.

And it is unlikely Giuliani is doing this without Trump being in on the ‘adjusted claim’.

One of those causing problems for Trump’s claims of co collusion is his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, now convicted of lying to Congress.

Buzzfeed:  President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project

President Donald Trump directed his longtime attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter.

Trump also supported a plan, set up by Cohen, to visit Russia during the presidential campaign, in order to personally meet President Vladimir Putin and jump-start the tower negotiations. “Make it happen,” the sources said Trump told Cohen.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying about the deal in testimony and in a two-page statement to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special counsel Robert Mueller noted that Cohen’s false claim that the project ended in January 2016 was an attempt to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1” — widely understood to be Trump — “in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”

Now the two sources have told BuzzFeed News that Cohen also told the special counsel that after the election, the president personally instructed him to lie — by claiming that negotiations ended months earlier than they actually did — in order to obscure Trump’s involvement.

Cohen admitting being involved with collusion with Russia blows the ‘no campaign collusion’ denials out of the water.

The standard Trump response is to attack and try to discredit anyone threatening him. And that’s what is happening here.

If you believe Giuliani…