We didn’t do it, Antifa did it, but if we did do it, it was the right thing to do

Rudy Giuliani Contradicts Trump on Collusion: A Closer Look

Seth takes a closer look at the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, basically admitting that Trump’s campaign might have colluded with Russia.

Giuliani says that he and the President never denied collusion but Seth Myers has a whole series of videos proving otherwise.

Trump acknowledges, defends 2016 meeting between son, Kremlin-aligned lawyer

While “collusion” is not mentioned in U.S. criminal statutes, Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump coordinated with the Russians, which could result in criminal charges if they entered into a conspiracy to break the law, including through cyberhacking or interfering with the election.

.. He concluded by further distancing himself from the meeting his son arranged, writing, “I did not know about it!”

.. On Sunday, one of the president’s attorneys defended the 2016 meeting as something that would not have been illegal under any federal statute.

“The question is: How would it be illegal?” Jay Sekulow asked on ABC News’s “This Week,” sug­gesting that there are no laws prohibiting campaign operatives from meeting and working with foreign agents. “Nobody’s pointed to one.”

.. The president’s attorneys at first denied Trump’s involvement in drafting the response to the Times, but months later, in a letter intended to explain why Mueller should not interview Trump, they agreed that the president had, in fact, been the author of the statement.

.. They described the statement, which had not mentioned that the Russian lawyer was expected to bring damaging information about Clinton, as “short but accurate.”

And they said Trump Jr., Kushner and White House staffers had made a “full disclosure” about that session to Mueller and Congress.

Trump campaign paid firm of lawyer representing Trump Jr. before emails were made public

President Trump’s campaign committee made a payment to the law firm of an attorney representing Donald Trump Jr. last month, nearly two weeks before it was announced that the same attorney would be representing the president’s son in Russia-related probes, according to a campaign finance report filed Saturday.

The committee reported in the filing to the Federal Election Commission that it paid $50,000 to the law firm of attorney Alan Futerfas on June 27. That payment was made 13 days before it was publicly revealed that Futerfas would represent Trump’s eldest son in the Russia investigations.

.. The filing also revealed that the campaign committee paid the Trump Corporation — a company being run by Trump Jr. and his brother Eric — more than $89,000 on June 30 for “legal consulting.” While the campaign committee has reimbursed Trump entities for services such as rent, air travel and hotel expenses in the past, it has not reported payments for legal fees, according to Federal Election Commission data.

.. Trump Jr. had previously said he held no meetings with Russians while “representing the campaign in any way, shape or form,” and he called the suggestion that Russia was attempting to help his father’s presidential campaign “disgusting.”

.. Futerfas has said the meeting was insignificant, telling The Washington Post on Friday that it was difficult to recall who attended that gathering because it was unimportant and too much time had passed.

.. “The frustrating part of all this for me is that this meeting occurred 13 months ago,” he said. “There is no record, no list of who was there. It was not a memorable meeting for anyone. Now, 13 months later, everyone expects we should have a perfect recollection.”

Trust Nothing, Defend Nothing

The Democrats are clearly in full partisan mode, framing every inconvenient, benign, or even potentially exculpatory detail as a smoking gun. The whole “hacked the election” formulation, used both by the Democrats and by allegedly objective reporters, is a misleading bit of hyperbole. Is “meddled with” or “interfered in” too big a concession to reality?

.. Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of hyperbole among those most eager to defend Trump on the Russia story.

.. More seriously, the rush to say there’s nothing to the collusion story is a mirror of the rush to insist the story is everything.

.. There were no meetings with Russians. Well there was that meeting about adoption with that Russian lawyer (attended by the campaign manager). Well, it was a meeting about opposition research that turned into a meeting about adoption, but I had no idea the Russian government was involved. Then the NYT reports last night about an email saying the meeting was pitched as part of a Russian-government operation. Then this morning the Russian lawyer says it was the Trump team that was desperate for Clinton dirt.

.. But that’s my larger point. Who the hell knows? What I just don’t understand is how conservatives can mock, scoff at, and ridicule the idea there might be some legs to this story when Donald Trump does everything he can to make it look like there might be a there there. He fired the FBI director. He told the Russian ambassador he did it to thwart the Russia investigation. He told Lester Holt the same thing. Donald Trump is clearly obsessed with the Russia story and with forging a bromance with Vladimir Putin. Both his son and his son-in-law have ties to Russia and keep having to revise their denials, making anyone who believed them in the first place look foolish.

Why in the world would Donald Trump Jr. take this meeting?

federal election law prohibits soliciting or accepting “anything of value … in connection with” an election from a foreign national.

.. Trump Jr.’s false and misleading statements on his involvement with Russians add to the argument that this is a man behaving as if he had something to hide. Asked by the New York Times in March whether he had ever discussed “government policies related to Russia,” Trump Jr. replied, “a hundred percent no.” Then, confronted by the Times about the Veselnitskaya meeting, he first said the participants “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children,” before acknowledging, the next day, that in fact it concerned opposition research on Clinton.