By HOPE YEN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted Sunday the president’s 2016 campaign did nothing wrong by taking information from the Russians, as House Democrats pledged stepped-up investigations into campaign misconduct and possible crimes of obstruction detailed in the special counsel’s report.
Giuliani called the Trump campaign’s effort to get political help from representatives of the Russian government possibly ill-advised but not illegal.
“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Giuliani said, referring to a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Trump’s son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in which they sought from a lawyer linked to Russia harmful information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Giuliani was rebutting Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who said in a statement on Twitter Friday he was sickened by the findings from Mueller’s 400-plus page report in the Russia investigation. Romney cited details on how the Trump campaign welcomed political dirt from Russia.
Giuliani said Romney should “stop the bull,” saying that accepting negative information about a political opponent is common. “I would have advised, just out of excess of caution, don’t do it,” he said. Nevertheless, “there’s no crime.”
Not ruling out impeachment, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who chairs the House committee that would hold impeachment hearings, said he remained puzzled why Mueller did not bring charges of criminal conspiracy against those in the Trump Tower meeting.
“All you have to prove for conspiracy is that they entered into a meeting of the minds to do something wrong and had one overt act. They entered into a meeting of the minds to attend a meeting to get stolen material on Hillary. They went to the meeting. That’s conspiracy right there,” said Nadler, D-N.Y.
Nadler said it was now up to Congress to investigate after the special counsel said it did not establish enough evidence to bring charges of criminal conspiracy and detailed 10 allegations of Trump’s attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation that left open whether Trump broke the law.
Asked whether the offenses are impeachable, Nadler told NBC, “If proven, some of this would be impeachable, yes.” He said Democrats’ focus is to “go where the evidence leads us.”
Democratic leaders are under mounting pressure from the party’s rising stars and some presidential contenders to start impeachment proceedings. House Democrats will confer Monday on next steps.
In the report, Mueller said he considered bringing charges over the Trump Tower meeting but ultimately did not obtain admissible evidence that the campaign officials knew the actions were illegal.
“On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful,” the report stated. “The investigation has not developed evidence that the participants in the meeting were familiar with the foreign-contribution ban or the application of federal law to the relevant factual context.”
Giuliani spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union,” ”Fox News Sunday” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Nadler also was on NBC.