Syndicated Charles Krauthammer argues in his Friday column that the Trump campaign committed “collusion” with the Russian government, even if that collusion was “bungled.”
Perhaps the good doctor is still sore after a campaign in which Trump repeatedly criticized him on the stump. Perhaps he is upset Trump won, after he declared that he could never vote for him.
Regardless, it is fortunate that Krauthammer is a psychiatrist and not a lawyer.
Black’s Law Dictionary defines “collusion” as follows: “an agreement to defraud another or to do or obtain something forbidden by law.”
Donald Trump, Jr.’s emails do not qualify, nor does the meeting with a Russian attorney that purportedly went nowhere and produced nothing.
Lest Krauthammer object that the issue is politics, not law, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “collusion” as “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.”
Again, nothing in the emails or the meeting qualifies, based on what we know.
Regardless, Donald Jr. is, according to Krauthammer, guilty because of what was in his mind, not what he did:
The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that theres a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a Russian government attorney possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Moreover, the Kremlin is willing to share troves of incriminating documents from the Crown Prosecutor. (Error: Britain has a Crown Prosecutor. Russia has a State Prosecutor.)
Donald Jr. emails back. I love it. Fatal words.
Once youve said I’m in, it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods.
What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were copied on the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.
Note what Dr. Krauthammer leaves out. Donald Jr. did not simply say, “I love it.” He said: “If it’s what you say I love it.” In law, a conditional statement — “I agree, if X is true” — is not an agreement and cannot constitute any kind of contract.
We also do not know what part of Rob Goldstone’s email the younger Trump was referring to — whether “information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” or the publicist’s claim that “Russia and its government” were supportive of Trump’s run for the presidency, or something else entirely.
Nor is there any evidence of any kind of broader cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign. On the contrary.
It is just as difficult to read Dr. Krauthammer’s mind as Donald Trump, Jr.’s, but what is operating there at the moment is clearly not logic. He seems to have been swept up in the “Red Scare” over Russia, which remains what it has been from the start — a desperate effort by Democrats to cover up the rigging of their own primary against Bernie Sanders, and an attempt by the media to undo the results of the November vote.
CNN quoted from Krauthammer’s column liberally, and repeatedly, on Friday, though they typically ignore his better work.
One can hardly call that “collusion.” Yet it is difficult to avoid observing that both share a common grudge.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.