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Mueller Report: "conspiracy" v. "collusion"

Robert Mueller III, Special Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice photo

“No Collusion” has been President Donald Trump’s mantra since the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential election was launched. Is that the case? While the redacted version of the Mueller Report exonerates the president of conspiring with Russians, one local Constitutional attorney explains why the report does not absolve his campaign of collusion.

“The Special Counsel specifically found that there were, ‘multiple links between Trump campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government and in some of those instances the campaign was receptive to the work being done by the Russians.’ Now, this may not have risen to the level of conspiracy as that term is defined under federal law.”

Still, Devin Schindler who is professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Dean at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School found in the Mueller Report more than 100 connections between Russian operatives and Trump campaign officials intending to sway the 2016 Presidential election.

“The fact of the matter is even though that may have not risen to a conspiracy charge, which of course the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt certainly it shows some level of collusion. That is not a legal term, but in sort of the standard parlance. Clearly what we have here is a quid and a quo and the old Latin phrase ‘quid pro quo,’ this for that. Well, we have quid. We have very much the Trump campaign wanting the Russians to do these sort of things, hacking emails and whatnot. And we have the Russians response. What the Mueller investigation could not establish, in any certainty one way or the other, is that there’s a quid pro quo, this for that. But clearly both sides were benefiting from this relationship...I found particularly interesting a series of meetings that Paul Manafort, at the time President Trump's campaign manager, had with a strongly suspected Russian spy, (Konstantin) Kilimnik, where he gave this alledged Russian operative internal campaigning data, and an inside look  on what was going on in the campaign, and discuss various ways that the campaign manager Paul Manafort's position could assist the Russions going forward. In any normal political climate this would be a huge bombshell. Well, instead it’s buried in the middle of the report.” 

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.