The Trump campaign’s attempt to solicit political assistance from agents of the Russian government was perfectly legal, the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani suggested on Sunday, calling it was a completely defensible political move.
“There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview on Sunday morning, referring to a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner solicited dirt on Hillary Clinton from people they believed to be acting at the behest of the Russian government.
Pressed by Tapper on whether it’s “okay” to use information stolen by adversarial foreign governments in the service of a presidential candidacy, Giuliani replied, “it depends on the stolen material.”
The investigative report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller released this week reviewed evidence that Don Jr. and Kushner may have violated campaign finance laws by enthusiastically taking that Trump Tower meeting in anticipation of receiving opposition research from two Russian attorneys with ties to the country’s government.
Mueller concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to charge anyone on the Trump campaign with soliciting an illegal in-kind contribution from a foreign national.
In the interview, Giuliani sought to shift the focus from whether the conduct was ethically defensible to whether it violated the letter of the law.
“We’re gonna get into morality? That’s not what prosecutors look at, morality,” Giuliani said. “This didn’t become an international scandal because of immorality. It became an international scandal because the president was accused of violating the law, falsely.”
The line of questioning was prompted by a statement this week from Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah and the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Romney said he was “appalled” that “fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia.”
Pressed on the question of morality, and whether such conduct was defensible even putting aside legal questions, Giuliani compared the acceptance of information stolen by a hostile foreign government to any other “immoral” conduct by a political campaign.
“I’d like to take a good look at Romney’s campaign and see if there were any immoral or unethical things done by the people working for him that he didn’t know about,” Giuliani said. “If there weren’t than it was the only campaign in history because he’s maybe holier than the holiest one.”