A Columbia law professor dashed the hopes of MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle by informing them it is unlikely the Trump administration has committed any crimes at this point.
Velshi and Ruhle looked like little kids on Christmas as they started asking Richard Briffault whether any members of the Trump campaign or administration had committed treason, perjury, false statements or collusion.
One by one, Briffault popped their balloons.
“I’m not up to treason yet,” he said, before shooting down claims of perjury by explaining that no false statements so far have been made under oath.
When it came to false statements, a lower standard of crime, Briffault explained, “This is about [Kushner’s] filing for a security clearance but it’s a similar question … did he know it was false or did he just forget?”
“It’s not clear we’re quite up there,” he said.
Velshi and Ruhle seemed to get more desperate for some illegalities as the segment went on, but Briffault knocked down collusion claims as well, telling the hosts that collusion “isn’t really a crime. … It’s kind of a more political term.”
The best case of illegality, Briffault said, is that Trump Jr. may have violated federal election laws by seeking information from a foreign national.
As to Trump’s claims that the Russia investigation is a witch hunt, Briffault agreed, “there may be some witches out there.”