In a column for the conservative Bulwark, former assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Wehle noted the sudden silence of some of Donald Trump's most avid defenders who took to the airwaves and on the floor of Congress to shout "no collusion" and now refuse to mention the two words since the president has been openly begging multiple countries for dirt to use on his political opponents.
According to Whele, "After issuing a misleadingly incomplete four-page summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report last April, Attorney General William Barr irresponsibly went on national television to declare 'no collusion' between the Trump campaign and Russia. This message amplified Trump’s months-long refrain of 'NO COLLUSION!'—even though the term 'collusion' has no legal significance whatsoever, as Mueller made clear in his report. After the report’s release, President Trump again starting singing the 'no collusion' refrain, now adding a chorus of 'complete and total exoneration.'"
Times have changed, she pointed out.
"Team Trump’s 'no collusion' tune has gone silent in the latest round of foreign election interference scandals. The evidence is clear from Trump’s own words that he sought to motivate Ukraine to manufacture dirt on Joe Biden and his son by opening a criminal investigation in Ukraine that—to date—has no basis in fact." she wrote. "The silence suggests that Team Trump knows the 'no collusion' cry won’t work this time."
"Second, by heralding 'no collusion' as somehow legally significant when it came to Russian interference in the 2016 election, Barr created the impression that if evidence of collusion did exist, it would be legally meaningful—if not for prosecuting a president, then possibly for impeachment," she added.
The difference, she notes, is the actual evidence of begging for help -- in the form of a quid pro quo ask -- was revealed by the White House itself.
"The Ukrainian scandal is different. The White House’s release of a summary of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows that Trump initiated the request for aid in the 2020 election. He did much more than willingly accept help. The timeline also shows that Trump was unilaterally withholding nearly $400 million in aid when he made the ask," she elaborated.
The attorney then concluded, "In politics and in the law, words matter. And for both politics and the law—and in the impeachment process now underway, a political process where potential violations of the law are being scrutinized—the sudden disappearance of the 'no collusion' defense marks a significant moment."
You can read the whole piece here.