Collusion question remains after first Mueller indictments

first_imgWASHINGTON — For months, commentators and officials describing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia have used words such as “collusion” and “coordination” to summarize the complicated federal probe.President Donald Trump himself has latched onto the terms, declaring on Twitter last week that there had been “NO COLLUSION” after criminal charges were unveiled against three of his ex-campaign aides.But the words by themselves do little to explain how campaign officials might be prosecuted for contacts with Russian operatives, according to legal experts. That raises questions about which crimes Mueller’s prosecutors will use to bring criminal cases stemming from what began as a FBI counterintelligence investigation 15 months ago.“Conspiracy itself is not a crime: You’ve got to conspire to commit a crime,” said Kate Stith, a former federal prosecutor and professor at Yale Law School. “The question is, what crimes are they looking at?”____WHAT CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED?That question was partially answered when a judge unsealed an indictment against onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, who were charged with violating federal money laundering, foreign lobbying and banking laws for behavior occurring as far back as 2012.last_img read more