House Intel Member: Collusion Isn't a Crime, But Conspiracy Sure Is

February 11, 2019

By Carlo Versano and Justin Chermol

While the special counsel focuses on criminal charges related to the Trump campaign's reported ties to Russia, the House Intelligence Committee has a different job entirely: finding out whether, why, and how a foreign power could have influenced an American election, a member of that committee told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin.

Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat representing Illinois' 5th district ー who worked as a criminal defense attorney before his election to Congress ー said he's focused on the president's finances and foreign investments, like the Trump Tower Moscow project, and how that may have influenced the Trump campaign in 2016.

"Clearly, following a counterintelligence investigation means following the dollars, or in this case, possibly the rubles," he told Cheddar Monday.

Quigley cautioned against a preoccupation with the definition of "collusion," the word ー and question ー at the heart of the two-year investigation.

"I don't know what the word collusion really means," he said. "I don't know that it has a legal meaning. But conspiracy does." Quigley added that at least 17 of the president's associates had communicated with Russian officials, WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, as revealed by the special counsel investigation.

"Conspiracy is hiding in plain sight."

Last week, President Trump denounced the Russia investigation in his State of the Union address, saying "If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation."

Rep. Quigley said he noticed similarities between Trump and another president who also faced an investigation 45 years ago: "Richard Nixon used the State of the Union to suggest that the prosperity of the country pended on ending the Watergate investigation," Quigley said. "That's almost exactly what President Trump has suggested."

Quigley has served on this committee since Trump took office and has called the Russia probe "the most important investigation of our lifetime."

"Two-plus years in this investigation has taught me something," he said. "There are no coincidences."

For full interview click here.