Stop using "collusion" as a short-hand for criminality'
Paul Rosenzweig is former deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security and founder of Red Branch Consulting.
Collusion is not a federal crime (except in the unique case of antitrust law), so we should all just stop using "collusion" as a short-hand for criminality. But that doesn't mean that the alleged cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia is of no criminal interest. To the contrary, if true, it may have violated any number of criminal prohibitions.
For example, if Donald Trump Jr. sought "dirt" on Hillary Clinton from the Russians, he might be charged with conspiring to violate the election laws of the United States, which prohibit foreign nationals from contributing any "thing of value" to an electoral campaign. The opposition dirt is at least plausibly a thing of value. And to the extent that the Trump campaign aided, abetted or advised the Russians (or any other hackers) about what would be most useful to steal from the Democrats or how best to enhance the impact of their release, they may well have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Of course, none of this excuses the apparent cover-up, which is often as bad as the original crime. Lying to the federal government in your registration forms or your security application is a false statement. Using the wires to perpetrate your crime is often wire fraud. In short, let's stop talking about "collusion" and instead talk about real crimes that may, or may not, be proven -- violations of election law, computer hacking, false statements and wire fraud. ...
Evidence might establish other crimes'
Norman Eisen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2009 to 2011 and ambassador to the Czech Republic from 2011 to 2014.
Collusion simply means that Donald Trump, his campaign or their representatives were working with Russia or its agents to affect the campaign. There is no crime of collusion, but if it were proved, that evidence might establish other crimes, such as conspiracy to commit cybercrime (with respect to hacking) or campaign finance violations (with respect to soliciting a thing of value from a foreign government, namely damaging information). Evidence of possible collusion is starting to come in, include Roger Stone's contacts with "Guccifer"; actions by a GOP activist, Peter Smith, who apparently sought help from Russia and named campaign officials in related documents; and, of course, the just revealed emails and conduct of Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner in meeting a Russian lawyer.