Clearing up Trump Team collusion confusion

What's the legal term for collusion?

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Everyone has an opinion on this: Did the Trump campaign collude with the Russian government, during last year's election?

The White House says no.

The denial comes after news spread.. that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer tied to the Kremlin.

The New York Times is reported Monday night he knew the lawyer's agenda.

Now, Trump Jr. has a lawyer.

10News political reporter Mark Rivera shows you why confirmation of this meeting has caused such an uproar.

Really this all centers around a legal question.

Multiple investigations into Russia and President Trump - his son, son-in-law and former campaign manager - are trying to find facts.

The FBI, a special prosecutor and Congress want to know who did what in the 2016 election.

The question they're trying to answer:

Did the campaign - or anyone associated with it - "collude" with Russia to win.

But how do you prove something like that?

Would Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer to get dirt on the Clinton campaign meet that threshold?

10News sat down with a criminal defense lawyer to find out what's the legal meaning of collusion?

“Basically, a secret agreement between two parties to accomplish something illegal or to deceive others,” said Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney Bjorn Brunvand.

Do you have to prove intent to prove collusion?

“You have to prove intent to prove collusion, otherwise it doesn't exist,” Brunvand said. “There has to be a meeting of the minds. There has to be an agreement to either deceive or to enter into a legal agreement. Just going somewhere to meet someone hear that information does not meet that standard.”

Brunvand says that means just accepting information from a foreign government may not be illegal.

It's still illegal to lie to the FBI, launder money, commit bank fraud, which is why the FBI is looking so hard at some Trump associate finances.

Get this - a foreign government trying to influence a U.S. election isn't unheard of...

It's just the last time we know of it - it was 1940 and from our ally the United Kingdom.

They had a huge spy and media campaign to try and help re-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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