CNN's Erin Burnett on Monday night tried to get former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to admit that President Donald Trump committed treason with his alleged Russian connections, but Mukasey pushed back, saying law is different than opinion and that Trump did not break the law.
Burnett read part of a statement from Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying that he has not read every correspondence between Russia and the campaign, the American Mirror reported Tuesday.
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"It sounded, from reading that, like he's trying to give himself cover in case something improper did happen," Burnett said. "I mean this isn't a full-throated defense. This is, ‘Every contact may not be improper, but I haven't looked at these.'"
Mukasey did not take the bait.
"That's what any person would say in his position," he said. "He hasn't looked at them, nor should he waste his time looking at them."
Burnett asked if Sessions should recuse himself from being the special prosecutor, as Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) suggested, but Mukasey cut her off.
"No! Special prosecutor of what?" he asked. "Where's the crime? We haven't even named the crime, let alone suggested that charges are going to be brought."
"So, you're saying until Congress comes out and says, ‘Here's the proof that we now see that there was connections between the Trump campaign and Russians known to U.S. intelligence,' if and then, and only then, then you would say–because that would possibly be a criminal act, right?" Burnett asked.
"No," Mukasey said. "It wouldn't."
Burnett asked if he felt that way even if it was confirmed that Trump and the Russians talked about working together.
Mukasey said that if that were the case, the only thing Trump would violate is the Logan Act, which bars U.S. citizens from having private communications with foreign governments to affect foreign policy. Mukasey also pointed out that no one has been prosecuted under this act since 1793.
Burnett continued to push her guest.
"Right," she said. "But, I'm talking about collusion or, ‘It would be great if you could find things on Hillary Clinton,' those sorts of conversations. That would be treason, right?"
Mukasey was surprised.
"What?" he said.
"No?" Burnett asked.
"No," he said.
Burnett asked if that meant Mukasey was fine with it, and he explained that law is different than what people are "fine with."
"It's not a question of being ‘fine with it,'" he said. "I'm not fine with it, but there's a difference between treason and what I'm fine with or not. And saying, ‘You ought to get stuff on Hillary Clinton,' believe it or not, is not a crime, even if you're saying it to the Russians."