Rudy Giuliani has often been viewed by his critics as offering confusing and perhaps even contradictory narratives in his public defense of his high-profile client, President Donald Trump. But a rhetorical shift, in statements given over the weekend and early Monday, may also signal that the Trump legal team is backing off its blanket denial of collusion with Russian actors in the 2016 campaign.

Giuliani revived an argument Monday morning that Trump’s lawyers and cable news defenders have advanced before: collusion is not a federal crime. Giuliani’s comments came after reports that Michael Cohen would be willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller III that Trump had approved a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and others close to Trump and Russians who had offered dirt on Hillary Clinton.

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