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President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said on CNN's "State of the Union" that "any candidate in the whole world" would accept negative information on their campaign opponent, and that there's "nothing wrong with taking information from Russians."

"Mitt Romney did something very similar to that. There's nothing wrong with taking information from Russians. It depends on where it came from. You're assuming that the giving of information is a campaign contribution. Read the report carefully. The report says we can't conclude that because the law is pretty much against that. ... There's no crime. We're going to get into morality???"

Reality check: Giuliani called Sen. Mitt Romney "a hypocrite" for saying it's appalling that members of the Trump campaign "welcomed help from Russia" and chose not to inform American law enforcement. He suggested Romney's campaign took similar actions, but did not provide any evidence for his claims.

It is illegal under FEC law for a campaign to solicit or accept contributions from a foreign national. Mueller determined in his report that he couldn't charge the participants of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting — including Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort — with violating a ban on contributions and donations by foreign nationals for 2 reasons:

  • First, Mueller said he likely could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump Jr. and the others "acted 'willfully,' i.e. with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct."
  • Second, Mueller likely could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the "value of promised information exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation."

The big picture: Giuliani's interview on CNN was one of 3 television appearances he did on Sunday morning. As President Trump rages on Twitter and in private about the former White House employees who provided damaging information to the special counsel, Giuliani and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway have taken to the cable news circuit to try to win in the court of public opinion.

  • Both Giuliani and Conway falsely claimed that the Mueller report has fully exonerated the president. When pressed on Mueller's decision not to explicitly clear the president of wrongdoing, both deflected by calling into question the credibility of Mueller's investigators and the witnesses they interviewed.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

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