Trump: Even if there was collusion with Russia, 'it’s not a crime'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide Comey: I’m ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated FBI rules MORE in a new interview denied any collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, adding “even if there was, it’s not a crime.”

Speaking to The New York Times Thursday, Trump praised lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has argued that Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey: I’m ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ by Republican party Comey, Anderson Cooper clash over whether memo release violated FBI rules The Memo: Jackson ‘fiasco’ casts pall on White House MORE was not obstruction of justice because Trump has the right to fire the head of the bureau.

“I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day, he said, No. 1, there is no collusion, No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion,” Trump told the newspaper. “And he said that very strongly. He said there was no collusion. And he has studied this thing very closely. I’ve seen him a number of times.”

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“There is no collusion, and even if there was, it’s not a crime,” he continued. “But there’s no collusion.”

Trump also blasted special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, saying it “makes the country look very bad.”

“It puts the country in a very bad position,” Trump said. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”

One of President Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said earlier this month that it didn’t matter if members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia because “there is no crime of collusion.”

“For something to be a crime, there has to be a statute that you claim is being violated,” he told The New Yorker. “There is not a statute that refers to criminal collusion. There is no crime of collusion.”

Mueller's investigation has the authority to look into any matters that come up in the course of investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, including possible obstruction of justice, which would be a crime.