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What is 'collusion'?

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. logo WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 3/22/2019 Samantha Kubota
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Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller turned over his long-awaited report on the Russia investigation. After two years of investigation – which, at times entangled President Donald Trump’s family and resulted in charges against some of his associates – the report is now in the hands of Attorney General William Barr.

The one word that has been synonymous with the Mueller investigation is “collusion.”

It first came into the figurative limelight after it was used repeatedly by Trump back in 2017, but what does it really mean?

RELATED: Mueller ends Russia investigation, delivers report to Attorney General Barr

The word collusion carries a sense or a hint of an illegal agreement. It's not a federal crime but it is a non-legal way of hinting at a conspiracy - which is a crime.  

Conspiracy happens when two or more people agree to commit an illegal act and take steps to complete it.

For example, you can have collusion without having a criminal conspiracy but you cannot have a criminal conspiracy without some sort of collusion.

So, the bottom line: when people say there is no collusion, that does not mean there was no crime.

RELATED: What happens next now that Robert Mueller finished the Russia investigation?

The two-year probe resulted in felony charges against 34 people, including six who worked on the president’s campaign. Multiple media outlets reported the Justice Department did not expect more indictments now that the Mueller investigation has concluded.

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