Everyone, whatever side of the political aisle you’re on, needs to take a deep breath here.
1. “Collusion,” contrary to what the New York Times would like to think, is a noun, not a crime.
2. “Conspiracy,” an inchoate offense, can be a crime if there’s (a) an agreement between two persons to commit an illegal act and (b) at least two affirmative acts in support of the object of the conspiracy. The agreement is the essential ingredient. Usually, however, in the federal system, conspiracy is charged with the underlying felony. In other words, it’s charged as a pile-on, not a stand-alone defense.
3. All crimes require mens rea, criminal intent.
4. All elements of a crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.