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One helluva campaign ad—worth watching (and it’s just over 3 minutes)

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Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2018 at 7:22 pm

Trump’s Russia Cover-Up by the Numbers – 80+ Contacts with Russia-Linked Operatives

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The Moscow Project’s current count:

Last Updated June 18, 2018

[[Developing]]

In an interview with the Washington Post, Roger Stone revealed that he met with a Russian national named Henry Greenberg who Stone says promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton in late May 2016. Greenberg allegedly wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the information, but Stone claims that he rejected the offer. Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign official, originally connected Stone and Greenberg after Caputo spoke with Greenberg over the phone in May 2016. Stone and Caputo were reportedly asked about the meeting by prosecutors from the Special Counsel’s office, and now claim that they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials. Although Greenberg has worked with the FBI in the past, he indicated that he stopped working with them in 2013. Greenberg denied several of Stone and Caputo’s allegations.

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. intelligence community issued a report that showed there were two campaigns to elect Donald Trump: one run by Trump and one run by the Russian government. Trump and many of his senior advisors and close associates have repeatedly denied any connections between the two campaigns, despite the fact that they were working towards the same goal, at the same time, and utilizing the same tactics.

Yet over the past year, we’ve learned about a series of meetings and contacts between individuals linked to the Russian government and Trump’s campaign and transition team. In total, we have learned of 80 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives, including at least 23 meetings. And we know that at least 24 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisors were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.

Why were there so many meetings? What was discussed in them? More importantly, why did Trump and his camp lie about them, including to federal law enforcement? What are they hiding?

The American people deserve answers.

Below is a comprehensive chronological list of the contacts that have been discovered to date and the lies Trump’s campaign, transition, and White House told to hide them.

The Trump campaign issued at least 15 blanket denials of contacts with Russia, all of which have been proven false.

  1. July 24, 2016: Paul Manafort appeared on ABC’s This Week and George Stephanopoulos asked him “Are there any ties between Mr. Trump, you or your campaign and Putin and his regime?” To which Manafort responded, “No, there are not. That’s absurd. And you know, there’s no basis to it.”
  2. July 24, 2016: Donald Trump Jr. appeared on CNN and told Jake Tapper that the Clinton campaign’s suggestion that Russia was helping Trump was “disgusting” and “phony,” noting, “Well, it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean, they will say anything to be able to win this. I mean, this is time and time again, lie after lie.”
  3. July 27, 2016: Trump appeared on a CBS Miami news station and, in response to allegations that Russia was trying to help him win the election, told Jim DeFed, “I can tell you I think if I came up with that they’d say, ‘Oh, it’s a conspiracy theory, it’s ridiculous’ … I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don’t have any jobs in Russia. I’m all over the world but we’re not involved in Russia.”
  4. October 24, 2016: At a rally in Tampa, Florida, Trump stated he has “nothing to do with Russia, folks. I’ll give you a written statement.”
  5. November 11, 2016: Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks gave the Associated Press a blanket denial of Trump campaign contacts with Russia, stating, “It never happened. There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
  6. December 18, 2016: Kellyanne Conway went on “Face the Nation,” and John Dickerson asked her, “Did anyone involved … in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?” Conway responded, “Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying it like it’s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it’s dangerous.”
  7. January 10, 2017:  . . .

Continue reading.

There’s much more. You can also download it as a PDF.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 June 2018 at 12:06 pm

There’s actually lots of evidence of Trump-Russia collusion

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Matt Yglesias writes in Vox:

“In all of this, in any of this, there’s been no evidence that there’s been any collusion between the Trump campaign and President Trump and Russia,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday at his weekly press conference. “Let’s just make that really clear. There’s no evidence of collusion. This is about Russia and what they did and making sure they don’t do it again.”

From Ryan’s perspective, it would be convenient if it were true that Robert Mueller’s investigation had turned up no evidence of collusion, but it simply isn’t.

Republicans from Donald Trump on down have made “no collusion” a mantra. The term itself is ill-defined in this context; you won’t find it in the US code. But roughly speaking, the question is whether the campaign got involved with Russian agents who committed computer crimes to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

The verdict on this is unclear. But there is certainly plenty of evidence pointing toward collusion; what you would call “probable cause” in a legal context, or what a journalist might simply consider reason to continue investigating the story. And the investigating thus far, both by special counsel Mueller and by journalists working on the story, has been fruitful. The efforts have continued to turn up contacts between Trumpworld and Putinland, cover-ups, and dishonesty.

Even as recently as Friday afternoon, we got new indictments charging Trump’s former campaign chair and his former GRU operative business partner with witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

It’s important, obviously, not to prejudge a case. It turns out that Saddam Hussein was acting like a man who was covering up a secret nuclear weapons arsenal because he didn’t want the world to know how weak his defenses really were.

By the same token, it’s certainly possible that the various Trump-Russia contacts never amounted to anything and that they’ve been consistently covered up for some reason other than an effort to hide collusion. But both the contacts that have been revealed so far and the deception used to deny their existence are certainly evidence of collusion — evidence that should be (and is being) pursued by the special counsel’s office and that should not be dismissed by the press or by elected officials.

The circumstantial case for collusion

It’s worth backing up to recall what we all saw on camera before anyone knew anything about an FBI investigation, before FBI Director James Comey was fired in an effort to halt the investigation, and before Mueller and his team revealed anything:

  • Two separate hacks of Democratic Party emails — one purloining a trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails and one that stole a ton of correspondence from John Podesta’s personal Gmail account — were perpetrated over the course of 2016, by what are now believed to have been agents operating on behalf of the Russian government.
  • These emails were not immediately released, and they were not released by the hackers who obtained them. Instead, the emails were disseminated to the public by using Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as an intermediary. Their releases also seemed strategically timed — the DNC emails disrupted efforts to create a show of unity between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at the beginning of the Democratic National Convention, while the Podesta emails were released right after the infamous Access Hollywood tape.
  • Trump and his campaign, at the time, believed these emails were a big deal and cited them frequently. Trump built substantial portions of his campaign messaging around narratives — typically half-true at best — contained in the emails, and made no bones about welcoming the hacking.
  • “WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks,” he said on several occasions on the campaign trail, and he also explicitly called on the Russian government to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails.
  • Trump also spent the 2016 campaign running an overtly pro-Russian campaign message, praising Vladimir Putin’s leadership, defending him from allegations of murdering his political opponents, and calling for a realignment of US strategy in Syria and Ukraine.

I would not necessarily call any of this “evidence” of collusion, but it’s certainly grounds for suspicion. It gave the impression that Trump was on some level coordinating his campaign messaging with the Russian hackers, and that either he was taking a pro-Putin line in exchange for Russian help or he sincerely believed in the pro-Putin line and therefore saw nothing wrong with accepting Russian assistance.

That said, Trump was asked about this possibility explicitly during the campaign. And during the campaign and the transition, both he and his team issued at least 20 denials of any contact between his camp and the Russians. And where evidence really enters the picture is that they were lying.

There was extensive outreach between Trump and Russia

In reality, as exhaustively documented by the Moscow Project, there were extensive communications between people in Trump’s orbit and Russian government figures or others who had, or purported to have, close ties to the Putin regime.

Some of this communication — including Michael Cohen’s January 2016 email to Dmitry Peskov and Ivanka Trump’s October 2015 exchange with Dmitry Klokov — was ostensibly about efforts to construct a Trump-branded building in Moscow. Some of it, including the various escapades of George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, involved relatively peripheral players in Trumpworld, who didn’t have strong pre-campaign ties to Trump or play a post-campaign role in the administration.

But some of it was quite high-level and explicitly about the campaign. Donald Trump Jr., for example, took a meeting with the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank while attending the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Kentucky in May 2016. The meeting was arranged by a US conservative activist named Paul Erickson, who got in touch with senior Trump campaign aide Rick Dearborn to set it up, explicitly as a step toward creating back-channel communications between Russia and the campaign.

And, of course, Trump Jr., along with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting whose purpose was explicitly described as “part of Russia and its support for Mr Trump” and was said to involve incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

That Trumpworld was clearly open to both political collusion and financial dealmaking with the Russian government doesn’t demonstrate that either actually occurred. But it’s unquestionably evidence in favor of the possibility. The fact that all of this was lied about and swept under the rug is further evidence (though, again, not proof) that there was Russia-related wrongdoing that is being covered up. And it’s striking that we continue to learn new things about contacts between Trump and Russia — the Ivanka story is new this week — rather than there having been a moment at which everyone got religion and decided to come clean.

And then there’s Paul Manafort.

The Manafort-Deripaska nexus is very suspicious

Paul Manafort had worked for years in Republican Party politics in the 1970s and ’80s, but by the second decade of the 21st century, he was primarily working in Ukraine. Then in March 2016, Donald Trump hired him to run his presidential campaign and smooth over badly frayed relations with the GOP establishment.

Two weeks after he boarded the Trump train, Manafort emailed Konstantin Kilimnik, who’d been his key lieutenant in Kiev for years:

“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort wrote.

“Absolutely,” Kilimnik responded a few hours later from Kiev. “Every article.”

“How do we use to get whole,” Manafort asks. “Has OVD operation seen?”

OVD, in this context, is Oleg Deripaska, a wealthy Russian oligarch to whom Manafort was deeply in debt. Critically, despite the debts, Manafort agreed to go work for Trump for free. But he wanted to know how he could use his unpaid work for Trump to “get whole” with Deripaska.

Manafort, in other words, clearly saw his work for Trump as directly linked to his work for pro-Russian forces. Manafort is also currently preparing to stand trial for a broad array of financial crimes related to this work. It’s conventional for both the Trump camp and Manafort’s legal team to say that the charges are unrelated to the 2016 campaign, but that is merely assuming the conclusion. If Manafort did in fact use his US activities to “get whole” with his former client, then the two issues are clearly quite linked.

The truth in this matter is, as with much of the rest of the story, unclear. But, again, there is clearly evidence here.

The collusion in plain sight

Last but by no means least, it’s worth recalling that there’s something fundamentally odd about the entire framing of the collusion question. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 June 2018 at 10:10 am

Senate Investigators May Have Found a Missing Piece in the Russia Probe

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Natasha Bertrand reports in the Atlantic:

An ex-congressman has attracted scrutiny from the Senate Judiciary Committee, as it continues to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow to sway the 2016 presidential election.

Curt Weldon, a Republican and former Pennsylvania congressman, lost his reelection campaign more than a decade ago following an FBI probe into his ties to two Russian companies. He has “connections to both Russia and the Trump campaign” that are raising suspicions among senators, a spokeswoman for Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said. Feinstein is the committee’s ranking member, and wants to interview Weldon, the spokeswoman said.

The reasons for the committee’s interest in Weldon are murky, but his ties to Russia are significant. Members of Congress believe, for example, that Weldon may lead to answers about why the Trump administration sought to lift sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of the 2016 election despite a public statement by intelligence agencies that the Kremlin tried to help Trump win. Weldon may also have information about the role a Russian oligarch may have played in trying to influence the Trump administration—though Weldon denied this when I asked him about it.

Additionally, Weldon appears to have knowledge of a key instance in which a foreign national sought to influence the president through one of his closest advisers—a central theme of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s election interference.

At issue is the question of whether the president and his associates have sought to trade favors with foreign entities for personal gain. Mueller has been investigating, for example, whether Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, tried to use his position to repay old debts to a Russian oligarch, and whether Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have influenced Trump’s foreign-policy decisions based on their business interests. Mueller isalso investigating foreign-linked donors to Trump’s inauguration fund.

Asked how Weldon was connected to the campaign, Feinstein’s office would not elaborate, citing the sensitivity of the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing investigation. Weldon declined multiple interview requests. But a letter Feinstein sent last year to Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, may provide a clue. In it, Feinstein asked for all of Cohen’s communications “to, from, or copied to” Weldon, as well as correspondence “related to” Weldon, along with nearly two dozen other people.

Weldon’s name stuck out—he had served as a member of Congress and had not been mentioned previously in relation to the Russia investigation. But his connection to Cohen may lie in a mutual acquaintance who has since testified before Mueller’s grand jury: a former member of the Ukrainian Parliament named Andrii Artemenko.


In January 2017, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Artemenko met with Cohen at a New York City hotel to discuss bringing peace to Russia and Ukraine. Also present was Felix Sater, a friend of Cohen’s and a former business partner of Trump’s. All three men confirmed to me that this meeting took place. When Artemenko pitched the peace plan, which involved lifting sanctions on Russia in exchange for Russia’s retreat from eastern Ukraine, Cohen said he would deliver it to then–National-Security adviser Michael Flynn, according to The New York Times. Artemenko told the newspaper that he had received encouragement for his peace plan from top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Artemenko also told me that he had gotten “confirmation” that the peace plan had been left on Flynn’s desk. But Cohen walked back his story after the meeting was exposed by the Times, insisting that he had thrown the plan in the garbage. (Flynn has not responded to multiple requests for comment.)

Weldon, who has known Artemenko, the Ukrainian politician, for more than a decade, was furious that The New York Times had learned about the meeting, according to a person who spoke with him at a separate gathering last March, two weeks after the story in the Times had been published. “We were so close,” Weldon complained, this source recalled. Then Weldon dropped a bombshell: “He said [he and Artemenko] had already secured funding for the promotion of the plan from Viktor Vekselberg’s fund in New York City.”

Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch who attended Trump’s inauguration, was questioned by Mueller’s team late last year, according to The New York Times.The peace plan would have benefited Vekselberg: He has been doing business in the United States since at least 1990, when he co-founded the conglomerate Renova Group as a joint U.S.-Russian venture. Attempts to reach Vekselberg through his business were unsuccessful.

According to the source who allegedly spoke to Weldon in March, Weldon referenced Columbus Nova, a New York City investment management firm, as being involved in the funding of his and Artemenko’s plan. After this story was initially published, Columbus Nova denied participating in anything related to a Ukranian peace plan, but acknowledged that Renova Group and Vekselberg are its biggest clients. A spokesman for Columbus Nova said the company is “dumfounded” by the idea that it was “ever approached by anybody to participate in anything related to a Ukrainian peace plan.”

When a source first relayed the conversation with Weldon to me earlier this year, it had not yet been reported that Columbus Nova gave more than $500,000 to Cohen’s LLC, Essential Consultants, over a seven-month period in 2017. Weldon’s alleged reference to Columbus Nova, and his comment about Vekselberg’s role in funding the plan’s promotion, renews questions about what that $500,000 was actually for.

The New York Times has reported that Cohen and Vekselberg met 11 days before Trump’s inauguration, and discussed U.S.–Russia relations. Columbus Novaacknowledged in a statement that it hired Cohen “after the inauguration” for consulting work, but insisted that Vekselberg had nothing to do with it. “Columbus Nova itself is not now, and has never been, owned by any foreign entity or person including Viktor Vekselberg or the Renova Group,” the statement read. Columbus Nova did not mention in the statement that its president, Andrew Intrater, is Vekselberg’s cousin. The company did acknowledge it had hired Cohen as a “business consultant.”

According to the BBC, Cohen has in the past leveraged his relationship with the president to land a lucrative deal with a foreign entity. The outlet reported last month that Ukraine paid Cohen at least $400,000 to arrange a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in June 2017. (Poroshenko and Cohen have both denied that money was exchanged.)

Neither Cohen nor his attorney responded to multiple requests for comment regarding the payments Cohen’s company received from Columbus Nova in 2017. They also ignored repeated questions about whether the money was connected to the proposed Russia-Ukraine peace plan. Weldon told me in a LinkedIn message: “I have never met Viktor Vekselburg [sic] and am not aware of any peace plan that he would have funded.” He then made a reference to his work with Ukraine’s Rada, or parliament, during his time in office. “As one of the founders of the Rada/Congress Relationship during my 29 years in Congress, I spent much time on US/Ukraine relations and tried repeatedly to strengthen the US/Ukraine relationship.”

Artemenko, the Ukrainian, told me that he and Weldon have known each other for more than 10 years, but tried to minimize the significance of their appearance together at an event, in February 2016, about “how Americans can promote peace and stability in Ukraine.” Last year, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 June 2018 at 9:31 am

Out of Poverty and onto The Ballot: The New Wave of Working-Class Candidates Trying to Take Congress

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Aida Chávez reports in the Intercept:

THE FIRST WEDNESDAY in August was a busy one for David Trone. In the morning, Trone, the co-founder of retail chain Total Wine & More, which has made him very wealthy, announced that he would make his second run for Congress.

Trone’s first bid for Congress had come the year before, when he had spent $13 million of his own money and still lost the primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, to the east of his current target.

This time around, he said, he would raise some money from supporters. That would perhaps shed the image that he was trying to buy his way into Congress.

By the end of the day, he and his wife had cut four checks to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for a total of $267,200.

That was never an option on the whiteboard for Roger Manno, Trone’s opponent in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 6th District.

Manno is now a Maryland state senator and the party’s majority whip, but it’s been a long road that has taken him through extended bouts of homelessness, unemployment, and other economic depredations rarely found in the biographies of members of Congress, who are much more likely to note that they are the sons or daughters — or even grandchildren — of millworkers or the like.

With an explosion of grassroots energy this cycle, however, the new class of candidates has swept in some whose populist anger has been earned honestly.

Like Manno, they’ll have to overcome big money to get where they’re trying to go.

When political parties and outside groups begin to estimate the chances that a congressional candidate has of winning a race, the first thing they look at is fundraising — particularly money raised within the district. Those cash contributions from wealthy donors in the area serve as a proxy for support from the local elite and translate, in the party’s mind, into a high chance of victory.

The process has a culling effect on the field, which has left Congress with a total net worth of at least $2.43 billion, according to the political news outlet Roll Call’s conservative estimates, with nearly 40 percent of all members being millionaires.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t Democrats from poor and working-class backgrounds who run for Congress. It means that they’re often beaten back by wealthier, establishment-backed candidates who’ve been able to forge better connections. A new wave of candidates this cycle is hoping to change that.

Democratic congressional hopefuls Manno, Will Cunningham, and James Thompson all were in and out of homelessness as children. As a little girl, Karen Mallard had taught her father how to read. Other candidates like them slept on friends’ couches, lived in trailers, and worked multiple minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet.

For a party that purports to reflect the regular people of the United States, rather than the top 1 percent, these candidates are seemingly the perfect kind of representatives to have in Washington. Yet in almost every case, they have been met by the national party with either indifference or outright opposition. There are a select few candidates who’ve gotten Democratic Party support — those who’ve fully escaped the grip of poverty and climbed to the top rungs of the economic ladder.

As primary elections wrap up between now and August, these candidates are fighting to stay in the game.

Here are their stories. . .

Continue reading. There’s much more: the meat of the article.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 June 2018 at 7:24 am

The backstory of an interesting campaign video that reflects the chasm between Democrats and Establishment Democrats

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Fascinating report in the Intercept by Zaid Jilani (and it includes the brief video and a good description of what that video represents). Here’s the 2-minute video:

And if you’re intrigued, as I was, here are other videos of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—making speeches, campaigning, etc.

And if you want to donate to her campaign, you can do that at her campaign website. Full disclosure: I did donate.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 June 2018 at 6:35 am

Republicans deny evidence Russia meddled while Trump invites Putin to rejoin G-7

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Jennifer Rubin writes what in normal times would be an alarming column:

With a gob-smacking offer to reinstate Russia to the Group of Seven, President Trump has rekindled suspicions that he is in effect repaying Russia for help in the 2016 presidential election. The Post reports:

President Trump on Friday said Russia should be readmitted to the Group of Seven leading economies, breaking with other world leaders who have insisted that Moscow remain ostracized after its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“Now, I love our country. I have been Russia’s worst nightmare. . . . But with that being said, Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump said Friday as he left the White House. “It may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. . . . They should let Russia back in.”
Trump’s comments, made just hours before arriving in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have the potential to further upend talks with other leaders who were already fuming about the U.S. leader’s protectionist trade policies.

He hasn’t been Russia’s worst nightmare, of course. He has been a gold mine, helping to undercut the Western alliance, accepting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s representation that he didn’t know about hacking, effectively ceding Syria to Russia and Iran, and now this. Trump, it seems, is no longer bothering to conceal his willingness to play buddy-buddy with Moscow.
Meanwhile, Republicans remain in full denial about Russia’s intervention during the election on Trump’s behalf.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, after summoning the nerve to agree with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) that there is no evidence to support Trump’s cockamamie “spying” theory, quickly retreated to false, pro-Trump talking points. He declared, “In all of this, in any of this, there’s been no evidence that there’s been any collusion between the Trump campaign and President Trump and Russia.” In case that wasn’t clear, he added: “Let’s just make that really clear. There’s no evidence of collusion. This is about Russia and what they did and making sure they don’t do it again.” Wrong, wrong, wrong.
We have evidence that top Trump campaign officials, including the president’s son and son-in-law, met with Russian operatives who offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. We have evidence that foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was told by an intermediary, Joseph Mifsud, that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about such contacts. After WikiLeaks released hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton, Trump publicly called for them to keep it up. (“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”) The Moscow Project summarizes:

By the end of June [2016], at least eight individuals involved with the Trump campaign—George Papadopoulos, Jeff Sessions, Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Flynn, and Rick Dearborn—reportedly had contacts or meetings with at least 13 Kremlin-linked individuals—Josef Mifsud, the “Female Russian National,” Sergei Kislyak, Felix Sater, Michael Cohen, Rob Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, Irakly Kaveladze, Konstantin Kilimnik, Aleksander Torshin, Vladimir Putin, the individual who emailed Rick Dearborn, and potentially Oleg Deripaska.
Over the same period, at least eight countries reportedly passed information about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election to American intelligence agencies.

Trump falsely complains a spy was implanted into his campaign and he should have been warned about characters like Paul Manafort and Carter Page. However, his campaign was warned. CNN recently reported:

Trump was personally warned in August 2016 by senior US intelligence officials that foreign adversaries — including Russia — would likely attempt to infiltrate his team or gather intelligence about his campaign, according to sources familiar with the matter. The security briefing included information about potential interference by foreign actors, including Russia, according to sources familiar with a memo that detailed the August 2016 briefing. In October 2017, senior Justice Department officials gave lawmakers from both parties a readout on the 2016 briefing after Republicans demanded to see documents about the Russia investigation and related matters.

We also know that Alexander Nix, former head of Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm hired by the Trump campaign, reached out to Julian Assange, head of WikiLeaks, widely regarded by U.S. intelligence as a Russian cutout. The Daily Beast reported last year that Nix “told a third party that he reached out to Assange about his firm somehow helping the WikiLeaks editor release Clinton’s missing emails, according to two sources familiar with a congressional investigation into interactions between Trump associates and the Kremlin. . . . The interchange between Nix—whose company made millions from the Trump campaign—and Assange represents the closest known connection between Trump’s campaign and Wikileaks.”
In short, there is ample evidence Russia meddled to influence the election on Trump’s behalf and that there were efforts by the campaign to obtain Russian help. Trump and multiple members of his campaign (e.g. now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Trump himself regarding the Trump Tower meeting) have repeatedly made false statements to investigators. The result, so far, has been 19 indictments and five guilty pleas. There is plenty there there.
And since Russia’s successful operation to assist Trump, we have seen what would normally be seen as “payback” in the form of Trump’s inexplicable deference to Russia. That includes giving code -word intelligence to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office to refusing to personally criticize Putin to his determination not to acknowledge Russia interfered in our election on his behalf. Now we see Putin has hit the jackpot with an invite to return to the G-7. Putin’s 2016 campaign operation has paid off in spades.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 June 2018 at 10:14 am

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