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Trump-Russia Affair

Donald J. Trump may have been compromised by the Russians, became a traitor to his country and may be a Russian spy or mole. Donald J. Trump put Putin and Russian interests above American interests and may have committed treason. Donald J. Trump, Trump Jr. and an unknown number of people from the Trump campaign may have conspired (colluded) to work with the Russians to help elect Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States of America. When Donald J. Trump called on the Russians to get him Clinton’s emails, the Russians started trying to hack Clinton’s emails the same day. Donald J. Trump returned the favor by changing the party platform to soften its rhetoric on Russia and slow walking sanctions against Russia and siding with Putin and Russia over America and our allies. Donald J. Trump Trump may be compromised or/and a mole for Russia. Which explains multiple efforts to set up a back channel with the Kremlin. Donald J. Trump disclosed classified information to the Russians. Donald J. Trump and his campaign lied about their contacts with Russians. When questioned about their contacts with the Russians they attempted to hide, lie, distract and may have destroyed evidence about contacts and connections to the Russians and what they were up to. Donald J. Trump went so far as to dictate a cover story for his son to hide to true reasons for the meeting with the Russians.  

Donald J. Trump his son and his campaign all claimed they did have not contact with any Russians turns out Trump Jr. and his several of Trump's campaign staff did have contacts with the Russians. When they were caught, Donald J. Trump proceeded to construct a cover story that it was about adoptions. Trouble is that’s not what Trump Jr.'s emails say they went there for. They went to get dirt on Hillary from the Russian government. We know Trump Jr. and other members of the Trump campaign were willing to conspire with the Russians government and others to help Trump get elected. The Russians wanted to help Trump win the 2016 election, the email Trump Jr. received offered incriminating evidence against Clinton from the Russian government. Let that sink in for a moment members of the Trump campaign willingly conspired with the Russian government to help Trump get elected President of the United States of America. Many people are saying this is disgusting and far worse than Watergate.

Donald J. Trump and his Republican allies have attacked the FBI, the justice department and our intelligence agencies in an attempt to destroy their credibly in an effort to protect Trump, his son, his campaign and Putin from prosecution. Destroying the credibly of the FBI, the justice department and our other intelligence agencies is un-American but is something Putin or one of his spy’s or moles would do. The Mueller investigation has exposed illegal schemes across international borders and produced more than 100 criminal charges. Mueller has indicted 32 people (26 are Russian nationals) and three Russian companies so far, it not a witch hunt it’s a mole hunt. If Donald J. Trump is a traitor or a mole then he is the enemy of America and the enemy of the people.


Read more about Trump and Russia:

Tracking the Mueller Investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party to help get Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States of America.

The Mueller report, with some redactions, was released on Thursday.



By Sonam Sheth
Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump's fervent defense of Russia at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low," one FBI agent who works in counterintelligence told Insider. At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia's annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump's behavior was "directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office." A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is "overwhelming" that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump's freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he's a "useful idiot" for the Russians. But "it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump's inner circle." "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low." That was the assessment an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence gave Insider of President Donald Trump's performance at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. The agent requested anonymity because they feared that speaking publicly on the matter would jeopardize their job. Trump's attendance at the G7 summit was peppered with controversy, but none was more notable than his fervent defense of Russia's military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine.

By Brett Samuels
President Trump reportedly clashed with other leaders during a private dinner on the opening night of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as he lobbied for Russia's readmission to the organization. The president spent the days prior to the summit suggesting Russia should be allowed to rejoin the group and restated his case throughout the weekend in Biarritz, France. CNN and The Washington Post reported that the president received pushback from other attendees during a dinner on Saturday night. CNN reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those most opposed to the idea. The Washington Post reported that other leaders felt it should carry additional weight if member nations are democracies, while Trump disagreed. The White House declined to comment on the reports. French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that the G-7 members had not reached a consensus on readmitting Russia, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Russia's continued aggression toward Ukraine made it ineligible to rejoin. Russia was expelled in 2014 from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. - What does Ptiuin have on Trump? - Why does Trump continue to do Putin’s bidding? What does Putin have on Trump?

By Daniel Wolfe
Locally sourced Basque food prepared by Michelin-star chefs may have been on the menu, but that didn’t satisfy Donald Trump during a G7 summit dinner in Biarritz, France on Saturday night (Aug. 24). According to reporting by the Guardian, heated debates began when the US president demanded the group readmit Russia. Russia was removed by the previously named G8 after it annexed Crimea in 2014. During the seaside meal, French president Emmanuel Macron and European Council president Donald Tusk opposed Trump’s demands. A diplomat present told the publication that the evening was tense: “Most of the other leaders insisted on this being a family, a club, a community of liberal democracies and for that reason they said you cannot allow president Putin—who does not represent that—back in.” - Why does Trump continue to do Putin’s bidding? What does Putin have on Trump?

On April 18, 2019, a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” (Mueller Report) was released to the public. The Mueller report builds on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that there were two campaigns to elect Donald Trump— one run by Trump and one run by the Russian government. The Mueller report clearly identified collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, despite repeated denials from Trump and many of his senior advisers and close associates that there were any connections between the two campaigns. A total of 272 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives have been identified, including at least 38 meetings. And we know that at least 33 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition, including Trump himself. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them. Beyond the many lies the Trump team told to the American people, Mueller himself repeatedly remarked on how far the Trump team was willing to go to hide their Russian contacts, stating, “the investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.”

By Max Bergmann, Jeremy Venook, and the Moscow Project Team
On January 6, 2017, the United States intelligence community released its unclassified, official assessment of Russia’s unprecedented and unprovoked attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In the report, all 17 intelligence agencies unanimously assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election” with the specific aim of electing Donald Trump. The assessment in effect concluded that there were two campaigns to elect Trump—one operating out of Trump Tower and the other out of the Kremlin. Since then, the Russia investigation has revealed a sprawling scandal: Members of Trump’s campaign, including those in the president’s inner circle, were in constant contact with representatives of the Russian government throughout the election and transition. The two campaigns discussed tactics and policy, including the release of “dirt” on their mutual opponent, Hillary Clinton, and rolling back American sanctions against Russia. And they executed their strategies timed to maximally benefit Trump’s chances of victory. Following the scandal as it unfolds can feel like standing too close to an impressionist painting: It’s easy to see the individual brushstrokes, but much harder to see the whole picture they create. This report, which comprises materials previously published by the Moscow Project along with new research and analysis, takes a step back from the canvas and the day-to-day deluge of stories to provide a clear picture of how Trump’s long history of corruption created one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

By Matthew Rozsa
Here are five irrefutable facts about our president's ties to a foreign adversary
In July 2016, Donald Trump — then still the Republican Party's presidential candidate — openly encouraged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton, then the Democratic Party's nominee for the White House. "I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," Trump told a group of reporters assembled reporters at a news conference. As former special counsel Robert Mueller's report made clear, this was not the beginning of Trump's association with Russia — but it was certainly a flashpoint. As it was then, Trump's coziness with the foreign adversary is far from hidden. Who could forget his joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018? After meeting with the dictator for two hours in Helsinki, Trump told reporters this: "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today."

President Donald Trump on Tuesday (20 August) gave a foretaste of his convention-wrecking diplomacy at next weekend’s G7 by calling for Russia – expelled from the group of democracies – to be readmitted. Coming four days before he arrives at the summit in the French seaside resort of Biarritz, Trump’s support for President Vladimir Putin was likely to be only the first diplomatic hand grenade unleashed on what used to be a cozy club of rich, Western allies. “I could certainly” support that, he told reporters at the White House. “It’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.” Russia was kicked out of the old G8 format after the 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, in Ukraine. Putin has also been accused of orchestrating murders of opponents in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, as well as attempting to manipulate the 2016 US election that saw Trump win a surprise victory. But Trump, in comments that may irk G7 partners meeting from Saturday on the French Atlantic coast, declared that Russia had been expelled because his predecessor Barack Obama had been “outsmarted” by Putin.

These are the highlights of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The central question about the Trump-Russia matter remains unanswered.




By Olivia Beavers
The Russian troll farms that carried out a sophisticated disinformation campaign on U.S. social media platforms in 2016 may have influenced President Trump's standing in public opinion polls during the campaign, according to a new study released Monday. Researchers at the University of Tennessee said that for every 25,000 retweets each week by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), Trump's poll numbers would gain an increase of about 1 percent. "We find that changes in opinion poll numbers for one of the candidates were consistently preceded by corresponding changes in IRA re-tweet volume, at an optimum interval of one week before," the researchers wrote, referring to Trump. "As these tweets were part of a larger, multimedia campaign, it is plausible that the IRA was successful in influencing U.S. public opinion in 2016." Researchers said that as the IRA ramped up its activity, there was a measurable change in opinion polling for Trump. "As the popularity of presidential candidates ebbed and flowed during the 2016 campaign, changes in opinion poll numbers for Trump were consistently preceded by corresponding changes in IRA re-tweet volume, at an optimum interval of one week before. Compared to its time-average of about 38 percent, support for Trump increased to around 44 percent when IRA tweets were at their most successful," the researchers wrote, noting that the "number of tweets per week increased during the campaign." - The Russians helped Trump how much and how many ways we may never know.

On April 18, 2019, a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” (Mueller Report) was released to the public. The Mueller report builds on the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that there were two campaigns to elect Donald Trump— one run by Trump and one run by the Russian government. The Mueller report clearly identified collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, despite repeated denials from Trump and many of his senior advisers and close associates that there were any connections between the two campaigns. A total of 251 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives have been identified, including at least 37 meetings. And we know that at least 33 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition, including Trump himself. None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them. Beyond the many lies the Trump team told to the American people, Mueller himself repeatedly remarked on how far the Trump team was willing to go to hide their Russian contacts, stating, “the investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.” Below is a comprehensive chronological list of the contacts that have been discovered to date and some of the many lies Trump’s campaign, transition team, and White House told to hide them.

The special counsel’s most interesting findings about Trump and Russia might be in the counterintelligence portion of his report.
By Natasha Bertrand
On Sunday afternoon, Attorney General Bill Barr presented a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that contained a few sentences from Mueller’s final report, one of which directly addressed the question of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” In a footnote, Barr explained that Mueller had defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.” Mueller’s full report has not been made available to the public yet, so it’s not clear whether it sets forth everything the special counsel’s office learned over the course of its nearly two-year investigation—including findings about conduct that was perhaps objectionable but not criminal—or whether it is more tailored and explains only Mueller’s prosecution and declination decisions. But national-security and intelligence experts tell me that Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump or his campaign team with a conspiracy is far from dispositive, and that the underlying evidence the special counsel amassed over two years could prove as useful as a conspiracy charge to understanding the full scope of Russia’s election interference in 2016. “As described by Barr, at least, Mueller’s report was very focused on criminal-law standards and processes,” said David Kris, a founder of Culper Partners, who served as the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division under former President Barack Obama. “We won’t know for sure if that is the case, and if it is the case, why Mueller confined himself in that way, until we see the full report.” Kris noted, however, that “there is no question that a counterintelligence investigation would have a wider aperture than a strict criminal inquiry as applied here, and would be concerned, for example, with the motivations and any sub-criminal misconduct of the principal actors.” A counterintelligence probe, he added, would ask more than whether the evidence collected is sufficient to obtain a criminal conviction—it could provide necessary information to the public about why the president is making certain policy decisions. “The American people rightly should expect more from their public servants than merely avoiding criminal liability,” Kris said. A spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee said in a statement on Monday that in light of Barr’s memo “and our need to understand Special Counsel Mueller’s areas of inquiry and evidence his office uncovered, we are working in parallel with other Committees to bring in senior officials from the DOJ, FBI and SCO to ensure that our Committee is fully and currently informed about the SCO’s investigation, including all counterintelligence information.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" during the 2016 campaign, he wrote in his final report. Attorney General William Barr summarized the report's findings in a letter to lawmakers Sunday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the report a "total and complete exoneration of the President of the United States." Barr says Mueller described the facts surrounding his investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice but made no determination as to whether President Trump committed a crime, deferring to Barr. The report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," Barr quotes Mueller as writing.

View the latest news on the Russia investigation and Trump's ties to Russia.

Latest news about the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

Morning Joe takes a deep dive into the Trump-Russia timeline, starting in September 2015, with discussions about a Trump tower project in Moscow.

Donald Trump Jr emails show Russia communication, Emails show he was offered "sensitive" information on Hillary Clinton and replied "I love it".

By JEFF HORWITZ & CHAD DAY
WASHINGTON (AP) — Before signing up with Donald Trump, former campaign manager Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire with a plan to “greatly benefit the Putin Government,” The Associated Press has learned. The White House attempted to brush the report aside Wednesday, but it quickly raised fresh alarms in Congress about Russian links to Trump associates. Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and former Soviet republics to benefit President Vladimir Putin’s government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work. “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Wednesday that President Trump had not been aware of Manafort’s work on behalf of Deripaska. “To suggest that the president knew who his clients were from 10 years ago is a bit insane,” Spicer said. He noted the AP’s reporting “has started to catch a lot of buzz” but said Manafort’s work occurred long before he became Trump’s campaign chairman. “I don’t know what he got paid to do,” Spicer said, adding, “There’s no suggestion he did anything improper.” Manafort’s plans were laid out in detailed documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

By Paul Waldman
Though he has used it only a few times so far, President Trump is clearly enamored of his power to pardon those who have committed federal crimes, no doubt because his decision is not subject to any pesky oversight from Congress or the courts. And it appears that many of the criminals with whom Trump has surrounded himself are, or at least were, eager to have him use that power to benefit them. Though he has used it only a few times so far, President Trump is clearly enamored of his power to pardon those who have committed federal crimes, no doubt because his decision is not subject to any pesky oversight from Congress or the courts. And it appears that many of the criminals with whom Trump has surrounded himself are, or at least were, eager to have him use that power to benefit them. Let’s begin with our good friend Michael Cohen: Michael Cohen’s former legal team reached out to President Trump’s lawyers seeking a pardon, Cohen’s current attorney said late Wednesday, largely settling speculation about who initiated conversations about the matter but raising new questions about whether Cohen was honest in his public testimony to Congress last week. Cohen’s lawyer Lanny J. Davis said in an interview that Cohen directed his former attorney, Stephen Ryan, to contact Trump’s representatives after they “dangled” the possibility of pardons “in their public statements.” Davis did not specify which public statements swayed Cohen, saying only that the outreach took place before federal law enforcement raided Cohen’s home and office in April 2018. But that’s not all: President Trump’s lead lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Wednesday that lawyers for several people facing scrutiny from the Justice Department in the investigations into the Trump campaign and presidency had contacted him to see whether the president would pardon their clients. Several people! Well, you might say, that’s not the president’s fault. Anyone can ask for a pardon. It doesn’t mean he’ll say yes, and Giuliani says his response to these supplicants was that they’d have to wait until the investigation was over before Trump would even consider it (though Trump’s other lawyers had discussions with attorneys for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn about the possibility of pardons). So what could possibly have convinced these people that a man of Trump’s unquestionable integrity would even consider something so unethical as using his pardon power to get free one of his former aides from accountability in an investigation in which he himself is under suspicion? To answer that question, we might start with the extraordinary number of Trump aides and associates who have either been convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes, a list that includes his former national security adviser, his former campaign chairman, his former deputy campaign chairman and his former personal attorney, among others. It’s almost as though people with questionable ethics and a propensity toward criminality gravitate toward him, the kind of people who think that if all else fails they can get the boss to make their problems go away. Then we might move on to the fact that Trump has been trying to obstruct the investigation into the Russia scandal from the beginning. He pressured then-FBI Director James B. Comey to back off the probe of Flynn, and reportedly asked the director of national intelligence to intervene with Comey for the same purpose. Then he fired Comey and said on national television that he did it amid anger over the Russia investigation.

By Ben Kamisar
WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election said Sunday that lawmakers have found “enormous evidence” of possible collusion between President Trump’s orbit and Russians during that election. Appearing on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., disagreed with the assertion by his Republican counterpart on the committee that congressional investigators have found nothing “that would suggest there was collusion.” But Warner made it clear that he’s seriously concerned about a possible link between the Russians and Trump’s allies and campaign apparatus. "I'm going to reserve judgment until I’m finished, but there's no one who can factually say there isn't plenty of evidence of collaboration or communication between the Trump Organization and Russians,” Warner said. “I have never in my lifetime seen a presidential campaign, from a person of either party, have this much outreach to a foreign country and a foreign country that the intelligence community [says], and our committee has validated, intervened massively in our election and intervened with an attempt to help one candidate, Donald Trump, and hurt another, Hillary Clinton.” Warner pointed to congressional testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, both in public and behind closed doors, as more cause for concern. The Virginia Democrat said there are still at least three matters in the “public domain” that need to be investigated further: How far into the 2016 campaign the Trump Organization pushed to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, whether Trump knew in advance that WikiLeaks was going to release hacked Democratic emails and whether the president knew about the infamous “Trump Tower” meeting between top campaign hands and Russians that Donald Trump Jr. took in the hopes of getting “dirt” on Clinton. Cohen alleged during his public testimony that Trump had advanced warnings of both the “Trump Tower” meeting and the WikiLeaks release, something that has not been corroborated by public evidence.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe condemned what he called the "relentless attack" that President Trump has waged against the FBI even as it continues scrutinizing whether Americans in Trump's campaign may have conspired with the Russians who attacked the 2016 election. "I don't know that we have ever seen in all of history an example of the number, the volume and the significance of the contacts between people in and around the president, his campaign, with our most serious, our existential international enemy: the government of Russia," McCabe told NPR's Morning Edition. "That's just remarkable to me." McCabe left the FBI after 21 years last March, when he was dismissed for an alleged "lack of candor" in a media leak probe unrelated to the special counsel investigation. While he declined to conclude that Trump or his advisers colluded with Russia, McCabe said the evidence special counsel Robert Mueller has made public to date — including new disclosures about an August 2016 meeting between former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, whom the FBI has linked to Russian intelligence — "is incredibly persuasive." Trump goes back and forth about what he accepts about the Russian interference in the 2016 election but he denies that he or anyone on his campaign colluded with it. The president and the White House also have focused their attention on McCabe's firing and what critics call the conflict of interest involved with McCabe's wife's political campaign — she ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia legislature as a Democrat.

(CNN) Paul Manafort's latest legal debacle deepened the core intrigue underlying special counsel Robert Mueller's probe: Why have so many of President Donald Trump's associates been caught lying about contacts with Russians? In a significant new twist in the 2016 election saga, a judge ruled Wednesday that Trump's ex-campaign chairman "intentionally" lied to investigators, breaking a deal he had reached as a cooperating witness. The lies, including about meetings with a suspected Russian intelligence asset, were about issues intimately linked to Mueller's wider inquiry, which includes a look into whether there were any links or coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian election interference effort. How Team Trump has changed its story in the Russia probe. Taken in isolation, the new Manafort bombshell would have rocked any presidency, given his senior role in the Trump campaign. But for a White House as cloaked in suspicion as this one, after two years of stunning revelations about Moscow's election interference, it is yet more bad news that will fuel a feverish atmosphere and further crank up pressure on Trump's inner circle. Like many of the stunning reveals from Mueller, the latest Manafort drama also offered tantalizing glimpses into the special counsel's web of investigation but provided no resolution to the long-running Russia puzzle. Mueller has yet to provide any proof of a conspiracy or cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russians, despite obtaining convictions and guilty pleas from a string of the President's former associates.

Repeatedly Trump has praised Putin and put Russian interest above American interest. Trump has been more of a Russian asset than he is an American president.

Trump reportedly keeps finding a way to meet the Russian leader privately. If you’re a US president, it’s probably not a great idea to meet with a foreign leader who meddled in your country’s elections without some way to record what’s being discussed. But that’s just what President Donald Trump apparently did — again. According to the Financial Times, Trump spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin during last November’s G20 summit in Argentina without a US official present to take notes. First lady Melania Trump was by the president’s side during the chat, but no staff joined them. The White House had previously acknowledged that both leaders met for an “informal” talk but didn’t disclose that Trump had no official member of his team present. Putin did have someone, though: his translator, although it’s unclear if that person wrote anything down. This isn’t the first time Trump has done this. During the G20 meeting in Germany in July 2017, he got up from his seat during a dinner in order to sit next to Putin, who did have his translator to help. That meeting, which the White House didn’t initially reveal, came just hours after Trump bought Putin’s denial that Russia didn’t intervene in the 2016 presidential election. Why having no note taker matters: There are two major problems with Trump’s continued and ill-advised conduct. First, the optics. Trump continually finds ways to meet with Putin privately. That’s a really bad look when you consider the fact that US intelligence says the Russian directed a sophisticated campaign to help Trump win the White House, not to mention special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Trump-Russia ties during the 2016 presidential campaign. But second, and more importantly, we’ll never really know what happened during the Trump-Putin chat since only four people were there — Trump, Putin, the first lady, and the translator — and nothing was recorded (that we know of). In addition to this, the administration apparently has no notes of any of the many Trump-Putin interactions over a two-year span. And at least on one occasion in 2017, Trump told his translator after an official meeting with Putin not to share details of the meeting with staff. Trump actually seized his notes. This isn’t a minor clerical issue. It actively hinders some US officials from doing their job when they don’t receive a detailed briefing about what the president discussed with another head of state. Without knowing what they agreed to, fought about, or even laughed at, it’s nearly impossible for the administration to conduct policy accordingly. And let’s not forget that we’re talking about Trump here: the guy who shared highly classified intelligence in a meeting with top Russian officials in the Oval Office back in May 2017 and who has surrounded himself with a high number of pro-Kremlin confidants.

The House speaker also took aim at the indictment of Roger Stone, calling Trump’s choice of friends “staggering.” Following the arrest of longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) delivered a damning rebuke of the president’s choice of friends, questioning the legitimacy of his election and his ties to Russia. “The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people,” the congresswoman said in a statement Friday evening. “It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.” Stone, who was charged with seven counts Friday, including lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, has credited himself with Trump’s presidential run and was an informal adviser to his campaign until the summer of 2015. Stone appears to have seen the indictment coming, often saying that he expected this day to come. In her condemnation of the president, Pelosi accused Trump of continuing to attempt to subvert special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election, arguing it raised serious questions, including “what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially,” and Trump’s motivations behind weighing a NATO pullout. Pelosi said a NATO withdrawal would be a win for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Offering as much insurance as possible that Mueller’s work would be safeguarded, the congresswoman also spoke out against witness intimidation, stating that any effort to “prevent them from appearing before Congress” must be stopped.

The Justice Department added another piece to the puzzle of its Russia investigation on Friday with charges against GOP political consultant Roger Stone — but the full picture still isn't complete. Stone was arrested in Florida following an indictment by a grand jury working with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. He denied breaking the law and said he'll plead not guilty when he's arraigned later in Washington, D.C. Prosecutors say Stone and at least two of his associates served as intermediaries between Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and "Organization 1" — as WikiLeaks is referred to in the court document — which fenced material stolen by the Russian government as part of the Kremlin's scheme to wreak havoc in the 2016 White House race. After WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee in July 2016, "a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone" to ask what else WikiLeaks had planned. Stone then pinged "Person 1" — conservative commentator Jerome Corsi — and instructed him to "get the pending ... emails" from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. That was the start of what appeared to be weeks' worth of indirect communication between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks through Stone and his associates, according to the indictment — and, via WikiLeaks, with Russia's military intelligence agency, the GRU. The charges Stone is facing are about the accounts he gave to Congress about these events. Stone vowed Friday that he'll fight the charges and said he expects to be "vindicated" in court. A Trump lawyer highlighted on Friday that the charges in the Stone indictment, however, aren't about collusion — they're about the statements Stone made to Congress and others.


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