Evidence in the Russian investigation

There have been many claims and counter claims in the investigation into Russian interference in the US election, the most prominent of course being President Donald trump’s denials.

There is good cause to question how both politics and justice operates in the US, especially when judicial investigations involve politicians and and political parties and campaigns.

What evidence is there of interference? Some, like Trump, claim there is none. Others disagree.

David Ignatius (at RealClear Politics): Trump May Decry the Russia Investigation, But the Trail of Evidence Is Long

Trump shouted out his defense earlier this month: “What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion!” he told reporters over the whir of his helicopter on the White House lawn. Since then, Trump’s supporters have been waging a bitter counterattack against special counsel Robert Mueller, alleging bias and demanding: “Investigate the investigators.”

There is a growing, mostly undisputed body of evidence describing contacts between Trump associates and Russia-linked operatives.

From the start of the campaign, Trump spoke of his affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Trump’s aides followed his lead. In March, a young adviser named George Papadopoulos met a London professor who introduced him to a Russian woman described as “Putin’s niece.” This began months of efforts by Papadopoulos to broker Trump-Russia contacts, described in the plea agreement that Mueller announced in October.

Russian operatives by March 2016 had already hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Whether the Trump campaign had any involvement or not, Russian hacking must be of concern to the US – surely a President would be concerned about this. If not, why not?

Through cutouts, the Russians over the next eight months allegedly spooled out damaging information about Clinton to the media, sometimes egged on by Trump and his associates.

Dishing dirt on Clinton was the pitch of a June 3 email to Donald Trump Jr. from the publicist for Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov’s pop-singer son. He said Russian authorities “offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.”

Whether Trump Jr acted on information offered by the Russians or not, surely the fact that it was attempted should be a concern?

Don Jr. eagerly met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9 at Trump Tower. When she claimed that an anti-Putin U.S. businessman had looted money from Russia, Don Jr. pressed her: “He asked if I had any financial documents from which it would follow that the funds stolen from Russia were then involved in financing the Clinton’s Foundation,” she told the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

Trump’s hunt for Clinton emails continued in June, when Jared Kushner hired Cambridge Analytica to do campaign research. The firm learned that WikiLeaks planned to publish a stash of the Clinton material, and Cambridge’s CEO asked Julian Assange “if he might share that information with us,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The involvement of WikiLeaks is also of considerable interest – or it should be.

Trump promised “very, very interesting” revelations about Clinton in June, the same month an alleged Russian cutout dubbed “Guccifer 2.0” began leaking DNC documents.

Trump may not have personally contacted and colluded with Russians, but it seems clear he was the recipient of information from them.

WikiLeaks dumped nearly 20,000 Clinton documents on July 22. Three days later, Trump tweeted: “The new joke in town is that Russia leaked the disastrous DNC e-mails … because Putin likes me.” Two days after that, at a July 27 press conference, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

That could be just stupid and unwise from Trump, but it didn’t look good at the time and it looks worse now that more details are known.

Roger Stone, a Trump friend and sometime adviser, kept beating the WikiLeaks drum through August 2016, saying he was communicating with Assange and that more damaging Clinton leaks were coming. WikiLeaks contacted Don Jr., too, in five messages that continued until Election Day.

“I love WikiLeaks,” said Trump at a rally Oct. 10.

Who was leaking to Wikileaks?

U.S. intelligence agencies said on Jan. 6, 2017, they had “high confidence” that Russian intelligence had used WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 “to release U.S. victim data obtained in cyber operations.” CIA Director Mike Pompeo has since described WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service.”

Normally it would seem very strange that a US president was trying to divert, deny, and bury an investigation into Russian interference in a US election.

But Trump isn’t a normal president.

And the evidence that is publicly known doesn’t look good for him. He makes it look worse by his attacks on the FBI and the investigation.

He doesn’t act like someone innocent of something serious.

39 Comments

  1. David

     /  December 17, 2017

    And there is nothing there that proves collusion, there is an assumption that is denied by all sides that Wikileaks is somehow a puppet of Putin and on its own stands absolute no scrutiny…Assange and Putin I dont think so.
    Hilary,s exposure by Wikileaks is just a continuation of what Assange has always done but this time it wasnt a right wing/spook that was the target so everyone is all bent out of shape.
    The Russia thing has always been a way of the Dems spinning their loss and all we have so far is Democrat Russia collusion, Democrat and FBI collusion and now DOJ and Democrat collusion.
    63% of Americans have no faith in the Meuller investigation and given he employed lawyers who donated to the maximum to Clinton, lawyers who represented the Clinton foundation, lawyer who personally attended Hilary campaign events before we even start on the DOJ guy who,s wife works for Fusion GPS, the FBI guy who,s wife recieved 270k from the Clinton to run for congress now we find out the FBI guy who changed the wording on Hilary,s email from “gross negligence” so it wasnt a crime and his FBI phone is full of hate filled anti Trump texts to his mistress.

    • MaureenW

       /  December 17, 2017

      It does seem odd that those against Trump, those who funded the fake Russian dossier would be colluding with the same country they’re accusing Trump of colluding with. Those who funded the dossier are know to be Clinton through the DNC and in part the FBI and an unnamed Republican thought to be Jen Bush (but not substantiated at this time).
      People talking of the dossier as an insurance policy against a Trump victory – why would that be?
      The DNC emails weren’t hacked and Clinton left her emails on an unencrypted server @Clinton.com, then the FBI failed to hold her to account for her crimes, actually changed the wording from Gross Negligence (criminal behaviour) to extremely careless.
      The fake dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Trump and his team during the election, another criminal act. Anthony Weiner was forwarded Clinton classified emails found on his laptop, why would he have these?

      You should get your sense of smell checked out Pete, all the stink is coming from Clinton, the DNC, the Obama Administration, the corrupt Justice Department and the corrupt FBI.

      • Gezza

         /  December 17, 2017

        There was no collusion. Why would the Russians even need to collude with Trump. He’s easy meat for them without collusion.

  2. George

     /  December 17, 2017

    So far there’s been no evidence of collusion.
    Plenty of democrat claims but no evidence.
    How long are they going to drag this farce out?
    And the accusers should bear in mind what goes round comes round

    • Mefrostate

       /  December 17, 2017

      I mean, there’s endless circumstantial evidence, and Mueller will have much more than us. Plus several arrests have been made already of people close to Trump.

      And notice that the defense by Trump & his media mouthpiece has been to attack Mueller & FBI credibility, rather than provide exculpatory evidence. That’s the strategy of the guilty, not the innocent.

    • Gezza

       /  December 17, 2017

      • MaureenW

         /  December 17, 2017

        Appointed FBI Director just before the 9/11 attacks and went on to sign off the official 9/11 report.
        The confirmation vote on the Senate floor on August 2, 2001, was unanimous, 98–0.[24] He had served as acting deputy attorney- general of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for several months before officially becoming the FBI director on September 4, 2001, just one week before the September 11 attacks against the United States homeland.[5]

  3. Mefrostate

     /  December 17, 2017

    Lots of indications that Trump is gearing up to fire Mueller. How will America react?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 17, 2017

      I would fire someone who spent millions to achieve nothing relevant to his assignment. And who went on fishing expeditions through tens of thousands of documents desperate to find something to justify his existence.

      • Mefrostate

         /  December 17, 2017

        The arrests he’s already made are quite clearly not “nothing”. And that’s only based on what’s public.

        In the interests of further establishing the extent to which you’ll defend Trump, would you consider it acceptable if he took actions to have Mueller fired?

        • Mefrostate

           /  December 17, 2017

          Yesterday you showed your don’t really care about free speech, so I’m quite interested in your thoughts on the rule of law.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 17, 2017

            Yesterday I discovered you don’t care about the facts so I’m not interested in your thoughts on anything, Mefro.

            And my words were “nothing relevant to his assignment” just to correct your misrepresentation here.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              His assignment was to “investigate any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with Trump’s campaign, as well as any matters that may arise directly from the investigation.”

              The arrests so far are quite clearly not “nothing relevant to his assignment”.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              So far he has arrested one man for fibbing and one for well-known business contacts far predating the Trump campaign. Quite clearly nothing relevant to his assignment which was to bring down Trump for the Democrats – and obviously for you too.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              I honestly have no idea why you a downplaying this stuff.

            • MaureenW

               /  December 17, 2017

              @Mefrostate – you have no idea why it’s being played down? Because the Trump/Russia hysteria was invented as an insurance policy against Clinton losing the election.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              @Alan I love how you spend time ranting about biased journalists but then happily link me a blatantly slanted opinion piece. For a more balanced perspective on how Americans are viewing various bits of Trump-Russia, I recommend you go & read the actual poll results.

              @MaureenW OK bud.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              Anyway, the poll results don’t actually tell us anything about the validity or otherwise of the findings of the investigation, regardless of which way the public opinion is swinging. It’s argumentum ad popularum. I’m interested in the actual evidence, of which there’s bundles. Might not prove Trump’s personal guilty, but there’s plenty for any reasonable person to be concerned about.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              The irony is that if Mueller’s assignment had been to investigate any links between Russia and the Clinton campaign there would have been a mountain of damning evidence instead of a molehill of irrelevance.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              As for your claims that my link was “slanted” I thought you should have liked it. It was written by a former member of Bill Clinton’s campaign. But of course you are never satisfied.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              Forget about Trump, what about Hillary!

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              You’re clearly not interested in a genuine exchange on this topic Alan, you’ll defend Trump no matter what. So I’ll avoid your mendacious attempts to continue wasting our time and enjoy my book.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              You are pathetic, Mefro. Again. But just to conclude from my last link:

              Despite all this, the Mueller probe should be allowed to conclude, not because it deserves to finish, but because it would be unfair to the Trump administration to end it. If Mueller is fired, Trump will be blamed. It’s better to let it play out. When Mueller finally has nothing to show for months of interrogations and millions of dollars spent, other than a few process crimes, there will be many questions asked about this enormous witch hunt, and Democrats and the media won’t have good answers.

              Few things are more corrosive to a free society than law enforcement that seeks political ends over justice. Unfortunately, as we see from DOJ actions in the Russia collusion investigation, that is a legacy of the Obama administration that still pollutes our institutions.

              There will have to be a reckoning at DOJ, it is just a question of when.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              If you believe that argument, then why did you begin this “discussion” by making a justification for Mueller’s firing?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              Because the only reason not to fire him is political. Even you should understand that since it is spelt out in the quote above.

            • Gezza

               /  December 17, 2017

              Maybe the best thing would be for both Hillary & Donald to get locked up?
              I wish I could arrange it. It might settle everybody down. Everyone should then be reasonably satisfied that at least whichever one they hate the most is in prison for something.

              Imo, the Demsocrats should be busy right now looking for & promoting their next Presidential candidate. Someone credible. Probably so should the Republicans.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              Alright. You’re honestly not worth the effort Alan. Take that as a win if you like, I don’t care.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              I don’t hate anyone, G, not even Hillary. I would have tolerated her as Pres but Trump is much more fun.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              I’m with you on that, Gezza. Would happily see a full investigation into Clinton’s emails & even uranium one, and will certainly call for her imprisonment if that proves criminal wrongdoing.

              Democrats do need to chill out on the Russia stuff,and focus more on communicating their policy substance. Same problem with their whole campaign last year: they spent so long complaining about Trump being a bigot, and so little on policy, that in the end he was the substantive candidate.

              Specifically they need to present tangible economic policies for blue-collar whites.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              If that was an effort for you, Mefro, you certainly shouldn’t bother trying again.

            • Mefrostate

               /  December 17, 2017

              Got me again Alan! Boy do I look stupid now!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 17, 2017

              Our posts crossed. I would have been more generous if I’d seen you’d finally said something sensible. Prior to that your comments had been mindless.

  4. NOEL

     /  December 17, 2017

    “The twist: The sources say that transition officials assumed that Mueller would come calling, and had sifted through the emails and separated the ones they considered privileged. But the sources said that was for naught, since Mueller has the complete cache from the dozen accounts.”

    What can you say?

  5. MaureenW

     /  December 17, 2017

    Hmm, so nothing about Russia then?

    “The transition emails are said to include sensitive exchanges on matters that include potential appointments, gossip about the views of particular senators involved in the confirmation process, speculation about vulnerabilities of Trump nominees, strategizing about press statements, and policy planning on everything from war to taxes. -Axios
    “Mueller is using the emails to confirm things, and get new leads,” a transition source adds”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-16/mueller-obtained-tens-thousands-trump-transition-emails