Trump Campaign “A Grave Counterintelligence Threat” Says Republican Controlled Committee
Today, the Republican controlled Senate Intelligence Committee released a 5th comprehensive report on Russian meddling in the election. To quickly summarize, this 1,000 page report completely repudiates Trump’s claim that the Russia investigation was an unjustified “hoax,” provides compelling evidence justifying the investigation, and suggests that Trump committed perjury and that Roger Stone’s pardon was corruptly motivated (bribery).
As did prior reports, this report concluded that “the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election” and that this effort was aimed at helping Trump and hurting Clinton. The Republican-controlled committee found all of this was directly ordered by Trump’s buddy, Vladimir Putin.
“The Committee found that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian effort to hack computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party and leak information damaging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign for president. Moscow’s intent was to harm the Clinton Campaign, tarnish an expected Clinton presidential administration, help the Trump Campaign after Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and undermine the U.S.democratic process.”
I’d say the Russian GRU can check off a big “mission accomplished” for all of those objectives.
However, the biggest bombshell from the report involves Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. After detailing over a decade’s close contacts between Manafort and Russian intelligence operatives, the Republican-controlled committee found Manafort assisted Russian intelligence efforts to support the Trump Campaign.
“The Committee found that Manafort’s presence on the Campaign and proximity to Trump created opportunities for Russian intelligence services to exert influence over, and acquire confidential information on, the Trump Campaign. Taken as a whole, Manafort’s high level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat.”
Read that again. A Republican-controlled committee just stated that the Trump Campaign posed “a grave counterintelligence threat” to the United States of America. Obviously the FBI would have to investigate such “a grave counterintelligence threat.” It’s what they do. Remember that statement whenever you see Trump say something like this.
The report details how Manafort continued to be this danger after he was no longer campaign manager, and even after the election, as he continued his contacts with the Russians and the campaign, transition team, and administration.
Additional statements from the Republican-controlled committee detail the role of Wikileaks as a Russian pawn, Roger Stone as a conduit for Wikileaks to the Trump Campaign, and Trump’s direct involvement in it all.
“WikiLeaks actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort . . .
While the GRU and WikiLeaks were releasing hacked documents , the Trump Campaign sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump’s electoral prospects. Staff on the Trump Campaign sought advance notice about WikiLeaks releases, created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release, and encouraged further leaks. The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and WikiLeaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort . . .
Trump and senior Campaign officials sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks’s planned releases through Roger Stone. At their direction, Stone took action to gain inside knowledge for the Campaign and shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior Campaign officials on multiple occasions. Trump and the Campaign believed that Stone had inside information and expressed satisfaction that Stone’s information suggested more releases would be forthcoming.”
In regard to the emphasized portion in the final paragraph, you may remember that Trump refused a direct interview with Mueller’s team, but instead submitted written responses, under oath.
In those questions Trump was repeatedly asked whether he, or any others in the campaign that he was aware of, had any conversations with Stone about Wikileaks, information Stone was getting from it, or the campaign’s use of it. Trump repeatedly answered “I have no recollection” to such questions. Here’s an example of such questions where Trump asserted “no recollection”:
Consider this sweeping question from Mueller’s office:
From June 1, 2016 through the end of the campaign, how frequently did you communicate with Roger Stone? Describe the nature of your communication(s) with Mr. Stone.
i. During that time period, what efforts did Mr. Stone tell you he was making to assist your campaign, and what requests, if any, did you make of Mr. Stone?
ii. Did Mr. Stone ever discuss WikiLeaks with you or, as far as you were aware, with anyone else associated with the campaign? If yes, describe what you were told, from whom, and when.
iii. Did Mr. Stone at any time inform you about contacts he had with WikiLeaks or any intermediary of WikiLeaks, or about forthcoming releases of information? If yes, describe what Stone told you and when.
To these questions Trump answered as follows:
“I spoke by telephone with Roger Stone from time to time during the campaign. I have no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016 and November 8, 2016. I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign, although I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”
Read that and try to reconcile it with the Senate’s conclusion that Stone “shared his purported knowledge directly with Trump and senior Campaign officials on multiple occasions” and that Trump “believed that Stone had inside information and expressed satisfaction.”
Of course, Stone could directly contradict Trump’s claim of no knowledge, but he didn’t. Stone did not cooperate with the investigation. Instead Stone lied, and threatened to murder another witness, and was convicted for it. When sentencing Stone, the judge directly said that Stone “was not prosecuted for standing up for the president; he was prosecuted for covering up for the president.”
Hours before the President exercised his pardon power to completely commute the jail sentence of a man convicted by a jury, that man made clear the President owed it to him.
“He knows I was under enormous pressure to turn on him. It would have eased my situation considerably. But I didn’t.” — Roger Stone
A more clear statement of a request for a quid pro quo (this for that) is not possible. Roger Stone effectively said, “I did this for you, and now you need to do this for me.” And Trump did. Can more clear proof of the corruption behind Trump’s pardon of Stone be possible? This was bribery, plain and simple.
The Republican committee has detailed how the Trump Campaign was a compromised security risk to this nation. The Russia investigation was not a hoax. The committee also strongly suggests that Roger Stone frustrated a legal case for collusion by covering up for the President, and act which bought a pardon.