Russian Meddling in Election
The United States government announced in October 2016 that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic party operations. Hacked emails had been released publicly, some of which contained embarrassing information about the Democratic Party and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the party's presidential nominee.
Initially, U.S. intelligence agencies did not suggest the Russian hack was intended to help Trump win the election. In December 2016, however, the Central Intelligence Agency told a group of U.S. Senators that Russia had intended to help Trump win the presidency. Continued investigation revealed email accounts of some Republican congressmen, GOP non-profits, and other party organizations had been hacked, but that information had not been released.
The Washington Post quoted a senior U.S. official as saying, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected." Read the Washington Post article.
2017.06.27 A consulting firm led by Paul Manafort, retroactively filed forms Tuesday showing that his firm received $17.1 million over two years from a political party that dominated Ukraine before its leader fled to Russia in 2014. washingtonpost.com (See also Corruption, Conflicts of Interest, Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, 2016 Campaign) 2017.06.29 The Wall Street Journal reports that Russian hackers discussed during the 2016 presidential campaign if they could obtain emails deleted by Hillary Clinton and get them to Michael Flynn, the retired general who was then a member of the Trump campaign. buzzfeed.com (See also Michael Flynn, 2016 Campaign, Corruption) 2017.07.09 Donald Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign. nytimes.com (See also Russia, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, 2016 Campaign, Corruption) 2017.07.09 Trump floated, then seemingly disavowed, a deal for greater cybersecurity with Russia - an idea that drew dismay and mockery from lawmakers of both parties, and which analysts warned could make the US less secure. politico.com (See also Administration Errors, Rex Tillerson) 2017.07.11 The June 3, 2016, email sent to Donald Trump Jr. could hardly have been more explicit: One of his father’s former Russian business partners had been contacted by a senior Russian government official and was offering to provide the Trump campaign with dirt on Hillary Clinton. The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father." nytimes.com (See also Russia, Corruption, Donald Trump Jr) 2017.07.12 Congress and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016. mcclatchydc.com (See also Jared Kushner, 2016 Campaign, Corruption) 2017.07.13 Donald Trump lied today about how Natalia Veselnitskaya entered the United States to meet with his son, campaign manager, and son-in-law. buzzfeed.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Assaults on Facts) 2017.07.14 The Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and others on the Trump team after a promise of compromising material on Hillary Clinton was accompanied by a Russian-American lobbyist — a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who is suspected by U.S. officials of having ongoing ties to Russian intelligence. nbcnews.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Corruption) 2017.07.14 The former Soviet intelligence officer who attended the now-infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and other top campaign officials last June was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy. thedailybeast.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, 2016 Campaign) 2017.07.15 A prominent Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer attended the meeting with Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign chairman last year, adding a new wrinkle to the Trump team’s evolving explanations about the June 2016 session, as this wasn't previously disclosed. apnews.com (See also Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Corruption, 2016 Campaign) 2017.07.19 Trump harshly criticized his attorney general and one of his most loyal supporters, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, indicating that he regretted the choice. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Trump Relationship with Russia, Department of Justice) 2017.07.20 Trump claims Jeff Sessions' recusal is "very unfair" to him. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, Legal Issues) 2017.07.21 Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general. washingtonpost.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russia, Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice) 2017.07.21 The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election counted Russia's FSB security service among her clients for years. reuters.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner) 2017.07.22 Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that U.S. intelligence agencies uniformly believe the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign, despite Trump’s earlier claim there was a misunderstanding between the agencies. thehill.com (See also 2016 Campaign) 2017.07.24 In his first public defense of his meetings with Russian officials during Donald Trump’s campaign and transition, Jared Kushner on Monday presented his encounters with those operatives as innocent interactions, saying "I did not collude." politico.com (See also Jared Kushner, 2016 Campaign, Jeff Sessions) 2017.07.25 Paul Manafort, a top campaign aide to President Trump, appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee early Tuesday morning to answer questions about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. washingtonpost.com (See also 2016 Campaign) 2017.07.31 Trump dictated his son’s misleading statement on meeting with Russian lawyer. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Activity, Donald Trump Jr) 2017.08.02 Instead of looking at Russian meddling in last year’s election, Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and the president’s public drubbing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virgina, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has a different priority: investigating Hillary Clinton. bloomberg.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Corruption, Assaults on Government, Jeff Sessions) 2017.08.02 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation. politico.com (See also Rex Tillerson, Department of State) 2017.08.02 Trump signed a Russia sanctions bill Congress forced on him, adding a statement saying the administration will carry out the law but with reservations about its impact and the constitutionality of some provisions. bloomberg.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia) 2017.08.03 Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase. wsj.com (See also Legal Activity, 2016 Campaign) 2017.08.03 Trump blamed Congress for the United States’ poor relationship with Russia, a day after he signed sanctions legislation that he said was flawed and unconstitutional. nytimes.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Russia, Assaults on Government, Iran, North Korea) 2017.08.07 After Senator Richard Blumenthal voiced support on television for continuing the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election, and expressed concern about the Justice Department’s increased focus on rooting out administration officials who leak information damaging to Trump, the President tweeted that the Senator was "a phony Vietnam con artist," and that "he cried like a baby." washingtonpost.com (See also Unpresidential Behavior, Fascism) 2017.08.14 Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings. washingtonpost.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia)
After leaked emails from Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee were printed in the mainstream U.S. media and elsewhere, Trump invited Russian hackers to continue searching for deleted email. This is an unprecedented invitation for a foreign government to interfere in the United States political process. After 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that the Russian government had sponsored hacking, Trump called the conclusion "ridiculous," an unusual repudiation of reports from intelligence agencies. He also falsely claimed that the Obama administration brought up the concern about foreign meddling in a U.S. election after Clinton's loss. He softened his tone somewhat after Republican leaders pressed for an official inquiry.
From his invitation to Russian hackers to search for Clinton's emails to his rejection of intelligence from multiple agencies and false claim that the concern was raised only after he won the election, Trump has demonstrated disregard for political norms and factual accuracy. He has sided with a foreign government over the conclusions of multiple intelligence agencies in the United States and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Russia has admitted being in touch with Trump's allies during the campaign, making its intent clear despite Trump's denials.
From The New York Times
“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
Trump's relationship with Vladimir Putin following the state-sanctioned cyberattack is "baffling to anyone with a functioning brainstem," according to Van Jones. Source: CNN.
From The New Yorker: The Russian economy has been crippled by 2013 sanctions, giving Putin a reason to engage in a propaganda campaign against the United States and deny the presidency to Hillary Clinton.
From The Weeklings, Greg Olear: DAH, DONALD: RUSSIAN BLOOD MONEY AND THE FBI’S CASE AGAINST TRUMP (2017.01.24)
THIS IS AN ATTEMPT to assemble the pieces in the Trump/Russia jigsaw puzzle, to reveal the Big Picture.
My conclusions were heavily influenced by Louise Mensch‘s eye-opening January 17 essay, “Dear Mr. Putin, Let’s Play Chess.” Other sources include Seth Abramson’s “The Domestic Conspiracy That Gave Trump the Election is in Plain Sight,” which ran on the Huffington Post on the same day, and “A Brief History of the First Russo-American Cyber War,” by War Is Boring’s Bryan E. Frydenborg. The Steele dossier, the “Golden Shower” series of intelligence reports written by Christopher Steele in 2016 and subsequently released by Buzzfeed, was also a useful resource. I have exhaustively fact-checked assertions, linking to a wide range of news sources from across the political spectrum, from the Washington Post to Reuters to Breitbart.
The dramatis personae—the pile of puzzle pieces, if you will—is generally well known to most observers: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, James Comey, Rudy Giuliani, Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “ratfucker” Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Russian moles in the NSA and the FBI’s New York field office, and an obscure Russian hacker named Yvegeny Nikulin.
This is how the pieces fit together. This is how they connect. This is what it means.
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In short, it’s about the money. Which makes sense, given Trump’s disgustingly obvious greed. The Russian oligarchs are laundering money all over creation, and Trump, with his opaque taxes and billion-dollar losses and cash business concerns, is somehow complicit in the scheme. Campaign finance, one imagines, is just the tip of the iceberg.
If he’s shown to be in debt to the Russians and the Chinese, Trump can explain that away. Fake news, he will say. So what. I won, people don’t care. Same with the Russian prostitutes. You can’t shame a man incapable of feeling shame. What is Trump afraid of? Prison. That would be the ultimate downfall for Donald Trump. The loss of his position, his social standing, his fortune, his golden throne, his access to beautiful women willing and otherwise. His Twitter account.
There is no “alternative fact” that can spin the very real possibility that Donald J. Trump will die in federal prison, alone.