Donald Trump’s Campaign Aides Were In Contact With Russian Intelligence During The Election

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American Intelligence officials have long since concluded that Russia interfered in our election to help Donald Trump, but now the other giant Russian boot has dropped. The New York Times reports tonight that American intelligence and law enforcement officials have confirmed that members of Trump’s campaign for the presidency (as well as Trump associates) had contact with Russian intelligence officers during the presidential campaign.
As reported by GQ, the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.
The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the Russian government outside of the intelligence services, the officials said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.
Now the officials have said that so far there’s been no evidence that these calls were about manipulating the American election. We know that Russia hacked the DNC and John Podesta’s emails in what proved to be a successful effort to sway our election. Donald Trump’s campaign aides and close associates were in frequent contact with Russian government officials. One campaign aide who was allegedly in contact with Russia was Trump’s pre-Steve Bannon campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who gave the Times one of the least convincing denials anyone could imagine.
“This is absurd,” he said. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”
So Paul Manafort’s defense is basically, Who’s to say who is or who isn’t a Russian intelligence officer ? This may end up being the biggest political scandal in the history of the republic.

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