In a cascade of tweets, Trump argues: Any talk of a Russian connection is “fake news.” The media should focus on finding the leakers. It’s Obama’s fault. What Hillary did was worse. And the entire Russian/Trump connection story is fabricated by Democrats who still can’t accept the fact that he won the election.
Let’s start with what we know. One. Indisputable fact: The Russian government actively intervened in the 2016 presidential election in order to help Donald Trump win. That fact was confirmed unanimously by 17 U.S. intelligence agencies on Oct. 7, 2016, and compared to “an act of war” by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Whether Russians were responsible for Trump’s success or not is unknown. But, no doubt, they got the outcome they wanted.
What we also know. Two. At least eight people on Trump’s team had close ties with Russian officials. Paul Manafort, campaign manager, was paid $10 million to improve Vladimir Putin’s image worldwide, assisted by his deputy and Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. Michael Flynn gave a paid speech in Moscow, dined with Putin and chatted with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions. Jared Kushner, Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsC-SPAN to air Trump travel ban arguments live Trump faults DNC in Russian email hacks Sessions: Dems will pass anything ‘as long as it doesn’t work’ MORE and foreign policy advisor Carter Page also met with Kislyak. At Kislyak’s request, Kushner held a “business meeting” with the head of Russia’s outlawed VEB bank.
The list continues. Longtime Trump advisor Roger Stone admits ongoing contacts with Guccifer 2.0, head of the Russian/Democrat National Committee hacking operation. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a close friend of Putin’s and was honored with the Russian government’s Order of Friendship award.
Does that add up to collusion? No. At least, there’s no evidence of that yet. But it does add up to multiple contacts between the Trump operation and Russian officials, including Russian intelligence officials. In other words, the Russian connection is not “fake news.” It’s real. It’s extensive. And it’s troubling.
Will we ever know the full story? Will we ever get to the bottom of Russian efforts to interfere in the election and what collusion, if any, took place between Russian officials and Trump staffers? Not if Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has anything to do with it. He’s more interested in covering up for Donald Trump than learning the truth.
Any lingering doubts about his credibility disappeared when Nunes suddenly announced discovery of documents that proved Trump Tower was under surveillance. Nunes would not reveal his source, but insisted these documents were so explosive he had “a duty” to run to the White House and brief President Trump. Days later we learned that Nunes’s source was the White House itself. He’d “laundered” the documents by picking them up there one day and rushing back there the next. Plus, they proved nothing.
In effect, the House Intelligence Committee no longer exists. There are no hearings scheduled and no ongoing investigation. White House puppet Nunes is helping Donald Trump change the subject.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.” The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.
The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.