The revelation that the Trump organization from the very genesis of the presidential campaign maintained regular and repeated, if not constant, contact with Russian agents raises many questions. They are like the spokes of a wheel revolving around the one central question: Why was the Trump campaign communicating with the Russians?
What are the plausible explanations for sustained contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians? On what matters might they have been communicating?
We know the Kremlin conducted an extensive covert operation to influence the outcome of the election in Trump’s favor.
We know Trump exhibits an unexplained affinity for Vladimir Putin and an apparent indifference to Putin’s aspiration of restoring the old Soviet empire to its former sphere of influence. The range of plausible explanations must surely include any that might help answer the unavoidable question: Did Trump and his campaign maintain those regular and repeated contacts with the Russians for the purpose of collusion?
Trump’s public statements during the campaign suggest one rather obvious explanation; that the Trump campaign collaborated with the Russians, if not in the hacking itself, on the content of hacked material to be released and on timing of its release. Did the Trump campaign discuss hacked Democratic campaign material with the Russians before it was released to the public?
We know the Russians ran an enormous fake news operation involving some four thousand eastern Europeans who manufactured fake news stories like “Pope Endorses Trump” and the one about how Trump had spent his life feeding the hungry children of the world. It seems perfectly plausible then that the Trump campaign directed information resources, if not funding, to assist the Russians in that operation. How was the money raised to finance the Russians’ huge fake news operation and ultimately pay those four thousand supposedly fluent English speaking fake news writers in eastern Europe? Were any of those eastern European fake news writers provided copy originating elsewhere in English? How did the Russians come across the massive data bases of personal information and the sophisticated digital analytics necessary to target the internet searches of American citizens particularly susceptible to a particular fake new story in particular swing state?
In light of his grandiose personal ambition and his stunning lack of a moral compass, it is entirely plausible that Trump made a deal with the Russians or the promise of a deal in reward for the Kremlin’s assistance to his campaign. Was there a quid pro quo discussed between the Trump campaign and the Russians, such as concessions to Russian oil interests, as well as to other financial interests of the Russian oligarchy, or worse, to Putin’s strategic military interests? Did the Russians make concessions to the financial interests of Donald J. Trump and his cadre?
Those are just the plausible explanations and related questions that come to mind on first blush. There is surely much more to the story. Many more questions are surely going to be raised, including the ultimate question many who have actually seen the intelligence are already asking: What did Trump know, and when did he know it?
In that the question harkens back to Watergate, my instincts tell me the path to the truth will be much the same. This time though, the American people in the full light of day give voice to the plea, “follow the money,” not just a whisper in the ear of a reporter during the dark of night in some DC parking garage. Once and for all, what are Trump’s financial relationships with Russia? Has Trump received financing or other emoluments from Russian oligarchs, corporations, and financial institutions?
Trump says he has no (current) business interests or debts in Russia, but what about past indebtedness to Russian oligarchs and related foreign interests during those several years after his Atlantic City debacle left him unbankable in America? Did Trump repay those debts, or did he leave his creditors hanging out to dry like he did in Atlantic City, or did some debts maybe go poof and disappear into thin air for some reason?
These questions will all be much easier to answer when Trump finally releases his tax returns or, if necessary, when investigators subpoena them. We will continue to look forward to that while urging our senators and congressmen to fulfill their sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
As for plausible explanations that do not cast the dark shadow of treason over the Trump presidency, maybe Trump campaign phone numbers found their way onto the call lists of overly aggressive Russian telemarketers. Maybe the communications were all innocuous, perhaps along the lines of “lonely American SWM seeks attractive Russian SWF” to replies like “Glad you liked my profile Stephen. My name is Olga. Do you have a more recent pic?” Or, maybe Trump was enlisting Putin to join him in his life’s mission to feed the starving children of the world, big announcement coming soon.
I just don’t know. Somebody help me with this. If the Trump campaign’s regular and repeated contact with Russian agents before the election was not for the purpose of collusion, what other plausible explanation could there be for it?
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Accusations are easy to make, difficult to prove, and we rarely see any proof when such as these are made. But it isn't the proof that matters, it's only the seriousness of the accusation, isn't it.
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It seems that communication between anyone in the Trump camp and the Russians was monitored by US intelligence personnel and then subsequently leaked to the media. It’s strange that leaked intelligence information which is a violation of the law is suddenly of great interest to the Democrats who bemoaned, gripped and complained about poor Hillary’s leaked emails. Kind of a double standard in my view.
The FBI has said that nothing points to any collusion on the part of anyone in the Trump camp with the Russians. There are no real ties to Russians and nothing was done wrong according to the FBI. Still the poor Democrats seem to like their double standard and insist that something most be done about this terrible breach of security. Oh, not the breach of trust by the leaker of the information but the breach perceived by the poor losers. The smear tactics used by the liberal left to undermine the Trump administration is ridiculous.