2016 Campaign

Trump Offered Meeting with Putin at Start of Campaign

“About a month after Donald Trump launched his presidential bid, a British music promoter suggested his Russian pop-star client could arrange for the new candidate to meet with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin,” according to an email obtained by the Washington Post.

“The July 2015 offer by publicist Rob Goldstone came about a year before he set up a meeting for Trump’s eldest son with a Russian lawyer who he said had incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.”

How Trump Refuses to Acknowledge the Putin Threat

“In the final days before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, members of his inner circle pleaded with him to acknowledge publicly what U.S. intelligence agencies had already concluded — that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was real.” the Washington Post reports.

“But as aides persisted, Trump became agitated. He railed that the intelligence couldn’t be trusted and scoffed at the suggestion that his candidacy had been propelled by forces other than his own strategy, message and charisma.”

“Told that members of his incoming Cabinet had already publicly backed the intelligence report on Russia, Trump shot back, ‘So what?’ Admitting that the Kremlin had hacked Democratic Party emails, he said, was a ‘trap.'”

Schiff Says Evidence of Collusion is ‘Pretty Damning’

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that there is considerable evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Said Schiff: “We have all of these facts in chronology, you’d have to believe that these were all isolated incidents, not connected to each other — just doesn’t make rational sense… We do know this: the Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help, the Russians gave help and the president made full use of that help. That is pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not.”

A Humiliating Debacle for CNN

Glenn Greenwald: “It’s impossible to convey with words what a spectacularly devastating scoop CNN believed it had, so it’s necessary to watch it for yourself to see the tone of excitement, breathlessness and gravity the network conveyed as they clearly believed they were delivering a near-fatal blow to the Trump/Russia collusion story.”

“There was just one small problem with this story: it was fundamentally false, in the most embarrassing way possible. Hours after CNN broadcast its story – and then hyped it over and over and over – the Washington Post reported that CNN got the key fact of the story wrong.”

Email to Trump Referred to Information Already Public

“A 2016 email sent to President Trump and top aides pointed the campaign to hacked documents from the Democratic National Committee that had already been made public by the group WikiLeaks a day earlier,” the Washington Post reports.

Axios says this reporting “massively changes the significance of this story” and “caps off a week of huge reporting blunders on the Russia probe after ABC News mischaracterized Michael Flynn’s planned testimony and Reuters and Bloomberg misreported the target of a Mueller subpoena of Deutsche Bank.”

Email Shows Trump Was Offered Wikileaks Documents

“Candidate Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump Organization received an email in September 2016 offering a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents,” CNN reports.

“The September 4 email was sent during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential race — two months after the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee were made public and one month before WikiLeaks began leaking the contents of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.”

”The individual was able to obtain the email addresses for Trump Jr. and his personal assistant, as well as an email that congressional investigators believe was for then-candidate Trump, although he rarely uses email.”

Russian Social Media Firm Sought to Help Trump

“An executive at a leading Russian social media company made several overtures to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 — including days before the November election — urging the candidate to create a page on the website to appeal to Russian Americans and Russians,” the Washington Post reports.

“The executive at Vkontakte, or VK, Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, emailed Donald Trump Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino in January and again in November of last year, offering to help promote Trump’s campaign to its nearly 100 million users, according to people familiar with the messages.”

Emails Show Follow Up to Trump Tower Meeting

“The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump’s inner circle later that summer, multiple sources told CNN, the first indication there was any follow-up after the meeting.”

“The emails raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session.”

More Charges May Be Coming In Russia Probe

“Robert Mueller may not be through with Rick Gates, a deputy Trump campaign aide and one of the four people who have been charged as part of the special counsel probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election,” CNN reports.

“In a court appearance Monday in Manhattan, Gates’ attorney Walter Mack said that federal prosecutors have told him that more charges, called superseding indictments, may be coming.”

Trump Jr. Sought Clinton Info from Russian

“Donald Trump Jr. asked a Russian lawyer at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting whether she had evidence of illegal donations to the Clinton Foundation,” the lawyer told the Senate Judiciary Committee in answers to written questions obtained by NBC News.

“The lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, told the committee that she didn’t have any such evidence, and that she believes Trump… Once it became apparent that she did not have meaningful information about Clinton, Trump seemed to lose interest.”

Pence Contemplated Coup to Replace Trump on Ticket

Following the release of the Access Hollywood tape last year, Vice President Mike Pence made it clear to the RNC he was ready to take Trump’s place as the presidential nominee, The Atlantic reports.

“The furtive plotting, several sources told me, was not just an act of political opportunism for Pence. He was genuinely shocked by the Access Hollywood tape. In the short time they’d known each other, Trump had made an effort to convince Pence that—beneath all the made-for-TV bluster and bravado—he was a good-hearted man with faith in God. On the night of the vice-presidential debate, for example, Trump had left a voicemail letting Pence know that he’d just said a prayer for him. The couple was appalled by the video, however. Karen in particular was ‘disgusted,’ says a former campaign aide. ‘She finds him reprehensible—just totally vile.'”

Manafort Accused of Violating Bail Conditions

Special counsel Robert Mueller accused President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of working with a Russian colleague to draft an opinion piece about his political work for Ukraine, Reuters reports.

“Had it been published, prosecutors say it would have violated a Nov. 8 court order not to discuss the case publicly… Due to Manafort’s actions, prosecutors said the judge should reject his request to modify his bail conditions.”

The Biggest Scandal In American History

Brian Beutler: “If the story were to end where we are right now, with no further confessions or indictments or revelations, it would still amount to the biggest scandal in American political history. In the real world, Robert Mueller has flipped Flynn and allowed him to plea to (much) lesser crimes, most likely in exchange for incriminating evidence against Trump campaign and administration highers-up.”

“Meanwhile, Trump’s pretense that Flynn did no wrong but to lie to Vice President Mike Pence is falling apart, as it becomes increasingly clear that Flynn was honest with the entire team about his communication with Russian agents, and they all agreed to tell lies about it to the public. Trump admitted on Saturday that he knew Flynn had repeated those lies to the FBI at the time he ousted Flynn, and at the time he beseeched FBI Director James Comey to let Flynn off the hook. The president is for this and a myriad other reasons the subject of an obstruction investigation.”