2016 Campaign

FBI Investigating Russian Investments Linked to Trump

The FBI “is pursuing at least three separate probes relating to alleged Russian hacking of the U.S. presidential elections,” Reuters reports.

Key takeaway: “This counterintelligence inquiry includes but is not limited to examination of financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The transactions under scrutiny involve investments by Russians in overseas entities that appear to have been undertaken through middlemen and front companies, two people briefed on the probe said.”

For members: What Are Trump’s Ties to Russia?

The Crime May Be Worse Than the Cover Up

David Corn: “Further revelations about contacts between the Trump camp and Russia could pose an existential threat to the Trump White House. The clear choice for him and his gang is to deny, to stonewall, to distract, to lie. Trump doesn’t explain the pre-election contacts; he complains about leaks. He casts all interest in this controversy as merely the revenge of the Clinton losers. He calls reporting on the Russia connection ‘fake news’ and slams journalists pursuing the Flynn story as ‘fake media.'”

“This is not shocking. He might not be able to survive a full accounting. The poison of the cover-up may be less deadly than the poison of the event itself. Only Trump and the people involved can know for sure. But investigations of the Russian contacts now being conducted by the FBI and the congressional intelligence committees—if they are mounted effectively and yield public results—may eventually allow us to see the full calculation. In the meantime, the public can justifiably conclude that when it comes to Trump-Russia connections during the campaign, the Trump team has been covering up for very good reasons.”

Graham Calls for Punishing Russia and Trump Aides

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Russia and any ally of President Trump working with Russia “needs to pay a price” for their involvement in trying to influence the election in Trump’s favor, Politico reports.

Said Graham: “If it is true, it is very, very disturbing to me and Russia needs to pay a price when it comes to interfering in our democracy and other democracies. And any Trump person who was working with the Russians in an unacceptable way also needs to pay a price.”

Trump Aides Had Contacts with Russian Intelligence

“Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election,” the New York Times reports.

“American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee… The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”

“The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation. But 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.”

CNN: “High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence.”

White House Aide Makes False Claims on Voter Fraud

In an ABC News interview, White House senior advisor Stephen Miller doubled down on unsubstantiated New Hampshire voter fraud claims.

Said Miller: “Voter fraud is a serious problem in this country.”

Rick Hasen: “More evidence the ‘Pence Commission’ on voter fraud will be a sham.. And most chilling is Miller referring to DOJ as getting ready to crack down on this non-existent fraud, making it appear more likely this will be an excuse to suppress the votes of those likely to vote for Democrats.”

Trump Claims New Hampshire Was Stolen

Politico: “As soon as the door closed and the reporters allowed to observe for a few minutes had been ushered out, Trump began to talk about the election, participants said, triggered by the presence of former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who lost her reelection bid in November and is now working for Trump as a Capitol Hill liaison, or ‘Sherpa,’ on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.”

“The president claimed that he and Ayotte both would have been victorious in the Granite State if not for the ‘thousands’ people who were ‘brought in on buses’ from neighboring Massachusetts to ‘illegally’ vote in New Hampshire.”

“According to one participant who described the meeting, ‘an uncomfortable silence’ momentarily overtook the room.”

Trump’s Thumbs Up Was Fundraising Gold

“The more often Donald Trump gave his supporters two thumbs up in 2016, the more they cracked open their wallets,” Politico reports.

“That’s one of many lessons the RNC’s digital experiment team learned in 2016 while testing and retesting everything about the Trump campaign’s website, down to the color of the ‘donate’ buttons, according to a new report prepared by the RNC.”

“The best practices included using pictures of Trump with his thumbs up above practically all else for fundraising asks on his campaign website.”

Wounds Still Raw Months After the Election

Reuters: “Burning passions over Donald Trump’s presidency are taking a personal toll on both sides of the political divide. Three months after the most divisive election in modern U.S. politics fractured families and upended relationships, a number of Americans say the emotional wounds are as raw as ever and show few signs of healing, including one California couple who have called it quits after 22 years of marriage.”

“The rancor has not dissipated as it has in the aftermath of other recent contentious U.S. elections. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows it has worsened, suggesting a widening of the gulf between Republicans and Democrats and a hardening of ideological positions that sociologists and political scientists say increases distrust in government and will make political compromise more difficult. The Reuters/Ipsos poll of 6,426 people, taken from Dec. 27 to Jan. 18, shows the number of respondents who argued with family and friends over politics jumped 6 percentage points from a pre-election poll at the height of the campaign in October, up to 39 percent from 33 percent. Sixteen percent said they have stopped talking to a family member or friend because of the election – up marginally from 15 percent.”

Democrats Are Desperate for Bernie’ Email List

Mother Jones: “Campaigns and political action committees regularly purchase supporter lists from other organizations, as a shortcut to raise money and recruit volunteers. Large, lucrative lists can become valuable commodities in the campaign marketplace. (President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign rented his list to Organizing for Action for $1.2 million in 2015.) But former Sanders staffers and consultants scoff at the demand for the list. They way they see it, clamoring for access misses the point. The list wasn’t the campaign’s secret weapon; Sanders was.”

Said senior Sanders adviser Becky Bond: “They keep thinking it’s the list. It’s so crazy. It’s like someone who buys a $12,000 bicycle and thinks they can win the Tour de France.”