Donald Trump shall officially become U.S. president at noon on Friday, but the Russia thing isn’t going away anytime soon … if ever. Now, a New York Times report claims that authorities and U.S. intelligence agencies are digging into three Trump associates after intercepting some communications and financial information, which could establish links to Russian leaders. Between this new revelation, the FBI and CIA’s agreement that Russia hacked in an effort to get Trump get elected, and the “Golden Showers” dossier, Russia will definitely be looming over the Inauguration Day festivities.
One of the Trump associates under scrutiny is Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, whose possible ties to Russia and the appearance of his name in a secret Ukraine ledger are probably the reason he resigned. The NY Times says — surprise — Roger Stone is also being probed:
Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
The NY Times hasn’t determined which Russian officials may be involved in this probe or what the intercepted conversations revealed. The paper also notes the high threshold for prosecutions in cases like these, but ultimately, this counterintellgence investigation will examine ties between the foreign power and American citizens. The NY Times isn’t subtle about how Trump’s new powers aren’t to be ignored:
The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.
So, Trump could shut much of the investigation down as soon as he becomes president. Will he go there?
Just FYI, Roger Stone’s name in this report is telling, for his behavior during the election was legendary. He was ordered by a judge not to harass or intimidate Democratic voters at the polls in his efforts to “monitor” the election. He’s also the subject of a seriously insane InfoWars post, in which he claims to have been poisoned by Polonium, which — um — is what Vladimir Putin’s associates used to murder a former KGB spy in 2006. Stone tweeted his belief that “I was poisoned to stop me from exposing the ‘Russian Hacking’ LIE b4 the Congressional Investigation.” Huh.
(Via New York Times)