Exactly who was speaking with members of the Russian government, and how closely the Trump campaign was connected to Russian interests, has dogged the White House since the election, and stories keep popping up surrounding figures like Paul Manafort. As Trump aides have gone from stating they had no communication with Russia to admitting they did, in fact, have communication with it, the question has loomed about just what those connections were. And if the last paragraph of a Guardian piece that ran today is true, it appears that we’re about to find out.
In an analysis of how data on Trump and Russia was collected by foreign intelligence agencies, the Guardian states that British spies were the first to call attention to the Trump campaign’s possible links with Russia. The publication then ends its report with this somewhat cryptic paragraph:
One source suggested the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.”
To be fair, that smoking gun could be simple internet videos. Trump supporter and campaign adviser Roger Stone has admitted on air to associating with DNC email leaker Guccifer 2.0, which the intelligence community generally views as a Russian attempt to disguise the email leak as the act of an independent entity.
Nor are Stone and Manafort the only members of Trump’s circle that has publicly acknowledged that they’ve interacted with members of the Russian government. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, campaign advisor Carter Page, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen have all been forced to acknowledge potentially inappropriate contacts with Russian authorities, including alleged spies. Furthermore, it was revealed this week that Trump’s trusted advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner failed to disclose multiple meetings with various Russian interests in his security clearance form.
In other words, there’s much for the intelligence community to suss out, here. And if they do have a smoking gun, the question becomes who it implicates.
(via The Guardian)