President Donald Trump often says there was “no collusion” with Russia. A bipartisan Senate report now reveals that Trump’s campaign had contacts with Russia. And if the argument is still made there was no collusion it can’t be said that there was no coordination. It also paints a picture of Russia seeing a lot of openings with the Trump campaign and administration and making the best of them.
The bottom line: the Trump campaign wanted and welcome Russian help to defeat Hillary Clinton.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released Tuesday the most comprehensive and meticulous examination to date explaining how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign adversary’s help, revealing new information about contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump during and after the campaign.
In several key ways, the committee’s counterintelligence investigation goes beyond the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller released last year, as the Republican-led Senate panel was not limited by questions of criminality that drove the special counsel probe.
Among the key findings:
**That then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort was working with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence officer, and sought to share internal campaign information with Kilimnik. The committee says it obtained “some information suggesting Kilimnik may have been connected” to Russia’s 2016 hacking operation and concludes Manafort’s role on the campaign “represented a grave counterintelligence threat.”
**That Trump and senior campaign officials sought to obtain advance information on WikiLeaks’ email dumps through Roger Stone, and that Trump spoke to Stone about WikiLeaks, despite telling the special counsel in written answers he had “no recollections” that they had spoken about it.
**That information offered at the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting “was part of a broader influence operation” from the Russian government, though there’s no evidence Trump campaign members knew of it. Two of the Russians who met with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Manafort had “significant connections” to the Russian government, including Russian intelligence, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s ties were “far more extensive and concerning than what had been publicly known.”
**That Russian-government actors continued until at least January 2020 to spread disinformation about Russia’s election interference, and that Manafort and Kilimnik both sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, and not Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
**That Russia took advantage of the Trump transition team’s inexperience and opposition to Obama administration policies “to pursue unofficial channels,” and it’s likely that Russian intelligence services and others acting on the Kremlin’s behalf exploited the Transition’s shortcomings for Russia’s advantage.
**That the FBI may have been victim to Russian disinformation coming through intelligence sources such as the Trump dossier author Christopher Steele.
**And that campaigns, political leaders and other influential Americans must be even more diligent in the future not to fall victim to Russian interference, given the extent of Russia’s efforts and successes to reach campaign operatives in 2016.
Even if you read the Senate Intelligence report with the most brain dead, Trump-colored glasses, you would wonder why he can’t stop vilifying the Obama Administration from spying on his campaign, but never had an issue with Russia doing so.
— Nick Mortensen (@nickmortensen) August 18, 2020
Senate Intelligence Committee Report paints much more damning view of Trump Campaign's 2016 interaction with Russia than Mueller Report-says campaign chair posed a “grave counterintelligence threat” and further implicates Donald Trump Jr and Jared Kushner. https://t.co/rYoIr3TzsL
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) August 18, 2020
Don’t miss these facts:
– Russia interfered in 2016 to help Trump
– Senate Intel found Trump campaign was interested & “created opportunities” for Russian intel.
-Russia is interfering again in 2020
-Trump has never warned it away. https://t.co/7JJAzTvnUZ
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) August 18, 2020
Is the American outage meter so broken or are we so numb that a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report that links Manafort to a Russian spy who hacked the DNC is not proof enough that Russia and Trump rigged the election in 2016?! https://t.co/RrqvQe99Yi
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) August 18, 2020
The SSCI report seems to confirm two things we knew:
1. Trump solicited, welcomed, and benefited from Russian interference.
2. There wasn't sufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime.
The fact we've let 2. become the excuse to ignore 1. was and is a national failure.
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) August 18, 2020
(DOCUMENT) You can—and should—read the epic Senate counterintelligence report on the 2016 Trump campaign's repeated collusion with Russian nationals, Russian intelligence agents and Kremlin cutouts prior to the 2016 presidential election at the link below: https://t.co/UEHoS4JQHM
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) August 18, 2020
The Senate Intelligence Committee released the most comprehensive and meticulous examination to date explaining how Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign welcomed the foreign adversary's help. https://t.co/smf8JiRInz
— Robert Cooper ? (@RobertCooper58) August 18, 2020
The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a “grave” counterintelligence threat, a Senate panel concluded in a report issued Tuesday.
— Michiko Kakutani (@michikokakutani) August 18, 2020
A hoax? The bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report says "Kilimnik likely served as a channel to Manafort for Russian intelligence services." That is, Trump's campaign manager was being exploited by Russia intelligence, as Russia attacked the election to help Trump. Wow. pic.twitter.com/SJ6cwmXHhg
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) August 18, 2020
Senate intel says Trump Administration obstructed the Russia probe, Donald trump was aware of what Roger Stone was doing, and It also reveals new evidence of trumps acceptance of Russia’s involvement in his campaign. In other words he knew Russia was cheating for him
— katherine ?????????? (@katherineOma) August 18, 2020
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.