Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence (The New York Times link): Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
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, three of the officials said. 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 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. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.
The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the Russian government outside of the intelligence services, the officials said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.
‘That’s the definition of treason’: Democratic lawmaker levels serious charge against Trump administration (Raw Story link): Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) used the word “treason” when describing Gen. Michael Flynn’s actions. However, his concern is not Flynn but the role the president played in these series of Russian scandals.
“The bigger problem, the scandal of the century, not the scandal of the week, is this ongoing relationship with Russia,” the former Marine told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Tuesday. “There is no question it’s the unequivocal conclusion of all our intelligence agencies that Russia wanted Donald Trump to be elected president. Either that’s just because they think Trump is Putin’s buddy and he is going to do his bidding or because they have material they can use against the administration. We don’t need to just know what Flynn knew or when his associates in the White House knew, we need to know what Russia knows and what they still hold over the heads of the people in the White House.”
Moulton said he doesn’t believe anything in Washington happens in a vacuum, whether it’s a meeting or a phone call.
“Let’s not lose perspective on exactly who we’re talking about here,” he continued. “If members of the administration are essentially conspiring with Russia, either through the campaign earlier, now than the — look, Wolf, that’s the definition of treason. This is a very, very serious affair. We all have to understand what’s going on with Michael Flynn, but we can’t let this little scandal or perhaps a big scandal at the moment let us lose sight of the much bigger scandal, which is what is the overall connection between Russia and the Trump administration.”
Moulton now serves on the House Armed Services Committee and served in the Iraq War.