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NYT and CNN report Trump team in contact with Russian agents during campaign

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 6:16
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Here is the Washington Times.

The missives comes as multiple news outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, reported Tuesday that Russian officials were in touch with members of Mr. Trump’s team during the presidential campaign last year.

Advisers close to Mr. Trump were in “constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence,” CNN reported.

Among those supposedly communicating with Russian nationals was former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the report said. Mr. Manafort denied that he ever knowingly talked to any intelligence official “or anyone in Russia regarding anything of what’s under investigation.”

“I have never had any connection to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or the Russian government before, during or after the campaign,” he told CNN.

Mr. Trump and his team have consistently denied any contacts between the campaign and Russian officials ahead of November’s election.

The New York Times did make this important disclaimer.

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.

So no evidence of, well, anything.

Several members of Team Trump has ties to Russia, this isn’t in dispute and never was. It is entirely plausible that they may have inadvertently spoken with Russian intelligence agents. It’s not like they wear uniforms. That isn’t in itself evidence of wrongdoing.

The optics are bad, however. Mr. Trump has flip flopped a time or two on just about every issue but he has stayed remarkably consistent in his positive assessment of Mr. Putin. He has demonstrated a willingness to harshly criticize China, Mexico, Germany, Australia… but not Russia.

For his part, Mr. Trump has engaged in angry Tweeting.


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