As time goes on, the timeline connecting the dots between Donald Trump and the Kremlin continues to paint a clear picture of corruption and collusion. Two massive stories that broke on Monday, one from The New York Times, another from The Washington Post, offer some of the most damning pieces of evidence yet pointing toward the likelihood that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during last year’s election.
Let’s start with an email The New York Times obtained which was sent by Trump business associate Felix Slater to the “president’s” lawyer, Michael Cohen, on November 3, 2015 — several months into Trump’s presidential campaign:
Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin. I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this. I will.
Then a story from The Washington Post centers around an email Cohen sent to Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s top press aide, seeking help for a stalled business deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow:
“Over the past few months I have been working with a company based in Russia regarding the development of a Trump Tower – Moscow project in Moscow City,” Cohen wrote Peskov, according to a person familiar with the email. “Without getting into lengthy specifics the communication between our two sides has stalled.”
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals. I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon,” Cohen wrote.
That email took place in January 2016, a few weeks after Slater told Cohen they could “get Donald elected” and they could “engineer it” and get Putin to “buy in” on it.
Cohen told The Washington Post that this business deal wasn’t tied in with Trump’s campaign, saying it failed for various reasons, including distrust with their ability to secure the financing and the land for the project.
So let me get something straight, Slater contacts Cohen (though there’s no evidence as of yet that Cohen contacted him back), promising that he could get Putin to “buy into” helping them “engineer” their “boy” (Donald Trump) to become president, while also claiming he had secured financing for a deal involving a Trump Tower in Moscow. Then, shortly after those emails, Cohen was reaching out to top Kremlin officials trying to get help concerning — wait for it — building a Trump Tower in Russia. Keep in mind this all went on while Trump was running for president, as he repeatedly denied he had any business deals or links to Russia, yet Cohen is claiming that nothing related to this business deal had anything to do with the campaign?
How stupid does someone have to be to believe that?
It’s also important to not forget about the meeting Trump’s eldest son had with a Kremlin-backed attorney who had promised him dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of the Russian government’s effort to help his father become president. Emails Those emails included comments such as:
Goldstone: Good morning
Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.
The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.
This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.
What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?
I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.
Trump Jr.: Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.
Goldstone: Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so wanted to try to schedule a time and day.
Goldstone: Emin asked that I schedule a meeting with you and The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow for this Thursday.
I believe you are aware of the meeting – and so wondered if 3pm or later on Thursday works for you?
I assume it would be at your office.
Oh, then there’s always the fact that throughout his campaign, and even now, Trump has refused to say anything negative about Russia or Vladimir Putin. That includes sometimes praising the Russian leader, repeatedly casting doubt on U.S. intelligence reports identifying Russia as the country that launched a cyber attack against last year’s election, and Trump’s recent criticism of new sanctions levied against Russia in retaliation for hacking the DNC and Clinton’s campaign manager which he had no choice but to sign.
Then, of course, there are the odd number of people Trump has around him who have ties to Russia, the secret meetings many of his associates had during the 2016 campaign with Russian officials, and the fact the “president” still refuses to release his tax returns.
We should also take into account some of the allegations that were made in the infamous Steele dossier:
In early July of 2016: According to Steele’s Russian sources, the Trump campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like Wikileaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump Administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fare share – policies which, even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel, have now presciently come to pass.
Just to remind everyone, at the RNC’s convention that July, Trump’s campaign had the GOP remove their anti-Russia stance on Ukraine from the party’s platform.
This report by Steele also came just a few weeks after Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer who promised him dirt on Clinton as part of Russia’s “support” for his campaign, and just before Wikileaks began dumping emails that had been stolen from the DNC via the Russian cyber attack.
Wait, we also can’t forget longtime Trump ally Roger Stone who not only admitted he had back channel ties with Wikileaks, in August of last year, seemed to indicate that he knew John Podesta’s emails had been hacked — weeks before anyone knew they had them.
By the way, Wikileaks began dumping those emails within hours of the Access Hollywood video being released where Trump bragged about being a sexual predator.
If I were Trump, what would worry me the most is that this information is probably a fraction of what Robert Mueller and the FBI already have.
I believe what I’ve listed here paints a pretty solid picture of Trump’s associates, business partners, campaign officials, and family members having rather frequent, detailed communications with several Russian officials tied to the Kremlin — all during a presidential campaign that was aided by a cyber attack launched by Russia that helped Trump “win” last November.
I get the feeling we’re still a long way from this all reaching its conclusion, but with each new revelation, it’s becoming more and more clear that Trump’s campaign was happy to look for, hope for, and quite possibly accept any and all help they could get from Russia during last year’s election.
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