Former DOJ official explains the most damning evidence that Trump is doing Putin's bidding
With the news that the FBI reportedly opened a counterintelligence probe to determine with President Donald Trump is or has been an asset of the Russian Federation, journalists and commentators are poring over the history of his campaign and his time in office in search of evidence for this possibility.
As should be clear to anyone who's paying attention, there's no shortage data points suggesting that Trump is doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Conservative writer Max Boot wrote a piece for the Washington Post this weekend documenting 18 known facts that build the case for a nefarious relationship between the Kremlin and the U.S. president. These facts were already widely known, but having them all put together in this context is still startling in its own way.
Others have since added to the list, pointing to the Trump campaign's softening of language on Ukraine in the 2016 GOP platform, the president's decision to tell Russian officials in the Oval Office about highly sensitive classified intelligence about an Israeli asset, and his anger at subordinates when they've taken a strong line against Russia.
But perhaps the single most damning piece of evidence was pointed out by Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general in the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama:
Great outline of the evidence by @maxboot. I feel he misses 1 impt thing IMHO: The FBI warned Trump+his campaign in… https://t.co/9KJnfs6EjL— Neal Katyal (@Neal Katyal)1547440934.0
NBC News reported in December 2017 about the FBI briefing during the campaign. It explained:
By the time of the warning in late July or August, at least seven Trump campaign officials had been in contact with Russians or people linked to Russia, according to public reports. There is no public evidence that the campaign reported any of that to the FBI.
After the FBI warning, the candidate's son, Donald Trump Jr., exchanged Twitter messages in September with Wikileaks, which the U.S. intelligence community publicly accused in October of acting as an agent in Russia's covert operation to interfere in the election.
Trump Jr. at that point in 2016 had already been in contact with a woman he knew worked for the Russian government as part of an arrangement to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton. But he had publicly lied and said that there was no connection to Russia and that the Kremlin wasn't helping the campaign.
In fact, we now know, as Boot pointed out, of reports that there were at least 101 contacts with Trump’s people and individuals tied to the Russian government.
Not only did the Trump team not report these contacts, they deceptively concealed them from the public and from investigators, often in criminal ways. The president himself has claimed that the whole Russia story is a hoax, despite knowing that this is false. Keeping these facts concealed and casting doubt about Russia's efforts to undermine the United States' democratic process has all served Putin's ends.
In other words: It can't be doubted that Trump is carrying out Putin's wishes. The only question that remains is why.