CNN reported Wednesday evening that U.S. officials had told the agency they had information associates of Donald Trump had collaborated with Russian operatives in sabotaging the Clinton campaign.
FBI Director James Comey made an enemy of Hillary Clinton months before the 2016 presidential election had reached its conclusion. Comey, in an unprecedented move, re-opened a probe into the former First Lady’s e-mail server just weeks before ballots were due to be cast. Today, his office released information which will almost certainly put him on the wrong side of the current commander-in-chief.
Leaks, document dumps, and server hacks began dominating American media headlines not long after the Democratic and Republican parties confirmed their respective candidates. The Obama administration went public in accusing Vladimir Putin and Russian state actors of trying to influence the United States’ pick for president by selectively releasing information.
While enthusiasm for Donald Trump has waned in Moscow, the Kremlin had initially had high hopes that a Republican president would try to reinstate cordial relations with Russia. Under Barack Obama, sanctions had been levied against top Russian politicians and businesspeople for their role in the invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA, wasn’t shy about the magnitude of the information received by the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff, who is a ranking member serving on the committee, was asked by Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” if he had a solid or simply circumstantial case regarding the former Trump campaign.
“Actually no, Chuck,” Schiff said. “I can tell you that the case is more than that and I can’t go into particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.”
While the FBI was hesitant to say there was any conclusive evidence which would prove collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, they did share some details about the intelligence coming to light. Travel documents, business records, phone logs, and first-person accounts are, according to the Bureau, all shaping up to form an unpleasant set of circumstances.
The emerging allegations aren’t the first to hit the fledgling administration.
Trump’s initial pick for National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired by the president for “lying” to VP Mike Pence. Flynn had covered up the fact that he’d spoken to the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislayk, about removing sanctions prior to Trump’s inauguration.
As a matter of policy, the president-elect and his aides are not supposed to discuss diplomatic moves before formally moving into their Washington offices. Flynn and the Trump administration violated the protocol that the executive branch is to speak with one voice by brushing away the edicts of Barack Obama before the latter had left office.
In January, the U.S. intelligence community released a report confirming suspicions that Russia had played an active role in influencing the November election.