Thursday, August 20, 2020

Yes, there was collusion. Trump is a counterintelligence threat to the U.S.

Quote of the Day: “the president of the United States is a clear counterintelligence threat to the country.” - Max Bergmann.

In response to the new Senate bipartisan committee report, Washington Post conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin reports As it turns out, there really was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Heather Cox Richardson (Letters from an American) summarizes:

… Norman Eisen, lawyer for the House impeachment managers, told her: “Collusion simply means Trump and those around him wrongly working together with Russia and its satellites, and the fact of that has long been apparent…. Indeed, it was clear to anyone with eyes from the moment Trump asked, ‘Russia, if you’re listening.’… The Senate report is a valuable contribution advancing our understanding, including explaining former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort’s nexus to Russian intelligence. The report further elucidates our understanding of collusion via WikiLeaks, which acted as a Russian cut-out.”

Rubin continues:

The new findings "include a determination “that a longtime partner of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was, in fact, a Russian intelligence officer.”

Max Bergmann, who runs the Center for American Progress’s Moscow Project told me, “He did it. He colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.” He added, “The bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee should erase any lingering doubt that Trump and his campaign deliberately sought out and coordinated with Russia and its influence operations during the election.” Moreover, “the report also demonstrates that the president of the United States is a clear counterintelligence threat to the country. He is not only compromised by his close contact with the Kremlin but he eagerly sought out covert Russian support in 2016.” Bergmann warns that “Trump is certainly willing to cheat again in 2020, and there is no doubt the Kremlin will do what it can to help him.”

The bipartisan committee report should leave us with a number of troubling loose ends.

First, it is almost inconceivable that Mueller did not find the same factual tidbits that the Senate did. Whether the special counsel was unable to obtain cooperation of certain witnesses or felt constrained by Trump’s constant bullying is unknown. We come away with the conclusion that he did not find the facts that were there, and that he did not explain with enough clarity and urgency what significance they had.

Second, Rubio and every Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee had access to information pointing to a clear pattern of collusion. For them to continue to defend Trump, look the other way when more evidence of improper conduct with a foreign government (i.e., Ukraine) and impugn Democrats for following the facts is nothing short of reprehensible.

Finally, we are left with the question of why Trump behaved as he did. Was he trying to cement a business deal underway during the 2016 campaign, or was he simply disloyal to the United States, willing to use an enemy’s help and then lie to cover it up? Given the president’s current behavior and his willingness to wreak havoc on our elections to hold on to power, I suspect it is the latter. Whatever the reason, as Eisen put it: “With this latest and bipartisan exposure of the whole sordid tale, there can be no remaining doubt. Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to help them win the 2016 election.”

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