Friday, January 20, 2017

How Fast Will Prez Trump Squash This New Russian Investigation?

Photo Ryan McGuire
News came out this morning that a multi-agency investigative team (including personnel from the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the Treasury Department's financial crimes unit) have been looking into (and have evidently found) multiple contacts between top Trump campaign people and unnamed officials in the Russian government.

The investigation was leaked and then confirmed by a half-dozen of the investigators because "they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts." As of noon today, Donald Trump will be in charge of all executive branch agencies, and as soon as he's confirmed, Jeff Sessions will be in charge of the FBI.

Three Trump campaign operatives were named as targets of the investigation: Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign director up until August 20, 2016; Carter Page, businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and friend of Trump.

The NSC apparently has eavesdropped on conversations between these three and various officials in Russia and various Russia-friendly officials in the Ukraine. You can thank expanded eavesdropping laws put in place by the Bush administration after 9/11 for those intercepts.

Roger Stone

"Mr. Stone, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, said in a speech in Florida last summer that he had communicated with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that published the hacked Democratic emails. During the speech, Mr. Stone predicted further leaks of documents, a prediction that came true within weeks."

Stone is denying today that he has any Russian contacts.

Paul Manafort

"The F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Manafort began last spring, and was an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. In August, The Times reported that Mr. Manafort’s name had surfaced in a secret ledger that showed he had been paid millions in undisclosed cash payments. The Associated Press has reported that his work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials."

Manafort is calling the investigation "a Democrat Party dirty trick."

Carter Page

Page, a former Merrill Lynch banker, founded Global Energy Capital, an investment firm in New York that has done business with Russia. He's also been a foreign affairs advisor for Trump's transition.

Page decided to go one better than Manafort's denial: Page is blaming Hillary Clinton for this news.


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