Fallout from New York Times report that FBI opened inquiry into whether Trump was secretly working for Russia.
Editorialist Max Boot, the author of The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right, outlined 18 reasons President Donald Trump “could be a Russian asset” in a piece for The Washington Post.
The list is rather succinct and outlines below:
- Trump’s financial entanglements with Russia, which leave him “vulnerable to blackmail.” Boot points to Jonathan Chait’s intensively researched piece for New York magazine last year, which details roughly 30 years of financial activities between Trump and his Russian associates.
- The fact that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
- The fact that Trump encouraged Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails on July 27, 2016. Trump asked the Kremlin to find “the 30,000 emails that are missing” from the personal server she used during her tenure as Secretary of State. On that same day, according to an indictment that the Justice Department released in July 2018, the Russians took Trump up on his offer. Trump has tried to walk back those comments more than once, at one point claiming that China hacked Clinton’s emails.
- That the Moscow Project reports “101 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia linked operatives,” and “the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.” Among these contacts: The infamous Trump Tower meeting.
- That the Trump campaign is linked to numerous officials with ties to Moscow, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (who was convicted in August 2018 on eight charges of tax and bank fraud) and former national security adviser Michael Flynn (whom Mueller suggested should not serve prison time because of the valuable information he provided about the Trump campaign’s association with Russian operatives.
- Manafort’s decision to share 2016 polling data with a Russian associate with ties to the Kremlin which was critical to the Russians’ campaign to elevate Trump’s candidacy.
- The fact that political consultant Roger Stone knew in advance that the Russians had hacked Clinton’s campaign chairman’s emails.
- Trump’s decision to fire former FBI director James Comey in May 2017, a move which many believe is sufficient evidence to charge the president with obstruction of justice.
- Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s election meddling; he has sided with Putin over the assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian operatives had launched cyber attacks against the United States in its attempt to subvert the 2016 presidential election and undermine American democracy.
- Trump’s regular attacks against the Justice Department and the FBI.
- Trump’s regular attacks against the European Union and NATO.
- Trump’s support for pro-Russian leaders in Europe, including Hungarian leader Viktor Orban and French populist Marine Le Pen.
- Trump’s warm praise of Putin.
- Trump’s decision to seize the notes of his Russian interpreter and conceal what he and Putin have discussed in private meetings; current and former U.S. officials who spoke to The Washington Post said on at least one occassion Trump has taken “possession of the notes of his own interpreter and [instructed] the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials.”
- Trump’s defense of pro-Russian talking points.
- Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, a decision which many have criticized as “handing” the country over to Russia and Iran.
- That Trump has not responded to Russian aggression against Ukranian ships in international waters.
- That Trump is “sowing chaos in the government… furthering a Russian objective of undermining its chief adversary.
Americans should be shaken by what we know of Trump & Putin’s relationship & should NOT be surprised by the FBI counterintelligence investigation. Is Trump a Russian agent? If it walks like a duck & talks like a duck, then it is a duck – and the duck should be impeached.— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) January 14, 2019