The US intelligence community has spent the last week investigating intercepted communications from members of Trump’s team and Russian officials. The reason for the recent uptick in activity is that many within the agencies believe that, upon being sworn in, Trump will do everything in his power to obstruct investigators. So far sources have told the New York Times that the FBI, CIA, NSA and the Treasury Departments Financial Crimes unit have all taken part in these efforts.
The intercepted information ties at least three members or former members of Trump’s transition team to Senior Russian officials and seem to suggest that money changed hands. So far the agencies have been unable to find any concrete evidence proving that Trump himself had a hand in any dealings. However, Trump and his various representatives continue to deny having any sort of in depth contact with Russian officials; a story which seems less and less likely with every passing day.
It is possible, given the evidence, that Trump actually did nothing wrong with regard to Russia. It is not unusual for incoming presidents to have meetings with world leaders. Hillary Clinton openly admitted to having spoke with Russian officials during her campaign. The question would then be why he seems so sensitive about it at every turn. Why continue to deny having even low level communications with Russia?
Are Americans to believe, as Trump and Putin continue to parrot the same message, that the two of them are not working together in any capacity? Especially given Trump’s tendency to throw anyone and everyone under the bus, it seems odd that Trump continues to deny the possibility that Russia hacked the DNC despite how poorly this stance plays among many powerful Republicans.
In the coming years Trump’s (perhaps only apparent ties) to Russia aren’t likely to play well to the public. As more and more information leaks out his unwillingness to divest or to turn over basic financial statements will cast a suspicious shadow over his administration. We’ve seen during the Obama administration that even outright falsehoods can be used to drum up doubt among the public. With so many credible questions left to fester Trump is setting himself up for a lot of mistrust in the near future. Every time some policy fails or Russia gains some ground internationally people will be left to wonder if it all happened by design.
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