[ Editor’s note: These are very serious allegations as there is a law preventing private citizens from discussing diplomatic affairs with officials of foreign nations. In fact, this very law has been cited as the reason why Gen. Flynn was forced to resign over his telephone conversations with Russian Ambassador Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.
If the NY Times is correct and four other members of Trump’s team were talking to the Russians, then they too are in the uncomfortable position that Flynn found himself in. However, if these officials were aware they were talking to Russian intelligence officers and the contents of the intercepted calls show they disclosed things they shouldn’t have, then this is a very serious matter indeed.
Furthermore, this affair throws yet more fuel on the fire that refuses to go out – that Trump’s campaign was helped by Russian interference in the US election and that Trump’s people were well aware of this., making Trump and his campaign, both treacherous and traitorous.
Considering that Flynn was made to fall on his sword for a lesser offence, the precedent has been set for dealing with matters pertaining to illicit dealings with Russia and this affair leaves the Trump administration wide open for further attacks on it’s legality and credibility.
Of course, Trump will deride this story as ‘Fake News’ and call the NY Times a failing publication while waving his silly little hands in annoyance; that is how he usually deals with such affairs. Ian ]
UPDATE: Trump’s little hands have been busy and his tweeted response was exactly as I predicted:
Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russia: NYT
Members of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before he won the White House, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Citing “four current and former American officials,” the Times report said that intercepted phone calls and phone records showed the repeated contacts with Moscow’s intelligence community.
US “law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee,” the Times said citing three of the officials who spoke privately due to the ongoing investigation.
The nature of the purported calls was not disclosed. The only Trump aide named was Paul Manafort. Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and a former political consultant in Russia and Ukraine, shrugged off the report.
“This is absurd,” he told the paper. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.” “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer,'” he added.
The Times said US intelligence was investigating “whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”
The officials interviewed by the paper had so far seen no evidence suggesting that cooperation had existed.
In January, US intelligence officials said in a report that Russia intervened in the US electoral process at least in part to help Trump win. He has spoken often about the need for a closer relationship between the United States and Russia.