In Closed Hearing, a Clue About ‘the Heart’ of Mueller’s Russia Inquiry

Prosecutors for the special counsel suggested plans discussed by Trump associates to address Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the resulting sanctions remained at the center of the investigation.

Comments: 225

  1. Manafort's decision to not cooperate and to commit more crimes while under the microscope of prosecutors tells us al we need to know- he's scared of something or someone more than he's scared of spending the rest of his life in prison. Hmmm, what could that be?

  2. @b d'amico Remember the brazen attack in UK on the Skripals- both father and daughter? It was with Novichok, a chemical nerve agent easily tied back to Russia. I found the timing curious given that they had lived unaccosted for sometime in Salisbury. Was it a message from Russia, i.e. we can get to you or your family anywhere? Just a thought...

  3. @b d'amico "Hmmm, what could that be?" It could be anything - it could be many things you know nothing about. One thing is for sure "Hmmm, what could that be?" is NOT the same as guilty!

  4. @b d'amico You got it right. Money, power and blackmail are at the heart of the matter.

  5. The democrats have been hanging by a thread hoping that Mueller will would hand in the political advantage for 2020. There is ample evidence in both parties that the there were shady characters on both sides maybe more on the Trump campaign side but nothing substantial enough to erase the story of the low unemployment among all Americans and no new regime change wars where US troops are involved. I would therefore advice the Trump administration not to send a single US soldier to evict Maduro. Only moral and diplomatic support. Okay they can send John Bolton and see if anyone cares.

  6. @Girish Kotwal Ah yes, the "both sides are bad" argument, typically posed by people that aren't following what's going on, including how empty-headed Trump is, and how corrupt both his administration & GOP are.

  7. That’s right! Both sides!!! Just like in Charlottesville Virginia....

  8. @Bruce Kanin It IS both sides, and anyone with half a brain knows that. U.S. politics did not just suddenly become corrupt, with the election of Donald J. Trump as President! It has been corrupt for DECADES, in like and different ways. Put the "dirty dossier" to examination by the U.S. Supreme Court and see what happens.

  9. Unless I am missing something here, we seem not to know whether Manafort was asked, under oath, whether he had any communications with Trump pertaining to easing of Russia sanctions and what the nature of such conversations were. Are we going to see evidence from the Mueller team that a quid pro quo deal was struck by Trump........Russia help for Trump in the election in exchange for promises of actions favorable to Russia?

  10. @William May I think you're going to be sorely disappointed in the Mueller probe. Then all you Democrats are "going to turn on Mueller," because he did not give you an indictment against Pres. Trump. Democrat Adam Schiff is already doing it---yesterday he said he's going to start an investigation of Trump's business dealings (overseas) because he's "just not sure Mueller has done an accurate enough job in that area." Another Democrat stated, yesterday, that it's just suspicious that Trump wanted to build a hotel in Moscow. If that's suspicious, then are the Democrats going to go after The Four Seasons, Marriott, Astoria, Hyatt, and other hotel chains that already have built hotels in Moscow?

  11. @Dixie Trent. Did Marriot, Ansonia etc.commit treason to build their hotels? Have.dozens of their employees and agents been convicted of crimes related.to this? Have.people died as.a result of their political meddling to get their hotels built? Is the price of our democracy a.tower built on foreign soil, with laundered.foreign money?

  12. Dixie, you seem to be overlooking a few realities. The Schiff Commitee in the House can investigate whatever it wishes to investigate whether related to the Mueller probe or not. The facts, hearings, indictments, pleas, convictions will all speak for themselves regardless of source. Regarding Trump's plans to build a hotel in Moscow, that situation differs from hotel chains in Moscow because Trump lied in saying he had no connections to Russia as a candidate and after he was elected and because personal business activities and investments of elected officials are always subject to scrutiny to prevent conflict of interest. Finally, you may be overlooking all the proved Russia interactions involving key people in the Trump campaign and Trump administration.

  13. As government workers are once again faced with loss, loss of wages, loss of hope, loss of faith in the United States, so are we the people out here faced with loss. While Donald Trump throws obsessive temper tantrums about “criminals” at our country’s borders, we await investigations that will finally tell us the fate of our country’s truth or untruth, our country’s fall of steadfast democracy, or not, our country’s invasion by a corrupt family in our counntry’s White House or not, our country’s possible collaboration and collusion with a far away country, Russia, or not. The time has come for the Mueller investigation to finalize soon. We have been patient. This country has been reminded every day for two years since we inaugurated a man before our nation’s eyes that may have had our very best interests cast to the wind in place of friendship and ulterior motives with Russia. The United States, whoever was responsible, allowed a private conversation between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Never before would we have allowed this to occur - but never before did this country have a leader at the helm demanding us to cooperate with his motives, whatever they may be. The time has come to get the cards on the table, to make the public fully aware of the results of the investigation when hopefully soon concluded. Individuals are calling out their candidacy for a 2020 election. We are trying to move ahead. The time has come to know the truth about Donald J. Trump.

  14. @MIMA Pres. Trump is forbidden by federal law of having a conversation with the leader of another nation? Seriously? When was that law passed? Obama's Valerie Jarrett had private meetings with Iranian leaders when heavy sanctions were on them----did you object much to that?

  15. @Dixie Trent many people objected to that, actually. unfortunately, trump has a poor character and that will always work against him - as it should.

  16. @Dixie Trent Obama is no longer president. Whataboutism is tiring. How does what Jarrett did (which I doubt since it's you saying it) change the POTUS speaking with an ADVERSARY without a witness (except the note taker) then tearing up the notes? Russia is an adversary and they hacked our election, there is no dealing with them. None.

  17. The Russian connection is all about attempting to lift sanctions. Both the Trump world and the Russians want them lifted. First those imposed by Obama after the Russian incursion into Crimea, but then, the most important sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs targeted as part of the Magnitsky Act. Even now the Trump administration is ignoring this act when it comes to ABS of Saudi Arabia.

  18. @Pookie 1 Is that why Pres. Trump put sanctions against one of Putin's best buddies, Deripaska?

  19. He tried his best not to do so, and the sanctions against Deripaska's Aluminum monopoly have been lifted.

  20. @Pookie 1, Well, lift sanctions and recognize eastern Ukraine + Crimea or possibly all of Ukraine as part of sovereign Russia (remember Putin’s speeches about Ukraine being “Little Russia”).

  21. People in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians about ending the war in Ukraine and lifting sanctions. THAT goes to the heart of what they’re investigating??

  22. @Luciano What money changed hands? What promises made? Was Russian interests put before America? Did trump make a deal? Does American have a president who puts another country first? For money? How could the answers to these questions not make a difference?

  23. @Luciano Perhaps this will clarify the situation for you: Trump boasted long and hard about his negotiations with North Korea, before, during, and after, and how he would bring peace when no one else could. Trump boasted long and hard about his trade negotiations with China, promising he had a winning plan that would put China in its place when no one else could. Trump has boasted long and hard about his wall, even in the face of majority opposition, GOP obstinance, and tanking polls. Why didn’t Trump claim he would bring peace to Crimea? Why didn’t he proudly announce that he’d end the war? When faced with suspicion from the national security agencies and even his own GOP, why didn’t he reassure the American public he had “the best plan” and “the best people” working on it?

  24. @Josh Wilson His approval poll was at 50% two days ago.

  25. It seems unlikely that Manafort’s obstinance was borne of loyalty. Nor does he seem the type to gamble on a pardon from the mercurial Mr. Trump, as he knows there’s no honor among thieves. He had the opportunity to get immunity, or as close to it as possible, given his life of money laundering and tax fraud. Instead he chose to lie, even when he must have known he was unlikely to get away with it, especially considering Gates had already flipped and has yet to be sentenced. With the additional obstruction and probable rescinding of the plea agreement he’s looking at spending the rest of his life in jail. What secrets are worth that kind of risk? Tick tock, Donald, tick tock.

  26. @Josh Wilson Paulie's terrified for his wife and daughters. He'll do the time, no escaping that now, even if it's weeks and not years (due to expected consequences), but he doesn't want them skripaled.

  27. @Elle Why would Putin be afraid of people finding out what most people already know? I.E. That Donald Trump is working for the Russians and not the American people.

  28. @Josh Wilson When you have spent your entire life free from the consequences of your actions, you probably tend to think you're invincible. I think Manafort and Trump both have this in common. As does Roger Stone. I think it's only natural to think that laws don't apply to the rich and powerful when your entire life experience has shown that to be true.

  29. Following the money, carefully scrutinizing Trump's tax returns will give us more insight into the fraudulent activities of our Fraud-in-Chief who may soon declare a state of emergency. The only emergency America has, is Trump himself, and his enablers in the Republican party. The smokescreens and curtains are about to be removed. "When?" and "How soon?" --- are the remaining questions.

  30. Howdy @Paul, The when and where involve you and me . . . the people of our country who "feel" the obvious threat this situation and conspiracy poses for everyone --- not only in the USA, but around the world. We will have to directly engage in utilizing the levers of power, create our own policies rather than "allowing" politicians to do so, and take over governing our nation through our collective vote in our next elections in 2020 and on. Our task will not be done until we "reunite" our diverse people we "clean house" of the "establishment" wings of the Democratic and Republican parties as well as remove and incarcerate those in the Trump gang who so blatantly, flagrantly broke our country's laws.

  31. I've thought all along that the Mueller investigation will turn out to be Geraldo opening Al Capone's safe. If this is the 'heart' of the investigation I'm afraid I'll be right.

  32. @Luciano How many have been charged so far? Plead guilty so far? Made deals so far? Hardly the same thing.

  33. @beth Those were just "process crimes," not felonies---except for the 13 Russians. Even the Federal Judge, last week, asked Weissmann why he thought Stone had lied. After Weissmann replied, the Judge said she still wasn't sure about the "lying" part!

  34. @Luciano Son, just hush. 34 people and 3 RUSSIAN Companies have been indited so far. For you to opine that there's 'nothing here' is tantamount to willful ignorance.

  35. Is there proof the Trump Tower meeting was really about Magnitsky sanctions? Maybe it was but in the broader context of all sanctions including Ukraine. Maybe indeed, Ukraine is the key that the Russians were pursuing a deal with Trump about on several fronts. It has always been puzzling how Ukraine and Manafort fitted into the picture but now I think we know. Trump does a deal with Russia that recognize Russia’s ownership of Ukraine, Crimea and the Donbas region, lifts all sanctions, including Magnitsky, and Trump gets to build his Tower in Moscow, as well as other major Russian cities, in partnership of course with Putin via his oligarchs. Perhaps this is what Trump talked about with his 2 secret meetings with Putin. Trump doesn’t own any of his other Towers but these he would own at least partly. This would be immense,y satisfying to him. A prize above all. Trump knows he is a one termer and loving money above all things (including his country) he wants a deal with the devil so much he is willing to sell Ukraine and his country down the river. The entire Trump clan knows this and all have lied through their teeth in the pursuit of filthy lucre. The morality of the US has been brought into the basement by this cabal of thieves.

  36. @Cranford Glenn Simpson met with the Russian Attorney both before and after that meeting (the same day), and believe me, if anything else had been discussed Simpson would know it, and it would have been all over the liberal MSM, by the end of the day.

  37. @Dixie Trent Hey Dixie: The meme "liberal mainstream media" is getting old by now. - If the mainstream of the media is indeed "liberal," that means that Fox, Breibart, and all the rest are fringe wackos. - And by definition, the MSM wouldn't be "mainstream" unless it represents the views of the mainstream of the American public. This corroborates that you Rightists are out of the mainstream. Touche!

  38. @Cranford Oh, the morality of the U.S. was in already in the basement. How else could a trump be elected? God or Mammon? We chose Mammon.

  39. Sometimes the obvious is exactly that - obvious. Quid pro quo - Trump team to Moscow; help elect Trump and we'll lift sanctions

  40. @Martine Trump increased sanctions and sold to Ukraine advanced military materials that will kill Russian tanks. So what sanctions are you claiming he was going to lift?

  41. This is up there with the story that the Never Trump wing of the FBI had considered Trump a Russian agent. The USs interference in Ukraine was instrumental in causing the present impasse between Russia and Ukraine. The NYTs keeps reusing tired debunked stories. Trump has been much more aggressive against Russian interests than Obama. This a sore point in Obama's record that he did not disavow the CIA and the State Departments collusion with right wing nationalist Ukrainians.

  42. @c harris Because the Putin is such a sweetheart, I suppose. At least Obama didn't condone the shooting down of a commercial jet. Nor murdering opponents and journalists. That's something, huh?

  43. @c harris Yeah, it’s all Obama’s fault. And the guy who promised America he had no ties to Russia for three straight years while he tried to get Putin’s blessing on his Moscow hotel and lift sanctions so that it could be funded is blameless. Sure.

  44. The brazenness of these men in the face of the Russian connection to Trump is stunning. It is exactly what Trump has done. Trump brazenly tries to do to help Russia and do Putins bidding. 1. End sanctions 2. Troops out of Syria 3. No blame for infiltrating our voting system. He doesn't even care how outrageous it looks no less its toll on America and the world.

  45. @Dorian's TruthWhat is very concerning to me is not only did Trump remove the sanctions on Russia, the Republican Senate allowed this. What is going on may go much deeper than Trump. Why would GOP leaders remove sanctions from Russia? Anything to do with that "NRA" $$$$. Russia's web of kompromat may be wider than we think.

  46. He's never cared in his whole life what people or the law thinks. Just like his father.

  47. @Concerned Mother The Senate has not voted to remove sanctions against Russia.

  48. Watch the documentary, “Active Measures,” to understand more about the ties between Mr. Trump and the Russians. There is a lot there to untangle. No wonder the investigation is taking longer than many on both sides think it should.

  49. The Congress must charge Trump with violating the Logan Act that expressly forbids unauthorized private citizens from engaging in unauthorized correspondence with foreign governments.

  50. @Max & Max Then John Kerry who has been visiting the Iranian government telling them things will be better when Dems get back into power must also be charged.

  51. @Mr Chang Shih An John Kerry isn't a successful presidential candidate, as Nixon and Trump were, who sought to manipulate hostile foreign governments in exchange for political advantages during the campaign. Trump used his business relationship with Russia to elicit help with his political career. That's also a violation of campaign finance laws. Kerry's assurances were not quid pro quo while Trump's clearly were.

  52. Paul Manafort IS the collusion. He did not have the tickets to run a major presidential campaign, but he did have excellent contacts with Putin's men. He did his job of hooking up " Trump support in exchange for for sanctions relief" and then he was gone. There is nothing here that seems like much of a mystery. Putin already knew that Trump was their guy and Manafort was brought in to manage the transaction.

  53. Best most insightful comment here. Manafort is the heart of the collusion tornado. His hands are in virtually everything related to Russia and the election. Cohen was the legal "fixer" but Manafort was circling the globe creating "opportunities" for Trump.

  54. Richard Burr has been in Trump's vest-pocket all along on this deal. It's hard to imagine that he hasn't somehow been compromised by Putin's agents. How many more Maria Butinas are operating in DC and how many more lawmakers have they ensnared?

  55. This is not terribly news-worthy. Because of all the “no collusion” and “witch hunt” rants for two years, most American citizens—those who love their country and have suspected Donald Trump of reaching the White House on the strength of a huge assist from the Kremlin—are of the opinion that his office and tenure are tainted beyond all recall. Why else have Paul Manafort and Gen. Michael Flynn and Rick Gates and all the other Trump assiciates been indicted and/or jailed? It is not because they are innocent of nation-endangering suspicions. When Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Ukraine in 2014, President Obama punished the roguery of Russia’s outlaw power grab by applying sanctions against Mother Russia. Those sanctions were painful and Red Square feels the bite as we speak. By watching America’s political landscape closely and having determined that Trump might triumph over HRC, Putin either called in marks he held on Trump or gambled on an upset. Putin hated SecState Clinton and knew the sanctions would remain in place if she won. Putin had every reason to weigh in with Trump. This brings us to Manafort and Ukraine. What were his real business dealings there? As an American citizen, did not law prevent him from becoming embroiled in the politics of another country without his home country’s knowledge and permission? Indeed, the “heart” of Donald Trump’s presidency belongs to Russia and Robert Mueller would be derelict not to investigate it. Right, Mr. “President?”

  56. This sure sounds like conspiracy to me. Manafort was Trump's campaign manager, not a U.S. government official in a position to negotiate sanctions over the Ukraine. BTW, I don't believe Zuckerberg's claim that the ad revenue was an insignificant amount.

  57. I live in New Orleans. The stink coming off of Bourbon Street isn't half as bad as the cloud of stench spewing from this administration.

  58. Follow the rubles...

  59. The media has generally avoided laying out the bigger picture of the Trump-Russia saga, Shane and Mazzetti's 9/20 piece being the main exception for this paper. A different approach must be taken that explains this to readers. For the DEEPEST coverage ANYWHERE of the larger collusion plot, see my collection of exclusive Trump-Russia material here, from Putin & Deutsche to Manafort & Deripaska, from Ukraine & Cohen to Trump Tower & the Russian mafia, it's all here: https://realcontextnews.com/articles/trump-russia-chart-dossier/

  60. Chief Justice Roberts has better warm up his gold-striped robe. He’s going to need it

  61. Where's the beef? The pretty big question is "did Trump sell out to the Russians for election support?" The really big question is "is Trump a Russian agent?" This breathless article doesn't address these concerns. Thus, nine-tenths of the expected substance vanishes. We are left with three much smaller issues. (1) is Manafort sleazy? Probably. He would be, what? the twentieth or thirtieth likely sleaze in the administration? Is it just me, or have most of us stopped counting? (2) Did Trump representatives discuss ending the conflict in Ukraine with Russian officials during the campaign? Isn't getting peace a good idea? The sooner the suffering is over, the better? If a deal is possible, it'll come sooner if discussed in advance. Technically, such contact might be illegal. If so we can punish the well doers with prison. Let them take a bullet for peace. Now, if you had something like Nixon's scheming with South Vietnam to bust up peace talks until after the 1968 election, that would be a real story. (3) Were the contacts hostile to Ukraine? Maybe. There is no single, united, Ukraine. In the west it is militantly Catholic and Ukrainian-speaking. Several influential currents fought alongside the Nazis. Eastern Ukraine is Orthodox and speaks Russian. Indeed, 30% of Ukraine is Russian-speaking. Western extremists have succeeded in banning it in schools, courts, etc. If American free-lancers can undo this ethnic oppression, more power to them.

  62. You could speculate that trumps hatred of the media is because they shone a spotlight on his corrupt dealings with Russia. This prevented him moving as boldly to quash sanctions and enable an enemy in return for the funding they provide to his failed empire. That indeed might explain a lot. This suggests that the media should pursue this criminal with much more vigour because Mueller will soon be neutered.

  63. So if at the end of the Mueller investigation this all about investigating collusion with Ukraine by Paul Manafort on behalf of oligarch Oleg Deripaska to get sanctions lifted against Russia who really cares? What was Roger Stone doing with Julian Assange and Wikileaks? What were Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump doing with the Trump Organization in order to get Trump Tower Moscow built? What was the Trump Tower meeting between Don, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and the Russians about? What was the Oval Office meeting between Trump and the Russians after the firing of James Comey about? Why did Trump fire Michael Flynn and James Comey? Why was Jared Kushner trying to get a backdoor channel with the Russians? What were Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Rick Gates doing and why were they doing it and with whom? Why is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin smiling and smirking about his efforts to get Trump elected President? Why is Benjamin Netanyahu smiling and smirking about his efforts to get Trump elected President? What did Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway know/do and when/do it about the Russians? What did Mike Pence know/do and when did he know/do it with the Russians? What did Donald Trump know/do and when did he know/do it with the Russians?

  64. @Blackmamba REf: "Why is Benjamin Netanyahu smiling and smirking about his efforts to get Trump elected President?" Because collusion with Israel is fine and Israel is allowed to interfere in American elections. Remember how Netanyahu addressed the congress and AIPAC. Also How Donald Trump said before the elections that his government will move the embassy to Jerusalem, No longer recognize the two state solution to Israeli Palestine conflict. Abrogate the treaty with Iran and Overturn the resolution on Israel by the UN by submitting a new resolution?

  65. A significant Russian sleeper cell has infiltrated the Republican Party. Why would Republicans humiliate themselves and abandon all of their cherished principles by kowtowing to Trump when they could make 3, 4, 5 times as much money in the private sector and maintain their dignity? Answer: because they can't make more money in the private sector. A Russian handler approaches a Republican Congressman with a number to a Swiss bank account containing $20 million. The Congressman asks: "What do you expect me to do for this?" The Russian says: "Just be a patriot and obey your commander-in-chief." Reporting on the recent scandal between Jeff Bezos and David Pecker labels Bezos "the world's richest man." Not rue by a long shot. The richest man in the world is Vladimir Putin. Putin has recently said he has no intention of getting into an expensive arms race with the US over both nations' withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Of course. Putin figured out a long time ago that the easiest way to defeat western democracies was through bribery, not bombs.

  66. Reading these articles and Trump's cast of soulless minions reminds me of a bunch of wise guys "doin' business for da Don"...apparently these thugs and their boss had no compunctions with respect to the best interests of their own country or its people. Whatever it took, with respect to any matter, to advance their own self-interests was not beyond the pale. The lack of morals of this bunch of criminals that sought (seek) to take over our beloved nation is simply astounding.

  67. Long before Donnie descended the Down Escalator and proclaimed that Mexicans were rapists, he was owned by the Russians. Six bankruptcies, is not the sign of a brilliant businessman. Every banker in America, and every banker in the world, knows this without being told. So where is Donnie going to turn to, to borrow the money he needs to make himself look great? He's going to turn to slightly less than legitimate banks. Banks and bankers that have "flexible" morals. Banks that are controlled by Russian oligarchs. They need to launder all of the billions of rubles that they have acquired , since the fall of the Soviet Union. They want to invest in Real Estate - such as golf courses, hotels, casinos, condominiums, etc. And there is Donnie, desperate to find someone to loan him money. What a marriage made in heaven - they help him, and he helps them. During the course of his Investigation, Mueller has been learning about all of the details of this criminality. Money Laundering. Tax Evasion. Conspiracy To Commit Tax Evasion. Putin has known all about this, for years.

  68. There is no question there was collusion only it was between Manafort & the Russians, and it was about the Ukraine.. What a waste of time & effort!. No wonder Mueller hasn’t closed the investigation, there is no smoking gun. Trump will go into the 2020 election free of guilt. Not only will he remain President, but he will get back the house.The Democrat left will creep back under the rocks.

  69. @Joe Blow All in good time. Mueller hasn't closed the investigation because it's not done: the vastness and chaos of the Trump criminal enterprise has given him so much more work than anyone immagined. The best is yet to come.

  70. @Davide Wishful thinking. His Base is aware that he's a con man & a Buffon. They will vote for anybody short of murder, rather than have the Democrat Leftist group run the country.Capitalism made this country what it is. The wealthy 1% are not our enemies, they are a symbol of what you can accomplish if you want to work for it.It's why we are drawing the brilliant Asian Immigrants to our country, who contribute to make this country the envy of the world.Count your blessings that you live here. Lets be thankful for the Jobs the 1% create, & the Millions they give to Charity..

  71. in light of all of mueller's hard work, i'm waiting for the other shoe to drop on the head of don jr.

  72. Suspicion that Trump was undermining the sanctions on Russia was front and center during the campaign and hardly anything new. What is supposedly new is the suggestion that sanction-related actions constituted collusion. The theory here is that by opposing sanctions, Trump gave the Russians a reason to tamper with the elections. But this is hardly new either. Trump’s sanction-related actions have been news for three years. If this is what the special counseling is interested in, his investigation is rehashing old matters and out of date.

  73. Again with the theory that nothing that's public can be criminal...

  74. Will Muller finally show us that Trump is indeed a Manchurian Candidate of sorts, who's mission is to weaken sanctions keeping Putin's money that's been laundered through his oligarchs, tied up, and prevented billions in North Sea oil contracts from being developed? All for the pittance of giving Trump his ostentatious little Trump Tower Moscow. It's always a game of Follow the Money, isn't it?

  75. Trump's involvement with Russia began in the 90's while the power people of the former Soviet Union were divvying up the former government's assets. Trump knew these "oligarchs" would be a great source of money especially since his bankruptcies precluded funds from legitimate sources. Trump's treason, to help Russia destroy the post WWII world order, is the return consideration for the Russian rubles. Its not complicated but it is dangerous! PROSECUTE RUSSIAGATE!

  76. Please, please NYT and WaPo, follow the money! What is missing from all of these journalism pieces is the obvious: money is moving somewhere behind the scenes, Russian money. Look at these men: Manafort, Cohen, Stone. How do they support themselves? Basic, fundamental support like paying one's monthly bills? What work do they do for work every day? It is a perversely simple question. Like the rest of us they all live literally paycheck to paycheck, and are clearly desperate for money. People keep questioning "Why would they lie for Trump when they know they are lying?" Only one reason: for money, money and more money. It isn't a luxury for these men: it is an absolute financial necessity.

  77. @JTS You can be sure that Mueller and his team are burning the midnight oil on this. Beyond being crack investigators, they are heavily weighted with expertise on financial crimes. The best is yet to come.

  78. What other qualification did Manafort have to emerge from nowhere to "manage" Trump's campaign? This raises the question, what's wrong or illegal about it? As reader Josh Wilson has commented, it's curious that Trump spent the entire campaign bragging about all the foreign policy coups he would magically bring about (Korea, etc) why didn't he brag that he had THE BEST Russian contacts and could solve the Russia problem? Why didn't he RUN on the issue? I think Trump could have sold that to his base and a fair percentage of the rest of us, as we're now seeing with proposed withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq. Where's the crime? At a minimum it's knowing and hiding the fact of Russian interference. Coordinating the interference is likely a crime. Certainly lying under oath about knowledge of the coordination is a crime. As the nitty gritty details of the collaboration emerge it's going to look really slimy, even "traitorous" whatever that word may mean in this context (we aren't at war with Russia so far as I've noticed). It's easy to see how Trump is going to spin this, and I have no doubt that his base will agree that it's a "big fat nothing." I doubt that it will lead to a consensus toward impeachment or resignation unless those details are really really slimy, which they may well be. Dems will have to be careful how they play this hand. Their goal needs to be winning in 2020, NOT impeaching Trump. Those are two very different and unrelated things.

  79. Nixon made a deal with the North Vietnamese to stall peace talks, helping him become president. Reagan made a deal with the Iranians to delay releasing the hostages, helping him become president Trump, it seems, made a deal with the Russians to end sanctions over Ukraine. They helped him become president. No wonder Trump hates the Bushes. They seem to be the only Republican presidents in the last 50 years who could win on their own (as far as we know).

  80. @M Well, except for that dang Supreme Court boost over the top (Bush v. Gore).

  81. @M What is it with these Republicans and their trans-generational fascination with treason? What were at the time thought by most to be luridly immaginative fantasies of the opposition have since emerged as literally accurate history, certainly in the cases of Nixon and Reagan. It's slim consolation that it likely won't take as long to illuminate the brazen antics of Trump's cabal, given their historic level of incompetence.

  82. About 10 years before his presidential bid, the Trump Organization started to buy properties with cash, paid in full up front. All told, they spent more than $400M. This is counter to real estate investing strategy and counter to Trump's own strategy as he tells it. At the time, Trump was denied bank loans due to several investment failures that hurt banks and other investors. So where did that $400M come from? Is it possible he was laundering money for Russia?

  83. @James Yes, follow the money

  84. I heard a very interesting thing said by the NYT writer Michael Schmidt to Terry Gross on Fresh Air. It is more difficult to go after the Clintons because they hire better backup than Trump eg. they cover their tracks better than Trump and the incompetents he surrounds himself with. Even though Clinton could be getting up to who know what, with regard to international politics, I would want someone like Clinton than Trump dealing with the likes of Putin and Russia and the Saudi Royal family. What the heck is Manafort doing talking to this guy at all, let alone three times some after the election? That he met with the guy at all renders him a danger to the country. It does not matter whether or not they talked about a Ukraine deal. The utter failure to grasp not just the optics but that the willingness to discuss anything in that manner gives the advantage to Putin and his gangster state. That they are that patently stupid and naive means they are incompetent on the most fundamental level and must be removed. Ditto with Trump's secret talks with Putin.

  85. The Grand Havana Room where an important meeting between the parties took place, happens to be located (drum roll)... At 666 5th Avenue. Duh! Da!

  86. The known facts are clear. Russia had a strong interest in preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming President. Therefore, they supported Trump to a degree that it probaly tilted the elections. Trump had a very strong interest in doing business in Russia and with the Russians. We don't know yet whether the Trump organisation has received funding from Russians or served as money laundring device. But, Trump was certainly sympathetic to the Russians attacking Clinton and also wanted to keep open the option of future investments in Russia. The players around Trump had personal financial interests in hatching out deals with Russia and therefore pursued all sorts of back and side channel communications with Russian officials or Putin dependants. The net of all this is that there was a confluence of activities that primarily served the interests of Russia/Russians and a few American indivduals but certainly not the interests of the USA. Whether that qualifies as a conspiracy is almost secondary. Politically, it seems unfathomable that the President of the United States had a higher interest in his own wealth than in the common wealth. And that should cost him.

  87. @W Not disagreeing with you, but: Putin could only "tip" an election that was already close. Over 60 million US Citizens voted for Trump. That's a daunting fact.

  88. @W The FBI already investigated Russia's influence into the 2016 U.S. general election, and found that it was not enough to have tilted the election. After all the talk and rumors about Russia ads on Facebook, Zuckerberg finally came out and said the total cost of those ads was only $4,000., which wasn't enough to have done any real damage to the 2016 election. Do you Democrats not "trust" the FBI's ability to investigate?

  89. @Moses Khaet Yes, but ultimately, the election was decided by a little over 50,000 voters in 3 states that were critical to winning the majority in the electoral college - against predictions prior to the elections and certainly prior to Wikileaks.

  90. Imagine the reactions of Republicans if someone like Trump was a Democrat. If Clinton had been elected we would still be having hearings on Benghazi and her e-mails. Not to mention the Clinton Foundation. Imagine if she had brought her daughter and son-in-law into the White House. The party over country Republicans are saying "there's nothing to see here" but if Trump were a Democrat I'll bet we would have had articles of impeachment already. We can only hope the Mueller investigation delivers something concrete enough to finally sway the country club, straight ticket voters that supported Trump. The "base voters" are hopeless.

  91. Exactly right. Hypocrites, every one of them.

  92. @mike The Democrats have already been talking "impeachment" of Trump for two years----Maxine Waters, Al Greene, billionaire Tom Steyer, and a few others within the U.S. House. So, what are you really saying here?

  93. @mike The real tough part in all of this, as a Trump disliker, is coming to the realization that Trump is not the cause, but a symptom. We can try to mask it, but will we ever dig deeper into the systemic issues that got us here?

  94. Why has the Republican party, including the NRA embraced the Russians? Is it as simple as greed? It is amusing that Trump spouts off about socialism in the US while embracing what used to be known as 'commies' Have we gone through the 'looking glass'?

  95. We have heard from Times reporters and others that Mueller is not required to produce a comprehensive report on his findings. He is only to report back to the Dept. of Justice on who he indicted and why, and who he decided not to indict and why. Given the complexity of all that has been revealed already in legal proceedings, can Congress pass legislation to require a full report along the lines of the 9/11 commission report? For the sake of us citizens and the future of our democracy, let’s hope Congress acts. Being an informed citizen should not have to include the ability to read legal-ese, connect distant dots, and juggle a large cast of characters in a fascinating but hard-to-follow narrative. We need a definitive, meticulous account such as the one only Mueller and his team could produce.

  96. @Devin Fraser We the People are entitled to a full report such as the one you describe. Unfortunately, to date, there has been very little light shown upon the relationships between certain members of Congress and the multitude of Russians (many out of reach in Moscow) that 'may' have been significant campaign contributors, or, perhaps, offered participation in lucrative business ventures. As such, we must lower our expectations on most legislation that would have a veto-proof majority under the make-up of OUR current Congress.

  97. @Devin Fraser If you don't already, I would recommend you watch Rachel Maddow's show. She really helps to connect all these dots. Another great source for info is Marcy Wheeler's "Empty Wheel" blog on all things Mueller and Russia https://www.emptywheel.net/ I totally agree that it is imperative for the US public to find out the whole truth. A redacted report to the AG is not going to get this done. We need transparency and I am hopeful that our current congress is up to the task.

  98. @Devin Fraser No, I don't believe Congress can pass any "law" for the Department of Justice "to do something," just like they cannot pass any "law" demanding the Judicial Branch to do something. The Dept. of Justice is part of the Executive Branch of government. Each Branch makes their own "rules of operation." I do know, however, that it is entirely up to the U.S. Attorney General to decide whether Mueller's report is made public, or not. It is also up to the U.S. Attorney General whether or not to follow any of Muellers "recommendations," including further indictments.

  99. Reasonable people can agree what's in the public domain paints a picture of a wildly corrupt and incompetent Potus, surrounded by liars, grifters, themselves swimming in a cesspool of nefarious hangers-on, looking for a piece of the action. The 10,000-foot view is trump and Putin riding a wounded democracy, doing their level best to strip out the worthy bits before sinking her. Those supporting trump, including the GOP, are diligently working at disassembling democracy while hiding in plain sight. Mueller, and now the Blue Wave, are fighting against time and playing by the rules to stop the destruction, one and two, to prove and prosecute those responsible. Here's hoping history reflects how the rule of law saved democracy.

  100. @juno721 We need to start planning how to process the results of the Mueller probe. Will the torrent of putrid sludge bury trump or will his Senate toadies lie on top of him in farcical fealty?

  101. @juno721 Good well thought out post. A reasonable person observing the going-ons with the Trump administration, can only conclude that something is very, very wrong with our so-called president.

  102. @Samm, In my mind, the rule of law is the structure on which democracy is built and try though many have, there is scant evidence the United States will bend to its own destruction. That said, this may be the most thorough test ever of our commitment to democracy so we must prevail..and more than prevail, make stark and frightful examples of those who engineered this threat.

  103. Why was Manafort giving American election polling data to Kilimnik? Why did Mueller attach many pages of Manafort’s memos on campaign strategy in the Ukraine to the plea agreement? Why did Flynn call the Russian ambassador on the day that Obama imposed additional sanctions on Russia because of meddling? Why did Mnuchin give Manafort’s friend, Deripaska, to whom Manafort owed money, a break on sanctions? Why did Putin use different people for interacting with the Trump Campaign? Carter Page, George Papadapolous, Don, Jr., NRA?

  104. @Rita Manafort gave American election polling data to Kilimnik because the two were hoping to persuade the United States to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine that would end hostilities along with U.S. sanctions against Russia. The polling data would have included U.S. voter opinions about Russia annexation of Crimea, etc. That wasn't illegal. U.S. media outlets publish polling results almost daily during presidential election years.

  105. @Rita Enquiring minds want to know!

  106. @William Case: If Manafort only had good intentions and felt he did something legal and above the board, why lie repeatedly about it?

  107. The big problem is Mueller's report will go to the justice department first. Trump's team then will release to congress what they want congress to know. Then can stonewall the hearings in congress and delay them for years. It might be after Trump leaves office that we find out all that happened.

  108. It is strange how the world has changed. It did look hopeful that Russia would eventually find some constructive place with Western Europe after the Soviet Union ended. Unfortunately, any remaining hopes of Russian becoming a part of the free world were dispelled in 2014 when the little green men appeared in the Crimea, the rest of Ukraine was divided in half, and a Malaysian Airline plane was shot out of the sky. Yet even stranger than that ... some Republicans being bed buddies with the Russians. ... and then to regularly read some commenters actually making excuses about it. Who would ever have believed any of this 20 years ago?

  109. It's obvious that Andrew Weissmann is working directly with Adam Schiff and other Democrats to at least further damage Trump, ideally to impeach him. Most Americans would have viewed more cooperative relations with Russia as a positive thing back in 2016, even if they don't now, due to the nonstop demonizing of Russia by the media and Democrats since then. Most Americans did not view Russia as an enemy until Russia was accused of meddling in our election (which is hardly new and they are hardly alone). It's not illegal to do business in Russia. And why the extreme effort to protect Ukraine? They are not a NATO member, and their government is not free of corruption. However Adam Schiff, and probably others, like maybe John McCain, when he was alive, had relations (perhaps financial) with Ukrainian officials. So why is that not suspicious - especially in light of Mr. Schiff's obsessive interest in Russia collusion with the Trump campaign? Wouldn't that be called collusion with Ukraine?

  110. @Carol B Maybe because Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and followed up with military intervention. The conflict and the anxiety this creates may not be felt by a large country far away. But, as a small country with borders to Russia, Norway and Norwegians do.

  111. @Carol B "Most Americans would have viewed more cooperative relations with Russia as a positive thing back in 2016..." Actually, no. Russia was infiltrating "little green men" in unmarked uniforms in eastern Ukraine to foment rebellion and loaning insurgents a missile battery used to shoot down a commercial airliner. Russia had already threatened to shut off natural gas pipelines to Ukraine and Europe. The western business community had closed banking offices and pulled foreign investment in the decrepit Soviet industrial base, leaving Moscow full of empty skyscrapers. Many more foreign businesses have avoided Russia altogether because of pervasive organized crime in the commercial sector. Russia has been trying to peel off the Transnitsia from Moldova and gain control of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro by subverting their governments. Belarus and the Baltic countries have reason to fear Russian intrigue as well. "Cooperative relations" with Putin's leadership would be a "Neville Chamberlain" level of appeasement, which few Americans who gave any thought to Russia would support, unless they had a specific "interest" like Trump or Dana Rohrbacher.

  112. Senator Richard M. Burr, contention that the Senate Intelligence Committee investigators “don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia.” is breathtaking. Trump Russian collusion is there in plain sight. Money and resources funneled into the campaign while the campaign and Trump sought to end sanctions constitute "collusion" by anybody's definition. Exactly what would Burr need to see -- a written contract?

  113. This is fairly shocking. It seems to me - though I may be wrong - that the full story is that Manafort saw an opportunity to kill several birds with one stone: Get Yanukovych back, remove or reduce the sanctions on Russia because of Ukraine, make a heap of money in the process and get Putin positive to Trumps plan for a project in Moscow - and do Trump a favour in the process. Collusion? Well - maybe not. But certainly something very close. What he did not understand, and I doubt very much that Trump understands it either, is the truth in the saying that he who sups with the devil needs a very long spoon indeed. Trump may very well have been drawn into something which he did not understand the extent or the consequences of. But for a presidential candidate, not to mention for a president of the USA, this is no excuse. Mix this with the investigations into his finances, his contacts with Deutsche Bank, his financial contacts with Russian and Kasakh oligarks and we have what the British call a dogs breakfast. No wonder Mueller needs his time.

  114. So what exactly is new here? We've known for a long time about Manafort and the Trump campaign changing the Republican platform on Ukraine, just as we have known for a long time that Putin wanted the Magnitsky sanctions lifted and Trump and his gang seemed eager to do so. Remember, Trump dragged his feet on complying with congressional demands for sanctions, did not provide a comprehensive list of Russian oligarchs and companies to be sanctioned, has since lifted sanctions on Deripaska's companies and kowtows in most humiliating fashion to Putin ever chance he gets. Just as he is now ignoring the congressional deadline set for a report on Kashoggi's murder.

  115. Are prosecutors also integrating the fact that Trump could no longer get money from Wall St so he went to the Russians for loans? Follow the money. Even Eric Trump said that the Trumps now get their money from the Russians. And Deutsche Bank laundered it, no?

  116. If the Democrats can ever get a hold of Trump's tax returns, I think all of these questions will be answered. Follow the money.

  117. @susan "If the Democrats can ever get a hold of Trump's tax returns" Coming soon to a Congressional committee near you (well, near the House of Representatives).

  118. Long article to expose what was in plain sight when the Republican platform was changed during the convention to a softer stance on Russia. If that wasn't the focus of the inquiry, I'd be surprised.

  119. It sounds like Trump’s campaign chief was trying to illegally conduct foreign policy. Had Trump had proper lawyers at the time he would have been advised on a super-urgent basis to stop doing so and immediately report the contacts by Russia to the FBI. The Q is whether or not there was a financial quid pro quo amongst the conspirators and whether or not Trump knew about it.

  120. Well I know just about everyone knew that the theory of collusion between Trump and Putin in regard to having sanctions eased or removed entirely over the Ukraine ; has been the central "potential" smoking gun all along. It seems Manafort and Kilimnik clearly were discussing that before and during the 2016 election. As campaign chairman for Trump; that is a tiny step away from Agent Orange. While there is no proof at the moment; that these were not just talks; it is very close to the grounds for Impeachment immediately if Mueller has such evidence. Full Stop.

  121. Assuming for a moment Kilimnik was connected to the Russian government, isn't there a different legal problem separate from collusion? I would think having a presidential campaign negotiate foreign policy with foreign intermediaries during an election is illegal. The issue is similar to the charges brought against Flynn. Even having the conversation undermines the sitting president's policies and compromises the candidate. We can't have presidential campaigns negotiating foreign policy plans exactly because foreign powers will then seek to influence the election in their own favor. This appears to be exactly what happened whether a formal deal was ever reached or not. The Trump campaign is even more compromised because they obviously knew about the foreign interference. Their policy positions upon winning the election are therefore subject to blackmail. So yeah, Trump's campaign manager communicating policy ideas with Kilimnik goes to the heart of the issue. Our national security has been compromised.

  122. I remember when it was horrifying to imagine that the Trump campaign might have been in contact with Russia during the campaign (leaking hacked emails and social media work). Imagine if -- in our naivety of late 2016 and early 2017 -- someone had told us that the campaign was not only discussing these matters and sharing sensitive internal polling with the Russians, but that it was also discussing a significant change in foreign policy towards Russia. Then throw in the cherry on top: that Trump was negotiating for Trump tower Moscow while denying it to the American people. This is the stuff of treason, no matter the legal definition.

  123. "Russia was taking steps to bolster Mr. Trump’s candidacy, people in his orbit were discussing deals to end a dispute over Russia’s incursions into Ukraine." U.S. politics lacks any sense of history. South Vietnam colluded with Richard Nixon 1968 to help him get elected because they feared the Democratic candidate would end the war at their expense. Nations are always trying to influence other nations' elections based on their own self interest.

  124. @joe, yes but Nixon's collusion was an outrage and so is our current president's.

  125. There has never been mystery about why Russia wanted Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. In its report to Congress on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the U.S. Intelligence stated: “Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.” Russians perceive Hillary Clinton as anti-Russian due to statements she made while serving as U.S. secretary of state and would have backed any candidate who ran against her in the 2016 election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” to influence the 2016 election. Paul Manafort was no longer associated with the Trump campaign when he and his Kiev office manager Konstantin Kilimnik supposedly discussed “deals to end a dispute over Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and possibly give Moscow relief from economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies.” So how can the five discussions—four of which took place after the 2016 election— be at the “heart” of the Mueller investigation?

  126. every time a republican says there is no evidence of trump campaign collusion? I can't help but wonder what they would be saying if Obama was the one being investigated. actually I don't wonder at all..... Obama would be wearing an orange jumpsuit today.

  127. Given the evidence that has emerged, Trump must be sorely afraid that Putin will become angry nothing has been given to the Russians after (allegedly) helping Trump to power. This would explain Trump's obsequious behavior, since he knows Putin could reveal him as a traitor if he so chose.And perhaps Putin may do just that (in so many words). After all, what fun is it stealing an election from the US, if no one knows masterminded it? If Putin loves Russia, he'll keep his mouth closed and try to steal another. If Putin loves Putin more, we may someday here what happened from the horse's mouth.

  128. ...Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen - big deal....two years of investigation and this is all it has yielded. Those two were involved in organized crime long before they met Donald Trump. We're still waiting - it's been 2 years and the Country is wondering what, if anything, Mr. Mueller will find on our President. The answer is nothing.........it has been a witch hunt - but there are no witches....

  129. @JMS....Trump's campaign manager supplies Kilimnik with secret campaign polling data, Kushner and Trump Jr. meet with a Russian operative who claims to have dirt on Clinton. Russia hacks the Clinton campaign and dumps the material to WikiLeaks. The Russians mount a concerted social media campaign to support the Trump campaign effort. Kushner tries to establish back door channel communications with Russia. Flynn lies about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. And the Muller investigation is a witch hunt? Do you work for the Russians?

  130. @W.A. Spitzer and don't forget this little nugget..... trump's campaign lobbied for a change to the platform of the republican party - rescind condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea

  131. This account omits a few important matters. 1-The "polling data" provided to Kilimnick in August 16 was recent, complex, and expensive according to the transcript. Judge Berman questioned why, if it was merely public data, so much money was paid for it. Manafort actually walked through the data with Kilimnick to ensure he understood its import. 2-Citing anonymous sources, the Times previously reported that Manafort gave Kilimnick "mostly public" polling data in spring 2016. Are both dates correct, spring 16 and the known August data transfer? Why isn't the previous story mentioned here? 3-The transcript yields a more damning picture of high-level proprietary polling data being carefully explained in a face-to-face meeting with an FBI-assessed Russian intel asset and Team Trump's No. 1 and 2 executives. A meeting where, as noted, measures were taken to hide the rendezvous. Given that this meeting is of central interest to Mueller, I'm betting the Times' earlier account was a self-serving leak from Trump's legal team designed to preempt the full story yet to emerge.

  132. Hasn't this already been confirmed by the "president's" television advisors and lawyers, Hannity, Giuliani and Fox & Friends when they repeatedly declare that collusion isn't a crime?

  133. Working with the Russians to get Trump elected is totally obvious to the world and polling data given over to the Russians included Cambridge Analytica data that was given to Kushner. I consider Trump and his entire cabal a bunch of traitors who should be charged with treason as well as any other crimes still forthcoming whether of a financial nature or under conspiracies to defraud the United States. No-one, including Trump's base of supporters and the GOP, have any personal doubts that Trump took Putin's help to get elected. He said it often enough himself even publicly.

  134. This seems to all come down to good old fashioned American greed. Manafort, Trump and family, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Gates, Mnuchin - all selling out our Nation's values and history in service to more money than they know what to do with. Wow.

  135. We already know that Donald Trump lied to the American people repeatedly during his campaign about everything from his Russian business ties and meetings to his lies about his prior history of sexual assault and harassment. In the good old days, before 2016, that would have been enough for the American people to demand his resignation. Boy do I miss the good ole days.

  136. Please, please, include links to underlying court documents in your reporting. I would have loved to read the relevant portions of the transcript for myself. And in an era of fake news accusations, it is especially important that credible news outlets tie their stories to the source documents.

  137. In simple terms, the question is whether Trump traded Ukraine for negative emails on Hillary. Given that Trump is alleged to have squandered donations destined for kids with cancer, that Trump is alleged to have lined his pockets with inauguration funds, given that Trump is alleged to have leaked news so he could "short" commodities, why should this news surprise anyone? We already watch Trump squander $3.3 mill every weekend he flies Air Force One to Mar-A-Lago to play golf. I cannot think of any form of self serving, underhanded looting Trump would NOT do. But the worst is now unfolding in the "arrangement" Trump appears to be making with Putin concerns arms buildup. If the past is any indication of the future, there's gotta be a deal for Trump embedded in there. Trump represents a major failure of our democracy in that we are unable to automatically eject a president so obviously unfit.

  138. Reading about all of the indictments over the past year and the shady characters who brought the US to the precarious situation we are in today, I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be better for women to rule the world. It is unbearable to watch the dismantling of our democracy on a weekly basis and feel so powerless to stop it. Do all of you men who are also keeping up ever notice that all the players are men? And do you think to yourself, maybe we should vote for more women? Trump is allowed to cheat on his wife with porn stars, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex is ridiculed for dancing. At middle age I've never felt so deflated by the mere quality of being a female. VOTE FOR WOMEN.

  139. @southern mom - Nah, don’t vote for women; vote for good people. Would you want America ruled by the likes of Sarah Palin, Kellyanne Conway, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Let’s dispense with the outdated Victorian notion that women are the fairer gender and instead select our leaders based on character.

  140. Was Manafort free-lancing to solve his own money problems? Did he draw Trump into his conspiracy to save his own butt? Was Trump a willing participant in order to a) get dirt on HC, as a guy who sees no wrong in getting any advantage he can whether legal or otherwise and b) in order to advance his business interests in Russia, assuming he would lose the election? Or was Trump just stupid and unaware of all of Manafort's problems with Russians, and was just played by Manafort? I hope we find out.

  141. You had one job, Electoral College! Just one!

  142. Another fake Trump Russia collusion nonsense fairy tale article. I guess that means there is uncomfortable news about Mueller's witch hunt and the Democrat corruption of the last election coming out soon.

  143. It is my understanding that political party "polling data" is always a closely guarded secret because it contains within it the candidate's or party's campaign strategy. Now ask yourself, why would Mr. Kilimnik want the Trump campaign's polling data, and why would Manafort (Trump's campaign manager) give it to him? There can be only conclusion. Add to that add the Trump tower meeting between Kushner and Trump Junior and a Russian operative with alleged dirt on Clinton, the Kushner effort to establish a backdoor channel with Russia, and Flynn's lies about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador. It should be obvious - there was collusion with Russia. There is a traitor in the White House.

  144. At the very least influential individuals surrounding Trump and imbedded in the Trump campaign were covertly trying to get US sanctions removed for the economic benefit of Russia. Many of those Russian players attended the inauguration. It is already proven that Russia tried to influence the election so that Hillary Clinton would not become president because she would not play footsie with Putin. As campaign manager Manafort shared polling data with Kilimnik, a Russian operative in the midst of the campaign. The kind of information that can be used to microtarget disinformation down to the precinct level, in exchange for his delinquent loans. There are questions of Russian money being funneled through the NRA to buy pro-Trump political ads. Roger Stone was apparently coordinating with Wikileaks to drop emails obtained by Russian hackers that would further damage the Clinton campaign and Don Junior was up to his neck trying to get “dirt” from his Russian contacts on Clinton, so much so, his father tried to cover it up. Actually his father tried to cover up quite a lot repeatedly. For starters his long term business involvement in Russia, up to and Including dragging his heels on refusing to impose the Russian sanctions enacted by his Republican congress in a veto proof majority and perpetuating the lie that Russia never tried to interfere with the election. Then there are those private meetings with Putin with no read outs. Follow The Money.

  145. @Rose Well said. Sanctions, Ukraine, Moscow hotels, years of shady Russian money flowing into Trump properties, Russian finacing for decades, it is all connected. Russia knew they had an ally in Trump, and Trump knew he had an ally in Russia. Its sickening how transperant how much a sycophant Trump is to Putin. The tip of this rancid iceberg was evident for all to see at the Republican convention, when the party platform relating to Russia was watered down.

  146. @Rose Yes follow the money, including money that Creepy Donald Trump thought he could make by being best buddies with Vlad. Creepy Donald Trump has already floated excuses: I had no deals with Russia. OK, I tried to get a deal but it fell through. This will be the defense: "An unconsummated deal means it didn't affect my actions." But of course, things were exchanged (polling data, Wikileaks advance notice, maybe bags o' cash) and opportunities to blackmail Creepy Donald Trump were created even if no deal was completed.

  147. I hope there is more than this to the Mueller investigation. This is fairly weak and the connections are very convoluted to be easily explained to the electorate. The greatest problem, however, may be no evidence of Trump fingerprints.

  148. @Mister Ed Are you not following? What has already been revealed through indictments and guilty pleas isn't enough for you to be able to explain how Donald Trump's campaign was in the pocket of the Russians who wanted sanctions lifted? That's all that is needed to explain. Lift sanctions = become President.

  149. @Mister Ed What is the common denominator to all of those who have been charged? Why would any of these guys have been participating in ANY business with Russia and Russians? Just a coincidence?

  150. @Mimi - Not to be discounted are the efforts by the Trump organization to pursue real estate ventures in Russia. Lift sanctions = Trump Tower Moscow

  151. If there were no communications, then there could be no collusion. If there were communications, then that is where one would have to look to find any collusion. Hiding actual communications thus obstructs the investigation from going to the one place it must go. That is the heart of the investigation. However, it is a separate question whether the communications themselves were improper. It is the job of the incoming team to explore the possibility for peace. It is their job to make things better, not to push them into worse. They are supposed to be talking to the Russians about those things. Hiding that hides both any collusion and the doing of their proper job, depending on what was going on. Finding that they hid it does not prove that they were doing the wrong thing. It just proves they want to prevent others from looking into it. And it is supposed to be highly secret national security. They are supposed to hide it from some others, just not these others. We might therefore have seen evidence of obstruction. We have not been told of evidence of collusion. It is the place we would look if we were told the substance, but we have not been, by prosecutor or anyone else.

  152. @Mark Thomason "We have not been told of evidence of collusion. It is the place we would look if we were told the substance, but we have not been, by prosecutor or anyone else." That's because Mueller's investigation - and now the Democratic Party-controlled House investigations - aren't over yet.

  153. @Mark Thomason And I will add that in my long years of following politics, I have never seen a U.S. President discuss all their moves dealing with foreign nations, nor with divulging to the public everything they do on a national security level----until Donald Trump was elected President. Now, there are those that want to know everything about meetings with foreign leaders, communications with foreign leaders, and they want to know everything about national security. It's beyond belief.

  154. @Bruce Kanin Senators Warner and Burr finished their Senate report, concerning "collusion" with Russia. Burr announced that they found no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, over their 28-month investigation. But the MSM really haven't reported that, for some strange reason.

  155. Whatever Russia’s motives, it faced in 2016 the prospect of two very predictable but starkly different forces occupying the American White House. The first was a tough, savvy stateswoman with strong international ties, a deep distrust of Russian motives and robust support for NATO. The other was a blow-hard isolationist, whose political naïveté, hostility to long-term alliances and self-centered interests in Russia were exceeded only by his vanity and simplistic eagerness to blow up American democratic institutions. Long shot or not, supporting Trump was a no-brainer for Putin.

  156. @angus Yes, too bad Hillary kept telling the working people of America that there was "no money" to invest in them and their children while Trump offered them everything, plus tax cuts. If you still think the winning candidate will be the one that tells workers they can't have healthcare, education or infrastructure, you are trying to repeat history.

  157. @McGloin Hillary never said that. She wanted to invest in retraining, mostly for the green jobs in renewable energy that would provide manufacturing jobs. Education was always in the forefront in that we needed to invest more. And the only party taking away healthcare is the Republican party. And you may want to check your tax return. I'm hearing that many people are not getting a tax return when during the previous administration they did. That means more money should have been taken out of your paycheck if you owe. Only the rich got the tax cut.

  158. @McGloin What Trump offered was dog whistles to racist white folks.

  159. Perhaps the best indicator of the seriousness of the findings described in the article is the reaction of Richard Burr. "based on the evidence they have seen so far" is the qualifier used by Mr Burr when he stated that his committee had seen no evidence of collusion. Probably a factually true statement since I haven't yet seen any democratic denouncement of his statement for accuracy. Which implies that Mr Burr may well think that if the storyline described in the article is true, then collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian oligarchs did happen. Couple that storyline with the multiple threads of Mr Kushner's and Mr Trump Jrs meetings with agents for the same Russian oligarchs, and you really have a problem here for the GOP. If Mr Burr's committee had seen evidence of the authors' storyline, then they would have had to act. Don't forget, Mr Burr's committee included democrats who would not have been shy about raising the alarm. But they didn't act. So they could claim they didn't know. Hence the continued, but cooling support for Trump among the less partisan of the republican politicians. But a storyline such as this, if it holds water, changes the game considerably. It means a day of reckoning is approaching with real consequences for the guilty, the dumber than dirt, the feckless, the misguided and the misinformed.

  160. @TDurk We know that the storyline described in the article is not true just based on public events. Like president Trump arming the Ukrainians with lethal weapons...something that Obama refused to do. Like convincing Germany to not buy fuel from Russia. Like sending U.S. Army troops to Poland and the Baltic States, and sending U.S. Army troops into Georgia. Like inducing NATO members to spend more on their national defense. I don't see how any rational person can look at these facts and continue to say that Trump owes something to Russia. Of course, they are not rational...they are delusional.

  161. @TDurk I read the CBS piece last week and had the same reaction. Burr's committee just may not yet have the evidence.

  162. @TDurkNow we need to wait to see what will happen when the reckoning comes. Its appalling to me that elected Republicans and their financial supporters continue to match on with Trump.

  163. Still, at this point, no one can predict how and when this will end. What most of us will say, though, is that when it is all said and done, we are certainly deserved of the equivalent of the Warren Report and the 9/11 Commission Report. No, this Mueller Report cannot be swept under the rug.

  164. The article says Manafort's allies deny that Kilimnik is Russian intelligence by saying that he's interacted with the US Embassy, travels freely to the US, and communicates with State. None of that is unusual in the espionage arena. Foreign spies are often known to the governments they target and are allowed to remain largely unmolested. Secret identities and cloak-and-dagger activities are mostly Hollywood. In real life, it makes little sense to arrest a known agent. That's because we also have agents in the foreign country and they're often known to foreign intelligence. If one country starts rolling up networks, the other country would too—best not to cause a provocation. You can also follow the agent to figure out what the objective of the operation might be, which people might be involved, and whether there's any way to flip them.

  165. For years my parents would tell me the reason they left south america was because of the systemic corruption in the political and economic system. Even though its always been present in this country in all of its history, I feel that we have finally hit bottom or close to it with the current government. Whats amazing is that this rot has always been there. It just took an majority of enablers to make it bloom.

  166. @Sparky I agree but would go a little deeper. The real problem is that the prosperity created by government investment in We the People (from jobs programs to free education to highways to scientists) made us all too comfortable and lazy, so we stopped holding our politicians accountable. This let them forget who their real bosses are and start taking orders from their campaign donors instead. Governing is the responsibility of all citizens not just politicians. When We the People stop watching and complaining, the whole system falls apart. Voting is the beginning off your responsibility as a citizen not the entirety.

  167. The article says, "But the essential question of why the Kremlin bet so heavily on Mr. Trump, and whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had any indication that Mr. Trump would give him what he desired, has remained unresolved." They may be "unresolved" by a the legal definition of "beyond a reasonable doubt" but WE THE PEOPLE have no doubt. The Con Don, Putin and their Robber Baron brethren are in bed together and they want to destroy governments around the world and plunder the people's treasures. I have some questions for anyone who still supports The Con Don and his Robber Baron brethren: Would you die for them? Would you allow your children and/or grandchildren to die for them? Would you like to see OUR United States of America destroyed and taken over by despots? Any thinking person will say no to all three and take actions to stop them now - before they can start the WW3 they are pining for. War is VERY profitable to them. Fear-anger-hate-death-destruction-chaos-misinformation are the tools they use to try to start it. Let's be smart Good People of the world and refuse to allow them to try to destroy OUR world again.

  168. @njglea No

  169. In my opinion, this is no longer about whether serious crimes were committed but rather how deep, far and wide they go. A quick conclusion would potentially close down dozens of lines of inquiry. I have several varieties of weeds growing in my yard that I try to manage without toxic chemicals. The ones that are most invasive and damaging have underground runners constantly colonizing new areas, or loft their seeds into the breeze. I find inspiration in the patience of the Mueller investigation when I am feeling for the runners and carefully extracting them or digging out deep taproots. (BTW, chickens love eating the non-toxic weeds and turn them into great eggs)

  170. @Look Ahead Sounds like you have more bugs than facts in your garden. We all have opinions, but what about facts? I hate this Mueller investigation just as much as I hated the ridiculous Clinton Libya investigation. Anyone of us could be subject to a Mueller style investigation - we should be resisting this type of abusive entry by the police into politics.

  171. Trump's path down the escalator as longshot candidate to victory on election night is like many paths we all take. Possibilities become defined and motivating factors change. Like a road trip that ends up winding into side trips, new vistas and opportunities. As Trump's election road trip went on, various opportunities, plans and motivations came clear. His personal gain with Russian development deals was in mind. Staying on good terms with Putin would be key. Putin needed an ally in the US to remove crippling sanctions. He dispised Clinton who would be a tough adversary. The road trip heads into Spring of 2016 and Paul Manafort comes into view. He has a foot in two worlds - Ukraine and US politics. He becomes a conduit: Russia to Trump / Trump to Russia. He's hired. Perfect. Trump wants to win (for his ego and Russian businesses), Putin needs him to win (remove sanctions). Next on the road trip- opportunity and new vistas. Russia will hack Clinton's campaign. They do, and they let Don Jr. know it at Trump Tower meeting. No collision on the ACTUAL hacking - there's the deniability. "No collusion!" Get it? Spread Clinton campaign email? A 3rd party. Wiki Leaks. Motive > hack > dissemination. Trump aware of it all. Manafort resigns August 16 as first Russian connection is reported. Remember? Along the way, buffoons and clues. Stone, Trump. Trump staff/Russia chatter. FBI listening. Road trip in hindsight- dirty Trump/Russia quid pro quo.

  172. More of a "smocking gun" than a "clue" if you ask me. Manafort's lawyers tacitly conceded that this exchange occurred (with the Russian agent), they argued rather if Gates account was accurate that Manafort had ordered it. The judge appeared to side with the US lawyers, that gates account was corroborated by contemporaneous emails. The judge even called out the typical spy movie tactics of the clandestine exchange, noting they entered and left the Havana Club separately. Get it together NYTimes. I appreciate this is the first major news outlet to cover that closed door hearing, but the transcript has been available for several days now and the implications are much larger than just a "clue."

  173. I believe that the Muller inquiry is not yet over and that there will be many surprises or “bombs” in his reports. So many of Trump’s principal associates have been either charged, sentenced, convicted, pleaded guilty and/or are under investigation for criminal activity by the Robert Mueller inquiry. As Aesop, who wrote Aesop’s Fables, famously noted: “If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.” Trump is not different from the character of his principal associates. He has declared bankruptcy four times in his prior life of business activity while trying to game the system illegally. It has been noted in recent NYT investigative articles that Trump is using the same methods while being president as he used in his prior life of business activity. The Deal Maker in Chief is most likely guilty of multiple illegal offenses.

  174. The consolation prize for losing the election was a hotel in a prime location in Moscow, which, as Trump corroborated recently in these pages, he didn't have to put any money down for. This was the bribe for just running, and the least of Russian assistance. Other assistance came in direct response to a cry, "Russia, if you're listening . ." when candidate Trump did indeed know that Russia was listening. It is not necessary to look deeply for an exact quid pro quo exchange. Putin has had private conversations with Trump to ask whatever he wanted. The kompromat Putin holds over Trump is the exact details of their exchanges, whether Mueller discovers them or not. At any time Putin can substantiate his relationship with Trump, and ruin Trump and his family. Somehow, this naked fact is unobserved.

  175. Putin has the receipts. That's all he needs.

  176. This appears to fall into the long line of violations of the Logan act undertaken by Republican candidates for President. Nixon's undermining of the Vietnam peace negotiations by covert approaches to the Hanoi regime; Reagan's covert approach to the Iranians to subvert the hostage release negotiations and now the Trump campaign's efforts to subvert U.S. sanctions and sell out the Ukrainians in pursuit of a hotel deal in Moscow. When are Republican voters going to wake up?

  177. If the Justice Dept. tries to stifle the Mueller report I hope at least one House committee will call him to testify about the report in an open hearing.

  178. So many countries, so many people involved in this investigation. It is clear that Trump favors Russian, Saudi Arabia etc. I am thankful that the Democrats want answers because I want to know. Republicans eagerly look the other way, failing in their intelligence to ask the right questions and protect our country, the citizens. Their motto: Trump/Party over country. Just watching them in hearings exhibits the lack of professionalism, control, that is needed to return our country to civility. (Collins of GA, Trey Gowdy, Jordan etc.) Absolutely amazing at how many unethical friends Trump has. Becoming obvious: You are who you hang around with.

  179. Watch the Helsinki debacle again. The man is compromised. Our country is compromised.

  180. When Trump took over, our relations with Russia had dangerously diminished. Russian military was using the phrase "nuclear option" when talking about us. They have 6000 nuclear tipped missiles with our address on them. Obama's stated purpose was to put economic hardships on the people of Russia so that Putin would not be elected in the next election. It was a total failure as far as that goal. Russia is still there and Putin is President. What do we expect Russia to do to have sanctions dropped? Did anyone think Putin would pull out? So why not look at some way to end this conflict and move on. In all of this, there is not one suggestion that Trump asked Putin for help. He didn’t need to, Read Donna Brazil’s book on what put Trump in the White House or Shattered, that looks at Clinton’s “doomed campaign”. You will find that It wasn’t Putin who provided that wave of red across the country. This investigation needs to be finished.

  181. Occam’s Razor dictates that the simplest answer is often the correct one. Everyone should consider this when pondering that the Trump Campaign lobbied for precisely ONE change to the Republican Party Platform; rescinding condemnation of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. One has to why Trump and his fellow Russophiles would do this and what they stood to gain.

  182. What else is new? We already knew that: Putin wants Ukraine and Crimea, and he does not want economic sanctions on his oligarchs. And his people were dealing with Trump's people about those things before, during, and after the 2016 campaign.

  183. Trump is withdrawing our troops from Syria based on advice from Putin and vs advice from our military and intel agencies does this raise the question Trump is compromised. Trump is a clear and present danger to America and as soon it is confirmed he is compromised Trump needs to be removed from office before he does serious damage to our national security. Russia and Saudi Arabia have a hold over the Trump regime based on the Trump family financial interests it seems obvious to most folks in the biz.

  184. I have to ask: How hard has Mr. Burr looked for evidence of collusion/conspiracy with his committee? Has he called witnesses who would definitely know if there were collusion? Or, like so many Republicans, has he just skimmed the surface with his investigation?

  185. Strange Mr. Burr, because "based on the evidence" that the public has seen so far, I see a lot of evidence for collusion.

  186. Wow Kilimnik used to work for IRI, which for a time was a 501C3 that I worked for. That was the same time frame and my language requirement was Russian but I never saw Kilimnik at IRI’s HQ. That IRI must have been a Russian company but see in Cyrillic there is no I and there is no R. Very mysterious.

  187. @trft IRI is an acronym for the English translation of the Russian name. And there is an "R" sound in Russian ... the cyrrilic letter P/р ... as in русский.

  188. Sometimes I wonder if Trump's corruption is so involved, and goes so far, that he just might get to the end of his term because it takes so long to investigate a web of this size. In short, the deep level of his corruption might just save him. The only thing left to pull off is having a successor pardon him and his family.

  189. As always, our "Secret Police" continue to operate in total secrecy, in what is obviously a totally political "investigation". As much as I despise Trump, Mueller is a greater threat to our democracy than Trump. At least Trump is up front about his vile activities. Those of us who are old enough to remember McCarthy, know a "Joe McMueller" investigation when we see one - all accusation, no substance, with one person after another, being dragged in and threatened with ruin, if they don't "give names" and purger themselves. How anyone can claim to be a "liberal" while supporting Mueller, is a mystery to me. Impeach Trump now for what he is doing, and stop this fraudulent investigation of what he hasn't done. Do we have the votes in the Senate? Most likely not - but make them all stand up and be counted. Look at it this way - if you can't get the votes based on the obvious stuff, how many votes will you get, based on a hypothetical crime with alleged conspirators who can't possibly be brought in the court room? Even less.

  190. @Peter Zenger There is a big difference in 'supporting Mueller' and supporting thorough investigation of the vile clown and his parasitic spawn.

  191. @Peter Zenger, you should be aware of the fact that you learned about this hearing from a free press reporting on a publicly-available transcript. Compare that to the actions of the President who, even after being publicly suspected of operating as an agent of the Russian government, insists on meeting with Putin in total secrecy, even seizing the interpreter's notes. Trump is deeply compromised, and no amount of frustration with an honest and scrupulous investigation can excuse Trump's wrongs.

  192. There are so many complex issues at play here about campaign funding and who or what legal entity can or cannot make contributions. Those who hold green cards can contribute, a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation can contribute as long as segregated funds are used. A campaign is prohibited from accepting checks or wire transfers from a foreign bank. The list goes on, and I am certainly not a lawyer. We do not know the cards Mueller is holding. So right now it will all come down to following the money and airtight proof of illegal contributions with intent to collude with a foreign government to win an election. Knowing something and proving something are sometimes very difficult. You may unequivocally know intent, but you have to be able to prove it. Certainly there is ample evidence of the appearance of collusion. with appearance being the key word. Going forward, there should be laser focus on campaign finance. Any campaign in the recent past with ties to Russia should come under scrutiny. Almost forgotten now are the millions of dollars of ties to Russian money funneled to Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham through Leonard Blavatnik, a Russian born wealthy businessman and associate of oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Mitch McConnell fought and won the battle against maintaining sanctions against Deripaska's aluminum company. The sticking point in this is the money was funneled by Blavatnik who holds dual U.S./U.K citizenship. Intent versus loopholes.

  193. All, in particular the elected Republicans close to the knowledge, are on the leeward side of a mountain with a huge storm approaching. They can plausibly say “there is no evidence supporting X, Y and Z - be it collusion or other matters - simply because the Special Prosecutor has not yet rendered a final report or filed its last batch of indictments. But the wind must be up and skies darkening, certainly they feel it. Their vociferousness of defense is abating. The weather is coming and hopefully a real change in climate will take hold after the storm hits and passes.

  194. I bet that there is a strong likelihood that Putin's money (who seems to have amassed billions of rubles from corrupt sources), is invested in some of Trump's real estate deals. Investigating Trump's corporations and associated taxes are probably going to give a really good picture of what has been going on behind the scenes.

  195. America is just tired of Trump. Go away please with all your lies;hate and bragging. Ray Sipe

  196. It's ok for the US to overthrow the government of Ukraine. It's ok for the US to overthrow the government of Venezuela. So many examples left. But alleged Russian "meddling" in US elections is holy hell. US election rules allow a minority popular vote to determine who is president. US election rules allow lobbyists to buy elections and elected officials, gerrymander so that the majority cannot win an election. "Russian meddling" is such a smokescreen for a dysfunctional system. Our political misleaders prefer to blow smoke instead of fixing the system.

  197. Of course Kushner and Don Jr were in the room, they know. Let them lie and then indite. Fan the flames a little faster.

  198. Aha! Now you’ve got him! If it’s true. How many times have we been told this? The blind hatred for Trump has shamed this once reliable Old Gray Lady. Get the evidence and cease posting theories, rumors and innuendo above the fold.

  199. Manafort is more afraid of Russia than he is of Mueller so he continues to tell lies.

  200. Trump’s lawyers have already stipulated enough to indict or impeach individual 1. Rudy says collusion is not a crime (but conspiracy to defraud the electorate is), and Trump was pursuing a $300 million Trump Tower Moscow payoff throughout his campaign. Many of Trump’s lawyers have said he can’t possibly testify without lying. And everybody in Trump’s orbit lied about their Russian contacts. We know Trump lied about election fraud in the form of porn star and Playmate payoffs. We know he lied about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians. We know he lied about pursuing deals in Russia. I wouldn’t betray my country for $300 mil, but Trump would steal a nickel from a bum if he thought no one was watching. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about a consensual affair in a private lawsuit. We have it on the authority of Lindsey Graham and Bart Kavanaugh that that was a major threat to the republic at the time. It’s time to get on with removing this unfit clown from office. He’s a stain on the country and a menace to the entire world. Make him testify under oath and on tape. Twenty minutes should do it. If he can’t or won’t, he should be forced to resign. A deal to avoid prosecution should do it.

  201. Everyone should understand for Donald Trump to make a few hundred million dollars on Trump Moscow, he would sell this country out to the Russians in a heartbeat. If you do not understand that, then you are hopeless.

  202. The CW is now that there will be no blockbuster in the Mueller report. Many came to the conclusion a long time ago that the whole thing was a farce from the beginning. So they roust a bunch of Trump supporters, create a bunch of process crimes and find the usual bank fraud, etc., but not much else. The Russians brilliantly set this in motion with the help of the resistance who would believe anything in the world when it comes to negativity involving Trump. The Russians have generated two years of bitter partisan warring here. Whoever orchestrated this for the Russians no doubt enjoys a rewarding life in Russia. I am sure the success of fomenting discord in the US was beyond the wildest imagination of anyone in the Kremlin. They knew there was an oversupply of useful idiots in the US who would run with the fakery, but not as many as eventually have. Probably the most successful propaganda move in history and the gullible liberals swallowed it whole.

  203. Anyone heard from the guy who was in charge when all this was going on and let this happen? I heard his wife was on tv just last night.

  204. A bit of a stretch, don't you think, blaming Obama for Trump's conspiracy with a foreign adversary?

  205. So theory becomes front page news. theory discussed in a closed meeting. Does the NYTimes really believe that Trump is president because of Russia?! Trump is president because Hillary Clinton is not honest, not compelling, and did take money from countries around the world for her 'campaign' or at least her global initiative which enriched the Clinton family. What's up with selling the Russians 20% of US uranium, by the way? Trump did not win because of his character, eloquence, or intelligence. Trump won because Hillary was not a viable candidate and because the Dems are the party of open borders and sanctuary cities.

  206. @Ma Tick tock tick tock.....

  207. Can't you tell the difference between "Russia helped Trump win" and "Trump won because of Russian help"? The first is a proven fact, assented to by the U.S. intelligence community. The second is practically impossible to prove but also is not necessary for the first statement to be true. Any acceptance of Russian help by Trump is criminal whether or not it can be proven to have put him over the line in the election of 2016.

  208. No, Hillary lost because a growing number of voters believe in easily disproven nonsense like: the Sandy Hook killings were staged, vaccinations cause autism, Barak Obama is a secret muslim who was not born in the US and that Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor. Oh, and she sold the Russians 20% of US Uranium. On that last issues, I suggest you read the Dec. 2018 Forbes article for details on the Russian Uranium One deal. Or, you can continue to vote as if America's greatness is dependent on convincing the world that the earth is flat.

  209. You are all dreamers. President Trump is not going anywhere, at least not until the end of 2024!

  210. @DAB....Ever wonder what the odds are that Trump will be the Republican nominee in 2020?

  211. Trump IN, sanctions OUT...…..that's called a deal. Who made it all happen are clear.

  212. Everything that Trump repeats for branding purposes is a lie. Can you think of anything that isn't? "No Collusion!" over and over again.......I can only assume he means yes I conspired with the Russians.

  213. Putin and Fox News have convinced the American people every politician is equally corrupt, so Trump will never be prosecuted. An example of the idiocy: Americans think it's OK Trump made a deal with Russia to become president; Americans think it's no more corrupt than Hillary molesting children. It doesn't matter that Hillary never molested children, and that story is fake news. Americans believe it just the same. Info-entertainment and the echo chamber of Hannity, Coulter and Limbaugh, have distorted beliefs and serves as propaganda. Info-entertainment is destroying democracy. We need to end 24 hour news. We need to regulate Facebook so it includes no politics and only cat videos. We need to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine that Reagan overturned. We need to separate news and opinion. We need to hold opinion accountable. We need to end news as drama, and end news as gossip. Bring back Walter Cronkite. Make News Boring Again. Go back to a time when it was impolite to talk about politics and religion. Make America Polite Again. Is it even possible?

  214. Jared must know, Don Jr, must know, Ivanka must know. Why haven’t they been called to testify?

  215. @Mother Good question ... perhaps they are targets of the investigation.

  216. Trump’s ulterior motive is himself not the USA.

  217. You put the pieces together and it makes sense. First, a bully only bullies those that he does not respect or that he knows he can get away with it. Putin he respects. Next, a mob boss never gets involved in actual negotiations. This is done by trusted lieutenants; i.e. those that surround Trump. Finally, a shady developer always has his own interests at heart; i.e. Trump Tower Moscow. There are all kinds of ways to launder money when it comes to construction, rents, or condo sales. What does Putin want? Sanctions Relief! What does Trump want? Trump Tower Moscow! What do they both want? Free Money!

  218. So much for a closed door hearing. Find the leaker.

  219. The transcript of the hearing is public. There is no leaker.

  220. Even if true. So what. Obama didn’t bargain with Iran and award her billons to eliminate sanctions to get the nuclear deal??? Is that also collusion?? Didn’t Obama get nailed with a hot mike with Russian PM about having more leverage after the election? Is that collusion?? Isn’t this politics as usual? This is surreal. Anything trump does is wrong or evil, even when everyone else does it. Prove to me that Russia helped him win and a quid pro quo. Otherwise, this is pure breathless nonsense.

  221. @Ari Weitzner....Prove to me that Russia helped him win and a quid pro quo. Otherwise, this is pure breathless nonsense. .....We already now that Russia helped him win. We already know that Manafort had the Republican Platform changed with regard to Ukraine, that Trump's National Security Advisor Flynn lied about discussing reduced sanctions with the Russian Ambassador, that Kushner tried to establish back channel communications with the Kremlin, that Trump has threatened to withdraw from NATO, supported Brexit, and under cut the European alliance, that he recently removed (against the advise of Congress) sanctions against a Russian oilgarch buddy of Putin, that he announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria resulting in Defense Secretary Mattis to resign...is that breathless nonsense?