Burr’s Blind Eye To Collusion
Senator Richard Burr needs to re-examine what he thinks is acceptable campaign contact with hostile foreign powers. The very same day that The Washington Post extensively detailed a secret meeting between Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a suspected Russian intelligence operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, Burr claimed the Senate Intelligence Committee has found “no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
How can Burr claim there’s nothing wrong with the head of a presidential campaign meeting secretly with a suspected Russia intelligence operative – in the middle of an election the Kremlin was trying to influence?
Burr is clearly picking up where Devin Nunes left off as President Donald Trump’s accomplice in Congress.
- He has again and again been enlisted by the White House to defend Trump over the Russia investigation.
- Committee staffers and Senator Mark Warner, the ranking member on the committee, have already pushed back on Burr’s statement.
Clear evidence already exists of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia.
- The June 9 meeting: Donald Trump Jr. received an email from a Kremlin-linked middleman explicitly offering dirt on Hillary Clinton “as part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
- Trump Jr. not only eagerly took the meeting but brought in the campaign’s chairman and Jared Kushner, and even offered initial guidance for when to release the “dirt.”
- Coordination between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks: Roger Stone allegedly developed a secret backchannel to WikiLeaks at the explicit direction of top Trump campaign officials.
- George Papadopoulos and the hacked emails: George Papadopoulos lied about meetings with a suspected Russian intelligence agent who told him in advance that Russia had stolen and planned to publish the Clinton campaign’s emails.
- A suspected Russian agent was on the Trump campaign: Carter Page, another campaign foreign policy adviser whom U.S. intelligence repeatedly concluded may be a Russian agent, traveled to Moscow during the campaign—with explicit permission from campaign leadership—to meet with high-ranking members of the Russian government.
- Paul Manafort passed polling data to a Russian agent: Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates passed internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik, a man they knew had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, with specific orders to forward the information to oligarchs with a history of doing the Kremlin’s bidding.
- According to court filings, the exchange “goes very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating”—especially given that there seems to have been a proposed quid pro quo regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Coordination with Russia was widespread and clear.
- There were more than 100 contacts with representatives of a hostile foreign power seeking to change the course of an American election during the campaign and transition.
- At least 28 Trump associates participated in or knew about at least one of those contacts.
- In those contacts, they shared polling data, opposition research, policy issues, and campaign strategy.
- Lastly, the Mueller investigation, which is narrowly focused on uncovering coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, has already resulted in indictments and guilty pleas from Trump’s campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security adviser, and personal attorney.