Dispatch January 17, 2019

Five Easy Examples of Collusion for Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani is back on his goalpost-moving game, backtracking on two years of denials that there was “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. And he is right to backtrack—it has been obvious for a long time that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

Here are the five major examples of collusion that are pretty serious offenses, no matter what narrow definition of “wrong” Giuliani deploys:

  1. The June 9 meeting: Donald Trump Jr. received an email from an emissary for a Russian oligarch 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.”
  2. Coordination between Roger Stone and WikiLeaks: Roger Stone, one of Trump’s longest-time advisers, had a secret backchannel to WikiLeaks. He appears to have used it to learn advance information about what emails would be released when, which the Trump campaign could then use to maximize its campaign strategy. (Stone has repeatedly denied having advanced knowledge.)
  3. George Papadopoulos and the hacked emails: George Papadopoulos, the Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, lied about meetings with a Kremlin-linked professor who told him in advance that Russia had stolen and planned to publish the Clinton campaign’s emails.
  4. A suspected Russian agent on the 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.
  5. Paul Manafort passed polling to a Russian agent: Trump’s campaign chairman Paul 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. This is after Manafort and Kilimnik reportedly discussed private briefings for a Russian oligarch who has helped finance Manafort’s pro-Kremlin efforts for more than a decade.

Coordination with Russia was widespread and clear.

Giuliani’s last defense is that the president had nothing to do with the conduct that will likely land his campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security adviser, and personal attorney in prison. But there has always been abundant evidence that Trump ran the Trump campaign—and that he was willing to use dirty or downright illegal tactics to win the presidency. It’s difficult to believe that Trump, a known micro-manager, wasn’t involved in the single biggest choice his campaign made: the decision to work with a hostile foreign power engaged in an ongoing attack on American democracy.