The Washington Post reports: Two days after the presidential election, a Russian official speaking to a reporter in Moscow offered a surprising acknowledgment: The Kremlin had been in contact with Donald Trump’s campaign.
The claim, coming amid allegations that Russia had interfered with the election, was met with an immediate no-wiggle-room, blanket denial from Trump’s spokeswoman. “It never happened,” Hope Hicks told the Associated Press at the time. “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”
In fact, it is now clear it did happen.
The past few days have brought a growing list of confirmed communications between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials, with each new revelation adding to a cloud of suspicion that hangs over the White House as critics demand an independent investigation.
Trump’s team has offered various explanations for the meetings: Some encounters, they have said, were brief, no more than casual, polite introductions. Others involved the routine diplomacy common for officials surrounding a candidate for the nation’s highest office.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was an early Trump campaign adviser, said his two interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, first reported this week by The Washington Post, came in his role as a senator, not as a campaign surrogate.
It is unclear why the White House has consistently denied contacts with Russian officials if the meetings that took place were innocuous. [Continue reading…]