UPDATE: Following media reports claiming President Donald Trump’s campaign had communicated with Russian intelligence during the election, the president took to Twitter to chastise the reports.
In one tweet, he accused the “fake news media” of going crazy “with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred,” saying both CNN and MSNBC are “unwatchable.”
Prior to these comments, Trump attempted to take the public’s attention away from the Russia scandal by tweeting that the “real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy,” which he described as "un-American."
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
The internet did not ignore it.
has anyone ever succeeded in distracting people from a scandal by saying ‘the REAL scandal here is that…’— Bennett (@bfod) February 15, 2017
The real scandal here is how the blueprints were leaked for the 2nd Death Star. Why were so many Bothans involved? Very un-Galactic Empire. https://t.co/DUkgyeJJyf— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) February 15, 2017
The real scandal here is we don't know what kind of candy. Caramel? Mike & Ike? Butterfingers? The American people deserve to know! 🇺🇸 https://t.co/uBqCuQd52k— Chris Robinson (@ChrisRobinsonNJ) February 15, 2017
If President Donald Trump thought getting rid of his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, would somehow absolve him and his administration of their controversial ties to Russia, he was “bigly” mistaken.
As it turns out, several high-profile aides and associates of the Trump campaign frequently communicated with senior Moscow operatives in the year leading up to the Nov. 8 election, according to the bombshell New York Times report highlighting the extent of foreign involvement in the business mogul’s unexpected White House victory.
Current and former U.S. officials, who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity since the investigation is classified, said the intelligence agencies discovered the phone records and intercepted calls while probing the cyberattacks targeting the Democratic National Committee.
The authorities believed Russian President Vladimir Putin himself supervised the operation to help Trump win the election.
The infamous email hack was an obvious attempt to sabotage former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Trump’s major presidential rival who had years of political experience over the former reality TV star, who had never held any government or military position until he was sitting inside the Oval Office.
The calls were reportedly made around the same time Trump publicly requested hackers to look into Clinton’s emails while softening his tone on Russia, endorsing a foreign policy that looked like Putin himself scripted it.
While the law enforcement and intelligence personnel cited by The New York Times did not see any direct proof of Trump team colluding with Russia to influence the election, the sheer amount of contact between Kremlin and the then-Republican nominee’s team certainly alarmed them.
Moreover, it also means FBI Director James Comey knew about the phone calls but instead of going public, he chose to focus on the Clinton emails discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
The sources declined to identify the aides and advisers who made the calls, except for Trump’s then-campaign chairperson Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn, aka the first causality of the Trump administration.
Manafort served the boisterous baron for several months on campaign trail before being replaced by current White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and current senior Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.
He previously worked as a political consultant in Ukraine.
The former manager, who has not been charged with any crime as of yet, refuted the allegations.
“This is absurd,” the conservative Trump crony told the publication. “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”
The troubling report came shortly after Flynn abruptly stepped down from his post in the midst of a raging controversy alleging he discussed a change in sanctions policy with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak right before Trump entered the office.
Neither the FBI nor the White House had commented on the matter as of this writing.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters