Russians Were All Over Trump’s Campaign

Nearly everybody around Donald Trump was talking to the Russians in the course of the 2016 campaign.

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Back in March, I wondered if anybody in Donald Trump’s inner circle wasn’t in touch with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The answer, we know now, is no. The Russians were all over Trump’s team.

Whether this was collusion or a case of collective and massive misjudgment is something Robert Mueller, the special counsel, must find out, but clearly the Russians were trying to influence the outcome of the election.

The fact that none of Trump’s underlings disclosed their Russian contacts, and when first asked about them lied, suggests they knew they were doing something wrong.

Timeline

It’s becoming hard to keep track of all the Russian interactions, simply because there were so many.

Vox has a handy timeline, but it lists only the highest-profile meetings and exchanges.

They omit, for example, a still-unexplained meeting between Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Sergei Gorkov, a graduate of Russia’s spy school and the head of the state-owned Vnesheconombank. Kushner now works in the White House.

Nor does Vox track the escapades of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who admitted to delivering a “peace plan” for the war in Ukraine to Trump before denying he had done anything of the sort.

Focus on the Russians

Rachel Maddow takes another approach. Instead of listing the Trump family members and associates who were in communication with Russians during the 2016 campaign, on her MSNBC program last night she listed all the Russians who talked with Team Trump.

She counted eighteen. Among them a deputy prime minister and a former Soviet counterintelligence operative.

And that’s just the people we know about.