Opinion: ‘No evidence of collusion?” Wrong.

(AP)

“We’ve been saying from day one, there has been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reiterated this week.

Sanders is flat-out wrong. She is wrong not as a matter of interpretation, but as a matter of documented fact: We do have evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. It isn’t yet conclusive evidence; it isn’t even convincing evidence. The most accurate description might be “considerable evidence” that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government against their mutual enemy, Hillary Clinton.

And special counsel Robert Mueller knows many many things that we do not.

Let’s begin with the basics: It is the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence that Vladimir Putin personally directed the Russian government to try to alter our 2016 elections, and to take the side of Donald Trump.

How did that directive play out?

Based on a new guilty plea by Trump associate George Papadopoulus, we know that as far back as April of 2016, the Kremlin used backchannels to inform the Trump campaign that it had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. The Trump campaign that had said repeatedly, emphatically, that it had never had any contacts with Russian officials, that any such claim was “fake news,” was in fact informed by Russia about illegal hacking some two months before anybody else had a clue.

Ask yourself, because Mueller surely has: Why would Russia want the Trump campaign to know it had a trove of illegally obtained Clinton emails? And once informed, why didn’t the Trump campaign notify U.S. law enforcement? Top officials from every presidential campaign in the last quarter-century, Republican and Democratic, have all said they would have reported such a contact to the FBI immediately.

The Trump campaign stayed silent.

We also know that the Kremlin reached out a second time, again promising dirt on Clinton, and that the Trump campaign responded enthusiastically. On June 3, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. was sent an email telling him that Russia was offering “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia.”

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” the email read.

“… if it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. responded, which by itself is proof of an eagerness to collude. He quickly set up a meeting between someone described to him as “a Russian government lawyer” and top Trump campaign officials.

The meeting occurred on June 9, and not much seemed to come of it. But six days later, thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee were made public through Wikileaks.

According to U.S. intelligence, “we assess with high confidence” that Russia conducted the hacking. Yet Trump publicly defended Russia against such charges, and talked so often about his admiration for Putin that it began to seem bizarre. He also spoke dismissively of NATO, the alliance whose mission is to contain Putin. As president, he later fired FBI Director James Comey for not ending an investigation into Russian interference; the next day he bragged to top Russian officials about doing so. He also helped to fabricate a false explanation for the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.

Again, such evidence, troubling as it is, doesn’t amount to conclusive proof. But it damn sure justifies strong support for the ongoing work of Mueller and his investigative team.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

2169 comments
Dwight Elzy
Dwight Elzy

I would call names and ridicule those who r foolishly led astray but it looks like y'all all have that covered. #thisworldaintshit

Mary Ann Gardner
Mary Ann Gardner

Where's your articles on the corruption of DNC - still waiting........

Rick Green
Rick Green

As a hypothetical - if there was collusion, what statute was violated?

JohnQ2
JohnQ2

Jay Bookman, are you going to address the Donna Brazile revelations regarding today's Democrat Party? I don't believe in communism, but you have to feel for Bernie Sanders. The guy was winning most of the primaries only to be CHEATED by a rotten DNC and HiLiary Clinton's crime syndicate. Super delegates?? Donna even admitted to GIVING Hillary debate questions before her debates. What a sham!

We are waiting, Jay.....

Bob Hayles
Bob Hayles

There are rumors, Jay, but there is NO evidence.  Even if there were, cite the portion of the US code that makes "colluding" illegal?

Stupid liberal.

Wayne Ford
Wayne Ford

Stop trying to make news and just report reality! No collusion has been found. More outside of the Trump group than inside it... It is all just a Democratic talking point that the idiot lemmings have jumped onto.

Bill Carr
Bill Carr

JAIL DOORS OPENING, LAST INDIMENT WAS 0000000B THEIR IS AN. A HMM. DONALD

Anne Marie Mcdougall
Anne Marie Mcdougall

Well AJC , Could you please explain why ex-president Obama held a worldwide press conference on the lawn of the Whitehouse on the 18th of October 2016, where he publically mocked Trump for whining about Russian interference and stated for all the world to see, saying " There is " no evidence " that election rigging has ever happened or could ever happen ". He also stated " There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig the America's elections, in part because they are so decentralized " Now the question is, was Obama lying then in October 2016, or are they all lying now ?

Miles W. Rich
Miles W. Rich

I disagree with Bookman when he says we do not have convincing evidence. What we have is circumstantial evidence, not direct evidence. But circumstantial evidence is enough to find guilt Beyond a reasonable doubt if there's no other logical explanation for the circumstantial evidence. Now please tell me a logical explanation why George Papadopoulos was told by Sam Clovis to go ahead and meet with the Russians after he told Clovis that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton? And also tell me what other reasonable explanation is is there for the circumstantial evidence, that Carter page met with Kremlin officials? These stories doubting whether there was collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and even Donald Trump himself, and the Russians in the 2016 presidential election remind me of the excuses and stories that Republicans tried to spin about John Dean in 1973 and 74 before the Nixon tapes were released by court order

Bob Hayles
Bob Hayles

Guilt of what?  What part of the federal code makes this "collusion" illegal?


Stupid liberal.

Amiel Summers
Amiel Summers

Apparently ... three people criminally indicted. Sure. ‘We’ have no evidence.

Lewis Clardy
Lewis Clardy

Bookman...do you have any ‘self-respect’..??? You are not a journalist, you are nothing higher than a ‘Democratic gossip puppet’... you have lost ALL credibility by dancing on their strings with articles of fraud...how do people like you not want to shoot themselves..???

Cynthia  Segraves Lovely
Cynthia Segraves Lovely

If Trump was “ready and willing” to “collude” (which isn’t a crime, means nothing), a year+ sham “investigation” has turned up zero “convincing” (ie usable to manipulate us) evidence. So wouldn’t it make sense that the way to make Trump not “willing and ready” would be to punish his predecessor who DID way more than “collude”?

Andy Smith
Andy Smith

Some folks never learn and it seems several work for the mullet wrapper!

Sheila Mingo
Sheila Mingo

Sarah has no enthusiasm, I have pumped gas with more excitement.

Cheryl Lemley
Cheryl Lemley

Why did Jr., Jared, Manafort, Gates, Sessions, Flynn, Papadopoulos and Stone communicate with the Russians? Ivanka went on vacation with Putin's girlfriend. Trump bragged to Russians about firing Comey and talked to Putin alone as did Tillerson. No one is so stupid not to see conclusion. Jared got busted trying to set up straight communication with Putin bypassing USA intelligence. Trump fans know Trump is guilty and don't care. Russia is not America's friend people. It's called treason!

John Neal
John Neal

FBI’s Mueller Delivered Highly Enriched Stolen Uranium to Russia in 2009. OBAMA ,HILLARY n HOLDER UP TO THEIR EYEBALLS INVOLVED = THIS IS COLLUSION

Jim Mitchell
Jim Mitchell

The Trump Campaign collusion with Russia is an exercise inBovine Scatology and a distraction by the swamp to keep their power. It’s going to fail.

Don Joyce
Don Joyce

AJC is a Liberal POSS Newspaper!!!!

Manny Kim Lopez
Manny Kim Lopez

Oh could the ajc ... print this non sense.... hello do you read are objectively trying to come to the truth get a life and read.....

David Tinch
David Tinch

Why is he and some Republicans so determined to shut this investigation down? If there's nothing there no problem. To try and deflect and make this about Clinton won't stop this investigation. Let it all play out instead of what he and his supporters are doing by trying to turn this into something it's not.

David L Watson
David L Watson

Yes there is collusion but it is Democrats and the media won’t report that

Will Scott
Will Scott

The only evidence we have seen of collusion with Russia is with hillary, the dnc and the trump dossier they paid for. To top it off Clinton has committed numerous felonies with regards to the Uranium One scandal but AJC won't dare write about that.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith

Bookman is an idiot, he needs to live in Argentina.

Kevin Culpepper
Kevin Culpepper

Only hacks like Bookman actually believe there was collusion. Let me rephrase: only hacks like Bookman who hate the president with a passion wish there was collusion.

Tom Elliott
Tom Elliott

There is no conclusive evidence toward Trump!! Not one shred!! Manafort was working for John Podesta, Hillary’s campaign manager, when he did what he did and, it was 2-3 years before he became Trump’s campaign manager!!

Donnie Woods
Donnie Woods

There was collusion between the Russians,dnc,clinton and podesta

Don S. Rowley
Don S. Rowley

The republicans and their voters can stick their head in the sand and mumble Hillary and Uranium. But there are more legs to fall off of this centipede. The Papadopoulos confession has painted a bullseye right into Jeff Sessions back and points an arrow right at Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sessions isn’t already cooperating with Mueller and has prob been wearing a wire. The shock of the Papadopoulos confession was that he pleaded guilty and still kept meeting with Trump officials - they dont know if anything they said have been recorded. They didn’t even know that their nominee to the the top Agriculture Dept scientist had met with Mueller; they had to find out it over the so called fake news media. Sean Spicer - who said he kept meticulous notes - is going to be the shocker in this. All of the deflecting and dissembling he used to do from the podium will go right back to Trump and prove obstruction of justice. Mueller isn’t pay attention to Fox News and doesn’t even have a Twitter acct. Trump is quickly talking and tweeting himself into an impeachment. To me, Mueller announces an indictment of Felix Sater and Trump’s personal lawyer - all bets are off that he will level criminal charges against the Trump organization and Kushner too. So keep being fixated on Hillary and Obama. That ain’t gonna stop Mueller.

Michael Rice
Michael Rice

Mueller needs to recuse himself as an investigator because he will be investigated himself cuz it's already been proved that he was involved on the uranium deal

Stephen Buckley
Stephen Buckley

Bookman take another toke off whatever bong you been hittin and write some more fiction

Carolyn Mullen
Carolyn Mullen

Good try but we know there is no collusion period. Except for the ones the dems are trying to push here. Not working.

Gary Ivy
Gary Ivy

LOL at all these Libtards!

Brent Terry
Brent Terry

During an appearance on CNN, Warren — who has aligned herself more with self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — told Jake Tapper she absolutely believed the DNC had rigged the primary in Clinton’s favor. Does this justify an independent counsel Jay? American candidate rigging American election - an internal attack on our democratic system?