United States officials released a statement to CNN recently that claims they have information indicating a connection between associates of Donald Trump and Russian operatives in an effort to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
James Comey, the current FBI Director, referred to this when he made the announcement on Monday, March 20, that the FBI is actively investigating the involvement of members of the Trump campaign with Russian operatives. The information collected by the FBI is now being reviewed, and all that information covers travel records, direct human intelligence, phone records, business records, and even details of meetings that occurred face-to-face.
According to the FBI, there is sufficient evidence that such coordinations between the Trump campaign and the Russian government did exist, but officials stipulated that the investigation is still ongoing and that no information they had was totally conclusive one way or the other.
Come said that the FBI was looking into the possibility of any cooperation between suspected Russian agents and the Trump presidential campaign and administration due to the fact that the information included at least one credible allegation that an American citizen within the Trump campaign may have acted as a representative of the Russian government. When pressed for comment, neither the FBI nor the White House replied.
A spokesperson for the Russian government stated that their government would not discuss information that came from anonymous sources. The same spokesperson said that such allegations could not be taken seriously without confirmable sources, but just because the FBI has yet to state their sources doesn’t mean they never will. Such a dismissal of the allegations is certainly expected from the Russian government in either case.
After the FBI Director finished his testimony, the Press Secretary for the White House, Sean Spicer, made statements to similarly dismiss the allegations as lacking proof. One of the officials dealing with the information stated that there was sufficient evidence that connected people within the campaign and operatives outside the United States government. Much of the evidence revolves around the publication of information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s potential chance at the presidency. Other officials for the United State say that the evidence is entirely circumstantial at this point.
While the FBI can not yet show any solid evidence of a direct connection or cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, they say the information they have is hard to ignore, and it is serving as the basis for their investigation. Four ex-Trump campaign members were already under investigation for their potential connections with Russia. Those members were Roger Stone, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort. Each of them categorically denied any involvement with the foreign government, but Michael Flynn famously resigned as a result of his failure to concede the full truth of his discussions with a Russian ambassador.
According to the FBI, they are facing obstacles with finding any solid evidence since the Trump campaign and the Russian government have slowed or stopped communications in the months since Trump’s victory. It is also believed that, in the wake of that victory, many of the communication methods used by the Russian government to contact the Trump campaign have changed. That makes monitoring such communications much more difficult.
US intelligence institutes claim that the Russian government was responsible for the release of a number of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee last July. During the same breach, a number of emails belonging to members of the Clinton campaign staff were also released.
There is also evidence to suggest that the Russian operation was responsible for publishing ‘fake news’ stories that were meant to deflate and damage the Clinton campaign. Of course, those sorts of publications are generally protected as free speech, but the fact that such coordination could have occurred is worrisome to the FBI.