Russia Attempted to Leverage God, Guns, and Vets for Access to Trump Campaign
This is another one of those complicated ones, and if nothing else, more proof that Russia was actively attempting to get to the inside of the Trump campaign.
An individual, touting his close ties to the NRA and Russia attempted to arrange a back-channel line of communication between Trump and Putin.
According to The New York Times:
A May 2016 email to the campaign adviser, Rick Dearborn, bore the subject line “Kremlin Connection.” In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn’s longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders.
Russia, he wrote, was “quietly but actively seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would attempt to use the N.R.A.’s annual convention in Louisville, Ky., to make “‘first contact.’” The email, which was among a trove of campaign-related documents turned over to investigators on Capitol Hill, was described in detail to The New York Times.
And this much we know: Russia employed social media trolls to get inside and create chaos from both sides of the political spectrum.
There was an active campaign, which can be reasonably proven, to disrupt America on every front. They absolutely wanted a Trump presidency, because Trump represented the chaos they see as necessary to weaken the nation.
The emailed outreach from the conservative operative to Mr. Dearborn came far earlier, around the same time that Russians were trying to make other connections to the Trump campaign. Another contact came through an American advocate for Christian and veterans causes, and together, the outreach shows how, as Mr. Trump closed in on the nomination, Russians were using three foundational pillars of the Republican Party — guns, veterans and Christian conservatives — to try to make contact with his unorthodox campaign.
I’m not sure if those are the three foundational pillars of the party, but they certainly have been pivotal in the promotion and success of the party.
Both efforts, made within days of each other, centered on the N.R.A.’s annual meeting and appear to involve Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Russian central bank and key figure in Mr. Putin’s United Russia party, who was instructed to make contact with the campaign.
“Putin is deadly serious about building a good relationship with Mr. Trump,” the N.R.A. member and conservative activist, Paul Erickson, wrote. “He wants to extend an invitation to Mr. Trump to visit him in the Kremlin before the election. Let’s talk through what has transpired and Senator Sessions’s advice on how to proceed.”
There’s no indication that Sessions advised in any way. The attorney general told investigators with the House Intelligence Committee that he didn’t remember that particular outreach.
Another attempt was made to get to Jared Kushner, through a man named Rick Clay, an advocate for Christian causes. Kushner apparently blew off the suggestions.
“The Kremlin believes that the only possibility of a true reset in this relationship would be with a new Republican White House,” Mr. Erickson wrote to Mr. Dearborn, adding, “Ever since Hillary compared Putin to Hitler, all senior Russian leaders consider her beyond redemption.”
It wasn’t always so that Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Russia was so wrecked.
This is where Trump loyalists start spasming and saying, “Uranium One! Uranium One!” over and over again.
In fact, this new turn of events isn’t necessarily damaging to Trump. It’s merely one more bit of evidence to show the active attempts of a hostile foreign government to gain a foothold in Washington.
How investigators fit this into the larger case of Russian interference in the 2016 election remains to be seen.