There are too many circumstantial incidents of President Donald Trump’s associates nefariously colluding with the Russian government, for the most obvious reason: to put Donald Trump in the White House.
At present, there is Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager up to August of 2016. He is the leading focus of the government’s intelligence agencies into whether Trump’s associates coordinated with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 campaign on Trump’s behalf.
All of these incidents increasingly point to Trump’s direct knowledge of, and perhaps at his direction to diminish Hillary Clinton’s chance of becoming the next President of the United States.
Robert Reich’s view:
The noose tightens. New information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort links him ever more directly to Putin.
According to the AP – based on authenticated documents -- Manafort was paid to boost the interests of Russian Putin. This wasn’t just in Ukraine but in all the former Soviet republics. Starting in 2006 and lasting at least through 2009, Manafort received $10 million a year from Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska, described by U.S. intelligence officials as one of Putin’s closest allies, to tip the scales in favor of Putin in former Soviet republics.
We don't know what techniques Manafort used, but this sounds like the same kind of enterprise Russian operatives engaged in during the U.S. presidential election of 2016 on behalf of Trump.
Takeaway: It’s becoming less and less likely Republicans in Congress will want to wait until the 2018 midterms – and a finding by U.S. intelligence agencies that Trump or his associates collaborated with Russian operatives in throwing the 2016 – before moving to dump Trump. By that time Trump’s presence in the White House could mean vast GOP losses. At the rate things are going now, I’d wager that congressional Republicans will find a way to impeach him within the year.
By Jack Gillum, Menelaos Hadjicostis And Eric Tucker