Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny seventy-nine. Sunrise is 6:07 AM and sunset 7:49 PM, for 13h 42m 07s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 0.2% of its visible disk illuminated.
Recommended for reading in full —
Luke Harding and Julian Borger report US Senate report goes beyond Mueller to lay bare Trump campaign’s Russia links (‘Bipartisan intelligence panel says that Russian who worked on Trump’s 2016 bid was career spy, amid a stunning range of contacts’):
A report by the Senate intelligence committee provides a treasure trove of new details about Donald Trump’s relationship with Moscow, and says that a Russian national who worked closely with Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 was a career intelligence officer.
The bipartisan report runs to nearly 1,000 pages and goes further than last year’s investigation into Russian election interference by special prosecutor Robert Mueller. It lays out a stunning web of contacts between Trump, his top election aides and Russian government officials, in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
The Senate panel identifies Konstantin Kilimnik as a Russian intelligence officer employed by the GRU, the military intelligence agency behind the 2018 poisoning of the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. It cites evidence – some of it redacted – linking Kilimnik to the GRU’s hacking and dumping of Democratic party emails.
Kilimnik worked for over a decade in Ukraine with Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. In 2016 Manafort met with Kilimnik, discussed how Trump might beat Hillary Clinton, and gave the Russian spy internal polling data. The committee said it couldn’t “reliably determine” why Manafort handed over this information, or what exactly Kilimnik did with it.
It describes Manafort’s willingness to pass on confidential material to alleged Moscow agents as a “grave counterintelligence threat”. The report dubs Kilimnik part of “a cadre of individuals ostensibly operating outside of the Russian government but who nonetheless implement Kremlin-directed influence operations”. It adds that key oligarchs including Oleg Deripaskafund these operations, together with the Kremlin.
The investigation found that Kilimnik tweets under the pseudonym Petro Baranenko (@PBaranenko). The account regularly propagates Moscow’s line on international issues, such as the conflict in Ukraine and the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
The fact that a Republican-controlled Senate panel established a direct connection between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence makes it harder for Trump and his supporters to allege that the investigation into possible collusion was a “witch-hunt” or “hoax” as the president has repeatedly claimed, in the remaining three months before the election.
Paul Waldman writes A new bipartisan report raises the question: If this isn’t ‘collusion,’ what is?:
So here’s what we’re left with. The person running the Trump campaign had a close associate who is a Russian intelligence officer, with whom he was sharing confidential campaign information as Russia mounted its effort to help Trump get elected.
As part of that effort, Russia broke into Democratic systems, then passed damaging information to WikiLeaks for carefully timed release. The president’s longtime friend had a line into the “leak” part of Russia’s hack-and-leak, through which he learned the subject and timing of upcoming leaks and kept Trump personally informed.
If that’s not “collusion,” what is?