Russiagate: Trump Is Trying to Put Out a Fire With More Smoke

If Republicans have a shred of intellectual integrity, they’ll ignore the president’s flailing, and follow the evidence wherever it leads.

There’s a lot we know — and even more we don’t know — regarding the Kremlin interference in the U.S. election last year. The most important thing we know is that there was interference. This is the consensus, “high confidence” assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, which further concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. That in and of itself is scandalous enough. What we don’t know — and need to find out — is whether the Trump campaign actively colluded with this Russian operation and, more broadly, what links if any exist between the U.S. president and the dictator in the Kremlin.

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The Russia Scandal Has Reached the Trump Family

And only a special counsel can find out how deep the rot goes.

These have been a choice few days for aficionados of scandal. Washington hasn’t seen their like since the heyday of Whitewater, Iran-contra, and Watergate — in other words for nearly two decades. And in many ways “Kremlin-gate,” the burgeoning scandal over Team Trump’s connections to Russia, is in a class by itself.

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WikiLeaks Has Joined the Trump Administration

The anti-American group has become the preferred intelligence service for a conspiracy-addled White House.

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump declared, “I love WikiLeaks!” And he had good reason to display affection to this website run by accused rapist Julian Assange. By releasing reams of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, WikiLeaks helped tilt the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.

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Putin’s best-laid plans are failing

He got the incompetent president he preferred, but he also got an increasingly anti-Russian Congress.

I recently asked some Chinese officials what they thought of Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. election. Was this a smart thing to do? Will other countries — like China — emulate Russia’s example? After some hemming and hawing, and obligatory disavowals that there is no proof of Russian complicity, they said something pretty interesting: that Russia made a mistake. They have learned, they told me, that American politics is like a see-saw — if you tip one end, the other goes up in the air. The Russians have leaned hard on the executive branch and as a result of that Congress is turning more anti-Russian. It is much wiser, they suggested, to follow a policy of non-interference in other nations’ internal affairs.

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We need answers to questions about Russia and the White House that California Rep. Devin Nunes won’t even ask

“I think we all need answers…. I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”

Those are the words not of Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Tom Perez or any other partisan Democrat but of former President George W. Bush, speaking Monday, and the questions pertain to Russia’s role in trying to rig the 2016 presidential election.

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