There are increasingly more reports out there that Donald Trump and his campaign team were working together with the Kremlin during the presidential campaign. The FBI was given a warrant by a FISA court to investigate the ties between both sides:
The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.
The FISA warrant was granted in connection with the investigation of suspected activity between the server and two banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. However, it is thought in the intelligence community that the warrant covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates. The warrant was sought, they say, because actionable intelligence on the matter provided by friendly foreign agencies could not properly be examined without a warrant by US intelligence as it involves ‘US Persons’ who come under the remit of the FBI and not the CIA. Should a counter-intelligence investigation lead to criminal prosecutions, sources say, the Justice Department is concerned that the chain of evidence have a basis in a clear warrant.
The Guardian adds that Senator John McCain actually ended up passing a dossier drawn up by a former intelligence official about these secret Trump-Russia contacts. When McCain received the document, he was initially hesitant to use it, but he eventually felt forced to contact the FBI because of the background and reliability of the former intelligence official who put them together.
It claims that Trump had declined “various sweetener real estate deals offered him in Russia” especially in developments linked to the 2018 World Cup finals but that “he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.”
Most explosively, the report alleges: “FSB has compromised Trump through his activities in Moscow sufficiently to be able to blackmail him.” The president-elect has not responded to the allegations.
According to some material, the activities that allowed the Kremlin to blackmail him consisted, at least partially, of Trump’s behavior when he visited Moscow several years ago. CNN adds that the material indicates that Team Trump was actively working with the Kremlin to undermine Hillary Clinton and the entire Democratic Party:
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) January 10, 2017
An exiled Russian politician adds on Twitter that the Kremlin now intends to use the information it has — on Team Trump working with Putin to win the election — to blackmail him during his presidency:
Exiled politician: “Russia will use impeachment risk to pressure Trump, can blackmail him by threatening to publish proof of election help.” https://t.co/WmFFGMBL9b
— Lucian Kim (@Lucian_Kim) January 10, 2017
Whether the reports on which all these accusations are based are 100% correct or not, it’s clear that this matter has to be investigated by a committee, which is exactly what McCain has demanded. The information is at the very least so troubling that an investigation has to be carried out, no matter what the results of it will be. If the investigation proves that Trump had nothing to do with it and wasn’t colluding with Russia at all, great! He’ll be the rightful president of the United States of America. If, however, it’s made clear that he did work with Putin, it’s clear that steps will have to be taken against him. Yes, even if that ends up damaging the Republican Party.