emails

“No collusion” is such a refrain for Donald Trump that it likely will go down with “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and “Well, I’m not a crook” in the annals of Presidential defenses. And like those other examples, it’s got questionable veracity.

On July 27, 2016, then-candidate Trump literally asked Russia to hack Clinton. And they did.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at a press conference in 2016. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

New indictments from the Mueller probe indicate that not only did Russia hack Trump’s political rival, they did so the day he asked them to.

“For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office,” the indictment alleges. “At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.”

July 27. The same day Trump asked Russia to hack Clinton and promised American media would reward them.

The indictment indicates that this is not a coincidence. Before July 27, there were attempts to interfere with the Democratic Party on a national level, but July 27 was the first time Russian intelligence operatives (known as “the conspirators” in the indictment) targeted Clinton-linked personal email accounts and domains specifically.

The indictment also mentions that the attempts to hack Clinton began “after hours,” which would correspond to a response to Trump’s public request.

The indictment alleges that the conspirators were behind the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas that contacted Roger Stone and Wikileaks during the Trump campaign. Wikileaks released emails it had obtained from the hacks of Democrats after Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape surfaced in October of 2016. Wikileaks refused to release any damaging information on Trump.

While not conclusively proving that Russian intelligence acted on orders of an American presidential candidate to alter the outcome of an election, the sum total of mounting evidence are making the questions even more essential. Why did Russian officials come back into work to hack Clinton the day Trump asked them to? Why did they work with Trump allies Stone and Wikileaks?

Even if the newest Associate Justice of the Supreme Court doesn’t think a President can be indicted, and like Nixon famously said, “when the President does it, that means it’s not illegal,” it still might be impeachable. That’s the argument of constitutional law scholar and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe.

The White House did not condemn Russian interference in the 2016 election, instead highlighting that Friday’s indictments did not include any Americans.

“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along,” read a statement.

What they’ve been saying all along: no collusion.

Just a lot of very, very interesting coincidences.

There is currently an effort among some members of the House to strengthen the 2018 elections against foreign intrusion. There have also been efforts to weaken the upcoming midterms. The only thing we know for sure is that they will try again.

 

Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.

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