President Trump may repeatedly deny that he or his presidential campaign colluded with the Russians as they interfered in the 2016 election but Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team appear to be closing in on evidence that the Trump campaign did just that.
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Reuters is reporting, based on at least two sources, that Mueller’s investigators are asking questions about events at the July 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland where Trump was officially nominated as the party’s standard-bearer.
Mueller isn’t commenting, but Reuters claims that its sources say they have been asked by his team about an event during the convention attended by both Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. and then-Senator Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. Attorney General.
Mueller’s team is also asking about language omitted at the last minute from the Republican Party platform which was considered hostile to Russia.
This is a piece that has troubled me from the time it happened: How did the GOP convention platform end up with a significantly weakened stance on Russian interference in Ukraine? Was the Trump campaign involved? Turns out Mueller is interested in the answer too. https://t.co/HiS70C6mWg
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) March 29, 2018
The questions about Sessions relate to a party during the convention which was attended by both Sessions, who was an early and active supporter of Trump, and then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, who is widely believed to have ties to secret Russian intelligence and spying activities.
Mueller’s investigators are also asking about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. where Trump gave a speech. Sessions was there as was Kislyak, and investigators want to know if the two were seen together talking more than to say a quick hello, which is what Sessions claims happened.
I began writing about J.D. Gordon's presence and role at (a) RNC meetings, and (b) Trump's April '16 "Mayflower Speech," in March 2017; now Mueller is asking the same questions. I said Gordon would be a Mueller witness; a year later, he is or soon will be. https://t.co/yzbjgvb7QQ
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) March 29, 2018
Mueller’s team has apparently interviewed multiple people regarding the issue of how the platform was watered down to be more friendly to Russia.
During the platform discussions, Diana Denman, a member of the platform committee’s national security subcommittee, called for language in which the U.S. would promise to supply “lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukraine arms forces in coordination with NATO.
This happened while Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine and seizure of the Crimea territory was still fresh in everyone’s mind.
The final platform, however, did not contain the words “lethal defensive weapons,” which Reuters notes “made the platform less hostile to Russia.”
In 2016, not long after the convention, Denman told Reuters that J.D. Gordon, a Trump foreign policy advisor, would speak to Trump’s team about the language and that it was Trump’s campaign that played “a direct role in softening the platform language.”
The Trump campaign denies that it was behind the deletion of that language and Gordon has called Denman’s version “inaccurate,” but no one has come up with a factual alternative reason as to why it happened.
What this suggests is that after months of circling the question of whether Trump is the ultimate target, Mueller and his team are getting closer to the president and what really happened during the campaign with regard to Russia.
Trump has such a proven history of fabricating falsehoods and twisting the truth that nothing he utters can be taken at face value, but if Mueller can come up with facts and strong evidence that collusion did take place, it will trump all the president’s lies.
Don’t forget: It also helps that the Mueller team has the facts and the law on its side. Not even a legal dream team could save Trump from himself — or from the truth. https://t.co/vUTGgUQBQz
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 29, 2018