Coincidence or not, alleged contact between Russian intelligence officials and Trump’s campaign aides has been confirmed to be occurring a year prior to the election by multiple U.S. officials. Intelligence agencies discovered evidence of such relations after looking into the cyber-hacking of the DNC. Hinting at closer ties to Russia throughout his campaign, President Trump’s current denials of Russian interference have yet to be confirmed. Some of his most recent statements include:
April 28: “I’m saying that I’d possibly have a good relationship. He’s been very nice to me,” Trump said. “If we can make a great deal for our country and get along with Russia that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it.”
July 28: “I would treat Vladimir Putin firmly, but there’s nothing I can think of that I’d rather do than have Russia friendly, as opposed to the way they are right now, so that we can go and knock out ISIS with other people”
The FBI pursued three individual events relating to potential relations between Trump’s aides and Russia, finding two connected with cyber-hacking events, and the third investigation on the current scandal. More unraveled two days ago with the publishing of the New York Times article, A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates, which stated that before Michael T. Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser, a proposal came, which detailed a plan for Trump to lift sanctions against Russia. He may or may not have promised this lift to the Russian ambassador. The proposal is being pressured by several people, including Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, who delivered the proposal, Felix H. Sater, a business associate who assisted Trump with communicating to Russia, and a pro-Putin Lawmaker. However, many fear that Trump’s plans to mend with Russia through the ease of sanctions, could be at the expense of Ukraine. Still, the proposal also includes the withdrawal of Russian forces from Crimea, in addition to a vote of leasing Eastern Ukraine to Russia for a certain number of years. These back-channel plans are not uncommon, and could easily explain why Russia took illegal measures to ensure Trump’s victory.
The recent communication linkages between the U.S. and Russia were discovered with routine checks, according to U.S. officials. Earlier this year, evidence of Russian interference in the election surfaced with the hacking of Democratic e-mails. During former President Obama’s last year in office, Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei I. Kislyak were said to be conversing privately on the topic of sanctions placed on Russia by the Obama administration in December. Because this was an act of negotiation, Flynn may have been breaching the law.
Ukrainian officials took legal measures when supporting Hillary Clinton during the election by questioning Trump’s credibility. They also investigated one of Trump’s aide’s for corruption, as well as helped with finding information on Trump and his advisers. A Ukrainian-American consultant of the DNC had a meeting with officers of the Ukrainian Embassy to discuss the efforts of exposing Paul Manafort’s, Trump’s primary aide, ties to Russia. According to U.S. officials, Russian interference was directed by President Putin himself.
There are many potential motives behind these U.S. ties to Russia through Trump’s aides. As stated above, one may be the fact that Trump would like to soften the tense relations between the U.S. and Russia. His approach on the situation in Syria may involve a potential alliance with Russia. Another motive could be the fact that when U.S. banks refused to lend Trump money while in debt, he seeked it from other places, such as Russia. Additionally, during the election, Trump’s advisers had confirmed contacts with Russia. Throughout the season, there were multiple pro-Trump cyber confrontations.
Swaying elections is not uncommon for other countries to do. Take World War II, for instance. Both Britain and Nazi German attempted to interfere in the U.S. election. However, never has there been such intense, ongoing connections between two country’s leaders, prior to, and after an election.