Sounds a little cloak and dagger.
Courtesy of WaPo:
The 2016 nominating conventions had recently concluded and the presidential race was hitting a new level of intensity when Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, ducked into an unusual dinner meeting at a private cigar room a few blocks away from the campaign’s Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan.
Court records show that Manafort was joined at some point by his campaign deputy, Rick Gates, at the session at the Grand Havana Room, a mahogany-paneled space with floor-to-ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city.
The two Americans met with an overseas guest, a longtime employee of their international consulting business who had flown to the United States for the gathering: a Russian political operative named Konstantin Kilimnik.
The Aug. 2, 2016, encounter between the senior Trump campaign officials and Kilimnik, who prosecutors allege has ties to Russian intelligence, has emerged in recent days as a potential fulcrum in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.
It was at that meeting that prosecutors believe Manafort and Kilimnik may have exchanged key information relevant to Russia and Trump’s presidential bid. The encounter goes “very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” prosecutor Andrew Weissmann told a federal judge in a sealed hearing last week.
One subject that was discussed was the proposed resolution to the conflict in Ukraine.
After the meeting, the men left the building through different exits, which is not suspicious at all, except entirely.
It should also be noted what else was going on during the time this meeting took place:
The Grand Havana Room meeting took place during a critical moment in the 2016 race.
Less than two weeks earlier, the issue of Russia’s role in the campaign exploded into view when WikiLeaks published thousands of emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s supporters immediately fingered Russia in the hack, a view later embraced by U.S. intelligence agencies.
Instead of condemning the Kremlin, Trump mockingly asked Russia to find emails Clinton had deleted while serving as secretary of state. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said at a July 27 news conference.
Trump also made a series of public statements in July that appeared to echo Kremlin talking points on foreign policy. In an interview with the New York Times, he questioned the U.S. commitment to defending NATO partners from Russian aggression. Then he promised to look into recognizing Russia’s invasion of Crimea.
“You know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were,” he said in an ABC News interview July 31.
Once again, entirely suspicious.
This is also one of the things that Manafort lied to investigators about, which kind of turns the old suspicion up to eleven.
By the way, on an entirely unrelated note, the Washington Post did a poll that should cause Trump quite a bit of concern.
Courtesy of WaPo:
We asked voters about the ramifications if Mueller was able to prove that Trump had approved coordination with Russia: Would they then support an effort to impeach the president and remove him from office?
Six-in-10 Americans said they would.
They followed that up with this question:
“If Mueller’s report concludes that Trump tried to interfere with the Russia investigation in a way that amounts to obstruction of justice,” we asked, “would you support or oppose Congress impeaching Trump and trying to remove him from office?” Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would — including a third of Republicans.
So yeah I would imagine that Trump is being haunted by this investigation.
Perhaps that is why he pushed the Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee to come out and say that they have found no direct proof of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
You know, assuming that’s what happened of course.