Thursday, January 10, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He once again claimed not to know what his own campaign was doing with Russia.

On Tuesday, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's lawyers accidentally revealed shocking news: that Manafort had given secret, highly detailed Trump campaign data to oligarchs with ties to the Putin regime.

Modern campaigns are built on highly targeted data, and the kind of information campaign chair Manafort gave to Russian cut-outs was perfect for the pro-Trump campaign of fake news and social media influencing that the Putin regime carried out on Trump's behalf.

Today, for the first time, Trump was forced to address the issue, and simply denied that he'd known anything about it. Since saying anything else would be a confession to the most serious crimes a president has ever been accused of committing, this isn't very surprising. 

But Trump has issued a lot of denials that didn't hold up on this specific topic. Among other campaign- and Russia-related things, Trump once denied knowing about the hush-money payments to porn stars that was caught on tape making. He also denied that he was pursuing a building deal in Moscow even after he'd secured the Republican nomination in 2016, until legal documents proving it surfaced. He's also denied obtaining funding for his mysterious business enterprises from Russian sources, a denial that was pre-emptively rebutted by his own son, and refuted after the fact by his former lawyer

More broadly, Trump has issued any number of blanket denials about his campaign staff meeting with Russians in secret, which turned out to be false in the case of Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Wilbur Ross, Jefferson Sessions, Michael Caputo, Rick Gates, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort (among dozens of others). 

The Manafort accusations are part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in to the Russian attack. Recently, Trump declared he would not answer any further questions from Mueller. This is his right under the Fifth Amendment.


  • People who are innocent don't usually get caught lying over and over and over again about the crimes they're suspected of.
  • Conspiring with a hostile foreign power to disrupt an American presidential election is about as serious a crime as you can commit.