On 19-May-2017 In People & Politics
Donald Trump campaign managers made contact with Russia at least 18 times during the presidential race. Initially, these conversations had been kept a secret but now being reviewed as part of the FBI and congressional investigation. The calls and messages took place between April and November 2016 and hackers came out with proof that Kremlin was part of the campaign to influence the outcome of the election in favour of Trump. In January 2016, the White House denied any connection with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. However, the White House and the advisers to the campaign later admitted to meeting Russian officials four times. The meetings took place between Sergey Kislyak, Russian Ambassador to the US, and Trump advisers during the campaign. Further conversations took place between members of Trump's team and high-ranking Russian officials to set up a special back channel for communication between Trump and Putin without involving US national security officials.
According to the White House, the discussions were aimed at mending economic ties between Russia and the US, controlling a more assertive China and co-operating in the fight against ISIS. Such discussions accelerated after Trump won the presidential election.
According to the sources, the people who described the communication to Reuters, said they did not come across any wrongdoing. However, this might create a pressure on the Trump administration to provide full details about the communication that took place with Kremlin, before and after the election campaign.
According to The Independent, here is a list of the top names involved in the scandal.
According to the Virginian Pilot, Trump declared "A thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly."
According to The Independent, UK, during the presidential election communication between both the countries, Russian officials, with a business-like and practical approach, insisted before the US officials that there could be deals on economic and other strategic matters, leaving the contentious issues aside.
According to CNN, amid the rising pressure on both the countries Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered to provide a transcript of the official Oval Meeting held between President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Speaking at a press conference in Sochi, Russia, Putin dismissed allegations that Trump had shared top-secret security intelligence with Russian diplomats as "political schizophrenia.""If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress," Putin said.
The Russian President's offer will increase woes for Donald Trump, who is already battling a series of allegations in connection with his backdoor ties with Russia. Interestingly, his meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak came a day after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, the man responsible for investigating contentious links between associates and advisers of the President's campaign team and Russia.
Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been appointed by the US Justice Department to lead a federal investigation into allegations that Russia swayed 2016 elections to put Trump in the White House. Interestingly, Mueller will have absolute power to prosecute any crime he uncovers.
"It's rare to have that many phone calls to foreign officials, especially to a country we consider an adversary or a hostile power," said Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of the State.Subscribe