In separate stories on Thursday, news appeared about the relationship of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as it concerns Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and to Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort. What both of those stories show is that while Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee may have purposely looked away after deciding that they “really weren’t focused” on collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller really is focused on exactly that topic.
What the most recent leaks out of the investigation reveal is that:
- The focus of the deal between Mueller and Rick Gates wasn’t about what Gates could provide on Paul Manafort, but what Gates could provide on the subject of collusion within the campaign.
- Mueller apparently felt that the case against Manafort was tight enough that he really didn’t need Gates help to put away Manafort—who is now facing a 32-count indictment on everything from money laundering to conspiracy to defraud.
- One of the first items to surface, the meetings between Sessions and former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, continues to be a core interest of Mueller.
All of this strongly suggests that, while recent news has focused on Mueller looking into the business dealings of Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, which could lead to charges of money-laundering related to Trump’s long-standing deals with oligarchs from Russia and former Soviet states, the investigation of the question of his investigation is far from over.
No matter how many times Donald Trump says otherwise, there were frequent communications between staff members on his campaign and Russian officials. That includes George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Jefferson Sessions at a minimum.
Collusion? There was collusion. Whether that collusion rises to the level of a chargeable conspiracy against the United States … that’s what Mueller is deciding now.