There is so much breaking news lately on the ever-widening allegations about Russian ties to the Trump campaign that it can be difficult to keep track of everything. With that in mind, we’ve created what we’re calling “The Daily D’oh!” to help you stay up-to-date on President Trump and the rest of the White House staff as more news emerges about Russia, James Comey, Robert Mueller, special investigations and everything else related to this ongoing crisis…
Former CIA Director John Brennan testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee today. From the Washington Post:
Former CIA director John Brennan said Tuesday that he personally warned the head of Russia’s intelligence service last year that Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election would backfire and damage the country’s relationship with the United States.
And here’s the New York Times:
As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American authorities realized that the election was under attack and worried that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding that fight. His remarks were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an F.B.I. investigation that continues to shadow the Trump administration.
“I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individual and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly,” Mr. Brennan said. When he left office in January, he said, “I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf.”
Mr. Brennan acknowledged that he did not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives and said the contacts might be benign. But his confirmation of those contacts was the latest revelation to undermine Mr. Trump’s changing account of his campaign’s links to Russia.
Gah! Er, D’oh!
As Chris Cillizza outlines for CNN, Trump needs a new narrative on the Russia investigation:
And Brennan isn’t just some guy. He’s not only a former CIA director under the Obama administration, but also someone with decades of experience in the intelligence world.
This is not someone reading the papers or watching TV and making a snap judgment about Trump and the Russians. This is someone who was intimately familiar with the intelligence gathering regarding Russian attempts to meddle in the election. His voice matters more than most.
So when Brennan says the Russian efforts to “suborn” members of the Trump campaign “raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals,” it makes it far more difficult for Trump and his senior aides to dismiss all of the questions about Russia’s involvement in the election as simply a media-created conspiracy.
Here’s the definition of “suborn.”
Michael Flynn, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015
Evidence continues to mount that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn flat-out lied about his ties to foreign governments when he was being vetted for his security clearance. From CNN:
According to the Report of Investigation, which Rep. Elijah Cummings refers to in his letter to committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Flynn made false statements to investigators about who funded his foreign trips, including a 2015 trip to Russia where Flynn was paid roughly $45,000 to speak at an event in Moscow. According to the letter released Monday by Democrats on the committee, Flynn claimed that his trips were funded by “US companies.”
The report stated that Flynn said he “had not received any benefit from a foreign country.”
Flynn also claimed to investigators he had no substantial contacts with foreign government officials, saying he only had “insubstantial contact.”
Flynn was shown sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2015 dinner. [Pols emphasis]
The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering taking stronger action to compel Flynn to cooperate with investigators, as Politico reports:
The Senate Intelligence Committee will likely take new actions Tuesday to force President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn to comply with a subpoena, Chairman Richard Burr said in an interview.
The committee served Flynn with a subpoena to compel him to turn over documents regarding his contacts with Russian officials, but Flynn has asserted his right not to incriminate himself. The committee is mulling compelling him to appear before the panel and perhaps subsequently holding Flynn in contempt of Congress, among other options designed to make him produce the documents.
President Trump leaned on top intelligence officials to publicly downplay allegations that his campaign illegally coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. From the Washington Post:
Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.
Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain does not like where this story is heading.