a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the author of “The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game” (Crown Forum).
When it comes to President
"The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower,” The Washington Post story said. "Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Admiral Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.”
Indeed, "Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal for Trump to do so,” The Post story said. Moreover, on March 24, Clovis, the campaign co-chairman who also served on the foreign policy team, reacted to one proposed Russia meeting by writing, "We thought we probably should not go forward with any meeting with the Russians until we have had occasion to sit with our NATO allies.”
In the same email chain, Kubic, the retired admiral, reminded others about legal restrictions on meetings with certain Russian officials, adding, "Just want to make sure that no one on the team outruns their headlights and embarrasses the campaign.”
Finally, Mr. Manafort responded to one email about an invitation from a Russian organization official to set up a meeting by saying in an email to his associate Richard Gates: "We need someone to communicate that DT [Donald Trump] is not doing these trips.”
Mr. Gates agreed with Mr. Manafort and told him he would make sure that no one in the campaign would respond. He would do that, he said, by instructing "the person responding to all mail of non-importance” that any communication about a Russian overture is to be ignored by everyone in the campaign.
There could be no clearer evidence that the Russia collusion story is a sham than the emails, which were among more than 20,000 documents the Trump campaign turned over to congressional committees. But rather than putting an end to the conspiracy theories, the story has largely been ignored by the media, which continues to run stories about alleged Russia collusion as if the emails had never existed.
Indeed, The Washington Post story that demonstrated conclusively that there was nothing to claims of Russiacollaboration was headlined "Trump Campaign Emails Show Aide’s Repeated Efforts to Set Up Russia Meetings.”
Each indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller having nothing to do with the Trump campaign triggers endless speculation by the media that the defendant is about to spill the beans about Mr. Trump or his White House aides. But what if there are no beans to spill? And what was the crime in the first place? Collusion during a campaign is not a crime. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are only too happy to join in the speculation, giving them air time.
Never have so many words been uttered about so little.