Last week, FBI Director James Comey released a letter that could drastically affect Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidential election. On Monday, Mother Jones published a report that could have an equivalent effect on Donald Trump’s candidacy. A former spy has informed Mother Jones that he has provided the FBI with some important information about Donald Trump and his connection to Russia.
Trump’s relationship with Russia, particularly the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, has been a tense subject throughout the 2016 election. Several high-ranking politicians have criticized the Republican nominee’s praise of Putin; President Obama said earlier this month that Trump’s “continued flattery of Mr. Putin … is unprecedented in American politics and is out of step with not just what Democrats think but out of step with what up until the last few months, almost every Republican thought, including some of the ones who are now endorsing Mr. Trump.”
The former spy, who was described as “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence,” reportedly told Mother Jones that he had “provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending that the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump.” He also said that the FBI has, as a result, requested that he provide them with more information.
In response to those who might question the credibility of such a vaguely named source, Mother Jones received word from “a senior US government official” that the former spy is “a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.”
Mother Jones’s David Corn raised an important question in response to this new information.
‘Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset?
So what kind of information did the former spy, who has a decades-long history of Russian intelligence work and was specifically assigned to investigate Trump’s dealings in Russia and other countries, provide the FBI? Through his research, he learned that “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.” He called this type of exchange “an extraordinary situation” and decided that it was “sufficiently serious” to share with the FBI.
The former intelligence officer went on to comment on the information he’d discovered:
‘This is something of huge significance, way above party politics. I think [Trump’s] own party should be aware of this stuff as well.’
Mother Jones studied the reports and memos in question, and it is understandable that the FBI responded with “shock and horror” to the information the former spy provided them. Among many other things, they found that, for five years, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump,” and also learned that Russian intelligence has a dossier of information on Hillary Clinton. The information in the dossier had reportedly been gleaned from “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”
In the same way that the new emails that were discovered during the FBI’s investigation into Anthony Weiner do not necessarily indicate that Hillary Clinton is guilty of any misconduct, the FBI’s desire to investigate this former spy’s discoveries about Trump does necessarily indicate guilt on his part. However, this release is certainly not conducive to Trump’s candidacy, especially with the election just a week away. As Corn wrote in his report, “a Russian intelligence attempt to co-opt or cultivate a presidential candidate would mark an even more serious operation than the hacking.”
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