Intercepted Communications Part of Broader Investigation Into Trump Campaigns Ties With Russia
Here are the money quotes from this story:
The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.
Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.
As TPM’s Josh Marshall points out:
One point to keep in mind. After noon tomorrow, each of these agencies will work for Donald Trump. He could simply order them to stop. That might be unethical. It might be wrong. People might resign. But all of these people work for the President. Unsurprisingly, this appears to be the main reason for the leaks.
He also said:
Just to state this clearly, that means that on the eve of Trump’s inauguration the nation’s top law enforcement and intelligence agencies are pursuing a counter-intelligence probe of contacts and payments between key members of his campaign and Russia. We have not been here before.
And to be fair, the NYT article does say:
It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself. It is also unclear whether the inquiry has anything to do with an investigation into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and other attempts to disrupt the elections in November.
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
Still, as Marshall said, we have not been here before. We have not had a man set to become President under a cloud like this. He would be well advised to let whatever investigations that are taking place play out and then claim vindication if it turns out to be a nothingburger.
But we’re talking about a guy who has called for journalists to be sued if they publish something he doesn’t like. We’re also talking about a guy who defied every conceivable standard and still won. Remember how his Energy Secretary choice, Rick Perry, effectively torpedoed his own campaign when he couldn’t name three agencies he would eliminate during the 2012 campaign? Trump won in spite of being exposed bragging about pussy grabbing, among other things I would be up all night listing.
We are through the looking glass, folks.