It’s no secret anymore that many in the Trump campaign, including his own family members and possibly Trump himself, have had deep connections to Russian operatives and officials throughout the election. Now it appears that the connections go deeper in the Republican party than previously thought as well.
In a stunning development, it appears that the GOP hired a consulting firm to smear the Clinton campaign, and this firm included a former KGB agent.
As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired CIA officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy.
The payments attracted attention in political and intelligence circles, largely because the Virginia-based firm, Hamilton Trading Group, had particular expertise in Russia, which was emerging as a major campaign issue at the time.
RNC officials now acknowledge that most of the cash — $34,100 — went toward intelligence-style reports that sought to prove conflicts of interest between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and her family’s foundation.
The firm produced two dossiers that tried to make the case that Clinton intervened in Bulgaria and Israel, respectively, on behalf of energy companies that had donated to the Clinton Foundation, according to people briefed on the reports.
As Trump’s ties to Russia increasingly became a problem for him during the campaign, the RNC responded by hiring this particular firm due to its expertise on Russia and its connections. But the firm wasn’t hired to try to make Trump’s Russia problem go away. Instead the goal was to muddy the waters by coming up with controversies that might involve Hillary Clinton and Russia. In the end the firm produced dossiers which grossly overstated potential conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and various foreign nations – essentially a series of attempted smear tactics after it failed to come up with any sufficiently harmful real dirt.
Adding to the suspicious nature of the RNC’s behavior is that it listed the payments to the secretive firm as being for “security services” – essentially an acknowledgement that it knew the real reason wouldn’t look good if it ever became public knowledge – which it now has.
You can check out the entire story over on Politico, which came just days after James Comey publicly confirmed that the Trump campaign is under active investigation for Russian collusion to rig the election against Hillary Clinton. As it turns out, the Republican Party was also actively orchestrating a smear campaign.
This is all going to make a great political thriller movie someday, but for now, can we just get these bozos out of office?