Russia affair: Senate finds no evidence against Trump - policy

  • Trump's campaign team is under suspicion of having teamed up with Russia to win the 2016 election.
  • For the first time, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have come to the conclusion that there is no valid evidence for this.
  • The investigation into the matter are far from complete.

From Thorsten Denkler, New York

It's a second-rate acquittal that senior members of the US Senate Intelligence Committee have now pronounced. For two years, they tried to find evidence that Trump's campaign team deliberately and deliberately worked with the Russian government to win the 2016 election. From the investigation Democrats and Republicans gain the insight: They have not found a direct proof and probably will not find it anymore, reports the newsreader NBC News.

North Carolina Republican Senator and Committee Chairman Richard Burr said in a CBS interview last week, "If we were to write a report based on the facts we know, then we have nothing to suggest it secret collaboration between the Trump team and Russia. "

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At the core, that is what the Democrats are conceding. One who did not want to be named, NBC News said, "We will never find the blood-signed contract saying 'Hey Vlad (Vladimir Putin, editor's note), we will cooperate'."

Both sides apparently also do not believe that new findings can be expected. "We know we are approaching the bottom of the keg, because there are no new questions we might be looking for," said Senator Barr. The committee heard over 200 witnesses in two years and scoured more than 300,000 pages of paper.

On the other hand, they have found plenty of evidence for cooperation. Between officials from Trump's team and Russian government officials, there were over 100 contacts before the election. In some of them were also close confidants of Trump involved, such as Trump's son Donald Trump Junior or his son-in-law Jared Kushner. There are emails from Donald Trump Junior showing that there was at least a high level of willingness to engage in Russian offerings of cooperation.

The Russian side was apparently prepared to share incriminating evidence about Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton with the Trump campaign. Prior to the election, Donald Trump Junior and Jared Kushner, among others, met with a Russian lawyer in New York's Trump Tower. Allegedly, the lawyer came but empty-handed. Trump has even publicly asked the Russian government to release incriminating e-mails stolen by Russian hackers from Democratic Party servers.

Contrary to Trump's protestations during the election campaign, he had business contacts with the Russian government well into the election campaign. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified that he had tried on Trump's behalf until June 2016 to complete a deal on the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow. Without the consent of the Kremlin such a construction would not be possible.

Closest to evidence is the recent recent announcement that Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort shared detailed survey data with a man whom the FBI views as well connected to Russian intelligence services. The data could have helped Russia to optimize its disinformation campaign.

The report of special investigator Robert Mueller is pending

Manafort is now awaiting a long prison sentence in the wake of investigations by Robert Mueller, the special investigator of the US Department of Justice in the Russia affair. It is all about long-standing cases of banking and tax fraud. So far, Manafort has not been charged in connection with the 2016 election.

The investigations of Mueller are still ongoing. He is expected to finish his report in the coming weeks. However, observers do not believe that Mueller will provide groundbreaking new insights.

A year ago, Republicans in the House of Representatives declared the investigation of their Chamber closed. The move caused massive criticism because the Democrats were not involved in this decision. Now the Democrats in the House have the majority. You have announced that you want to intensify the investigation again. The parliamentary investigations are therefore far from over. Nevertheless, the joint assessment of the senators that there is no valid evidence, too high expectations.

There is hardly any doubt, however, that the Russian government has made every effort to help Trump win the election. On the one hand with a broad-based disinformation campaign in the social media. Or with various attempts to get Trump's campaign team to work together. And not least with criminal energy, hiring hackers to steal incriminating evidence against Clinton. That's what US intelligence agencies say.

The report of the senators in the intelligence committee will be expected in a few months. Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia says he will present the facts to the American people as best they can. Then it was up to humans to decide "whether that, by whatever definition, was a secret collaboration".

But somebody else has to explain to the US president what that means. He tweeted with satisfaction the Senate had come to the conclusion that there was "no cooperation with Russia". Well, finding no evidence of a crime does not mean that nothing has happened.

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