Time magazine’s current cover.
Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump’s campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race, current and former U.S. officials familiar with the exchanges told Reuters.
The previously undisclosed interactions form part of the record now being reviewed by FBI and congressional investigators probing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Six of the previously undisclosed contacts described to Reuters were phone calls between Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, and Trump advisers, including Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.
Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.
Here’s what I don’t understand, and I’m hoping someone can explain it to me: what’s the attraction for Trump and his minions with Russia? It’s a huge country with a lot of natural resources like oil and gas and raw materials, but it is still functioning like it’s the 1930’s and still under Stalin. It makes nothing we want to import: would you buy a Russian car or cell phone or TV? Do they even make them beyond what they cranked out under Communism? Unlike China, Russia has not embraced the benefits of capitalism — a booming middle class — without abandoning the strict controls of dictatorship — who needs freedom of the press when you can drive a Maserati into Tienanmen Square?
The only thing Russia has going for it is that it’s ruled by a man who doesn’t take shit from anybody and can pretty much do what he wants and still be considered “duly elected.” Vladimir Putin is everything Trump is not but would like to be: strong, confident, ruthless with his opponents, able to keep a story straight, and doesn’t care what anyone outside his country thinks of him. He’s disciplined — when was the last time Putin tweeted his innermost thoughts at 4 a.m.? — and even when he bullshits he at least makes it sound plausible. He’s even unashamed to show his bald head in public.
But other than the fact that Trump clearly has a teenage-boy style crush on the big badass jock, I don’t get it.