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“The committee obtained some information suggesting that the Russian intelligence officer, with whom Manafort had a longstanding relationship, may have been connected to the G.R.U.’s hack-and-leak operation targeting the 2016 U.S. election,” Democrats wrote. “This is what collusion looks like.”
The assertion was a sign that even though the investigation was carried out in bipartisan fashion, and Republican and Democratic senators reached broad agreement on its most significant conclusions, a partisan divide remained on some of the most politically sensitive issues.
The Senate report said that the unusual nature of the Trump campaign — staffed by Mr. Trump’s longtime associates, friends and other businessmen with no government experience — “presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities.”
The Senate investigation found that two other people who met at Trump Tower in 2016 with senior members of the Trump campaign — including Mr. Manafort; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law; and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son — had “significant connections to Russian government, including the Russian intelligence services.”
The report said that the connections between the Russian government and one of the individuals, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, “were far more extensive and concerning than what had been publicly known.”
Since the release of Mr. Mueller’s report, Attorney General William P. Barr and numerous Republican senators have tried to discredit the special counsel’s work — dismissing the investigation into the 2016 election as “Russiagate.”
Releasing the report less than 100 days before Election Day, lawmakers hope it will refocus attention on the interference by Russia and other hostile foreign powers in the American political process, which has continued unabated.
Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠