NYT Ed. Board: Trump Campaign Accepted Russian Help In 2016. "Case Closed."
The New York Times Editorial Board issued a scathing assessment of President Donald Trump’s cooperation with Russian sources amid the 2016 presidential election, stating in no uncertain terms that “It was a plot against American democracy.”
- “From the start, the Trump-Russia story has been both eye-glazingly complex and extraordinarily simple,” the board wrote, listing off some of the myriad players, connections and facts of the situation.
- But it all boils down the singular conclusion that Trump and his campaign knowingly and willingly accepted help from Russia to win the 2016 election, the board concludes, citing the Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week.
A bipartisan report released Tuesday by the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee cuts through the chaff. The simplicity of the scheme has always been staring us in the face: Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign sought and maintained close contacts with Russian government officials who were helping him get elected. The Trump campaign accepted their offers of help. The campaign secretly provided Russian officials with key polling data. The campaign coordinated the timing of the release of stolen information to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
- Though the report is not the first to detail the Trump-Russia saga, “it is the first to do so with the assent of Senate Republicans, who have mostly ignored the gravity of the Trump camp’s actions or actively worked to cast doubt about the demonstrable facts in the case,” the board wrote.
- “It’s also a timely rebuke to the narrative that Attorney General William Barr has been hawking since before he took office early last year — that ‘Russiagate’ is a ‘bogus’ scandal,” the editorial continued.
Mr. Barr and other Trump allies claim that the Russia investigation was begun without basis and carried out with the intent of “sabotaging the presidency.” That argument has been debunked by every investigative body that has spent any time looking into what happened, including the nation’s intelligence community, Mr. Mueller’s team, the Justice Department’s inspector general and now the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Mr. Trump and his allies will parse and prevaricate forever. Ignore them. If it wasn’t already overwhelmingly clear what was going on, it is now. As the Democrats on the committee put it in an appendix to the report: “This is what collusion looks like.” Alas, the Republicans refused to join in on this straightforward assessment, stating in their own appendix that “we can now say with no doubt, there was no collusion.” That is to insist that up is down.
But call it whatever you like: The Intelligence Committee report shows clear coordination between Russians and the Trump campaign, though there is no evidence of an explicit agreement. The evidence the report lays out suggests Mr. Trump knew this at the time. Whether or not it can be proved that he ordered this interference or violated the law in doing so, the fact remains that neither he nor anyone else in his campaign alerted federal law-enforcement authorities, as any loyal American should have.
- And Trump is willing to go the same route again, the board observed, citing Trump’s attempt to have Ukraine drum up dirt on Joe Biden and the president’s lack of interest in “cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs.”
- The editorial board concluded,
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. In less than three months, the American people could re-elect a man who received a foreign government’s help to win one election and has shown neither remorse nor reservations about doing so again.