The purpose of this meeting was to obtain information from the Russian government that was damaging to their opponent, explicitly as part of Russia’s broader government “support for Mr. Trump.” Top Trump campaign officials knew the purpose and participated. This latest revelation, with all the other information now known, confirms that the Trump campaign knew about the Russian effort to intervene in the election and encouraged and participated in the effort both in private and in public.The undisputed facts about the June 9 meeting point to clear intent to coordinate with the Russian government’s covert intelligence operation to influence the election. The apparent eagerness on the part of the most senior members of the Trump campaign to meet with Kremlin-linked figures; the willingness to acquire and use material provided by the Russians; the failure to report the meeting to U.S. law enforcement; the subsequent repeated public denials that any meetings with Russians had occurred; the misleading statements made about the meetings in the face of evidence that they had occurred; and the denial of any Russian election interference demonstrated that the Trump campaign was a willing and capable partner with Moscow in its covert influence operations targeting the election
The Russian government probed for the campaign’s expression of interest in the emails; the Trump campaign left little doubt that it was interested. In fact, the exchanges between the Trump campaign and the emissaries from Moscow constitute an explicit statement of that interest in the “thing of value” the Russians claimed to have. To the extent that the campaign might answer that it never quite “asked for” anything in particular, merely agreeing to receive the traveling party and listen, the problem is that the law reaches “implicit” solicitations, not just specific requests. The rule also covers words-plus-conduct, and the behavior of the campaign–an extraordinary meeting with agents of a foreign government in campaign headquarters with the senior staff–bolsters a solicitation charge.Moreover, the “thing of value” the Russians were peddling remained the same over the course of the year. The purloined emails were not a one-time gift to the campaign. First came the DNC material, then the Podesta stolen emails, and WikiLeaks spread them out over time, in a series of disclosures. The entire course of dealing between the campaign, the Russians and WikiLeaks reflects on the campaign’s part an ongoing strategic commitment to these revelations, and its active assistance to the Russians in using them to maximum effect. The solicitation itself did not take place on just one occasion but was confirmed over time.
Silicon Valley’s social media giants aren’t done reckoning with their Russia problem. With less than 10 months to go before the midterm election, however, they’re still trying to earn back the public’s confidence that the commons they operate aren’t also undermining our democracy—and they’re still answering questions about what they’ll do the next time a foreign disinformation campaign runs rampant on their social networks.On Twitter, an army of bots and fake accounts piloted by the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-affiliated troll farm, muddied the waters of public debate in the months before and after the 2016 election. . . . Now, the company has provided more information about how bad the infiltration was, as well as how Twitter plans to address the fact legions of its users intersected with the malicious tweets.