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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Trump-Russiagate story is yet to end

Por MRod

The Committee of Intelligence of the Senate, of Republican majority, maintains that Russia interfered in the presidential elections of 2016 with the purpose of favoring the victory of Donald Trump, a thesis that aligns with one of the services of intelligence of the United States but that collides with the one raised just two months ago by the Republicans of the other House of Congress, that of Representatives.

Two months ago, the conservatives issued their own report - without the support of the Democrats - in which they exonerated the Republican president of any connotations with the Kremlin and, moreover, rejected the idea that Moscow's goal was to help the New Yorker to get to the White House. The statement released this Wednesday by the other committee, however, has support from both parties.

"Our staff has concluded that the findings [of the intelligence services] were accurate and correct," said Senate committee vice president Mark R. Warner in a joint statement with the president, Republican Sen. Richard Burr. The intelligence services took for granted in their report partially released in early 2017 that the Government of Vladimir Putin had tried to help the Republican to win the election to the detriment of Hillary Clinton. To carry out this interference, they conducted cyber-attacks, disseminated private emails from the Democrats and toxic propaganda for the former Secretary of State, according to their conclusions. But the role of Donald Trump Jr. has been crucial in the investigation.

The Senate Judiciary Committee released 2,500 pages of transcripts of the closed-door hearings of Donald Trump Jr. and other people who participated in June 2016, five months before the presidential election, in a meeting with a Russian lawyer in NY. In emails sent to Trump Jr. in which she agreed to hold the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya was introduced as a "Russian Government lawyer" who, as "part of Russia's support and its government to Trump," had compromising information about the Democrat Hillary Clinton. The meeting is one of the pillars of Mueller's investigation and the judicial committee itself, which has not yet announced its conclusions.

The published testimonies underpin Trump Jr.'s version that the meeting was a waste of time because the lawyer did not offer any relevant details about Clinton and instead demanded to change a law that restricts the adoption of Russian children in the US. But the transcription of the appearances feeds some of the suspicions around the case. For example, Trump Jr. admits that his father may have participated in the writing of a White House communiqué omitting that the meeting had been proposed as part of the Russian effort to help him in the election campaign. Mueller investigates if the note can suppose a crime of concealment.