A new report confirms American intelligence analysts and FBI investigators uncovered information pointing to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Only one week after the Guardian quoted British sources as saying there was "specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, United States government officials are now being cited reporting U.S. intelligence supports the likelihood that "Russian operatives tried to use Trump advisers...to infiltrate the Trump campaign."
Much of the new report focuses on Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor for Donald Trump, as a possible Russian operative and notes that the FBI had Page "on their radar for at least four years." It also reveals a portion of a letter reportedly written by Page to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, in which he offered to testify, and noted — rebutting the Trump administration's efforts to minimize Page's connection with the campaign and Trump — "For your information, I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Cafe, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year."
The report contains information that bolsters the need for both further investigation and an independent investigatory body to perform the investigation [emphasis added]:
Intelligence analysts and FBI investigators who analyzed various strands of intelligence from human sources to electronic and financial records have found signs of possible collusion between the campaign and Russian officials. But there is not enough evidence to show that crimes were committed, US officials say.
Additionally, there is an intriguing and buried lede within the report:
Part of the problem for investigators has been that they lost their opportunity to conduct the investigation in secret after several leaks last year revealed FBI was looking at people close to the Trump campaign. After those reports, people that the US was monitoring changed their behavior, which made it more difficult for US officials to monitor them.
In other words, the FBI was investigating people close to Trump and his campaign, but when news about the mere existence of an investigation leaked, some of those people began to behave differently. Whether they ceased engaging in activities of possible collusion or simply began doing a better job of covering their tracks is not clear at this time.
This is yet more evidence that a thorough and independent, non-partisan investigation must be performed to determine whether Trump or anyone connected to him has engaged in collusion with Russia against our nation.