Mueller is reportedly focused on the relationship between the Trump campaign and Kremlin propaganda arm RT as a potential avenue for collusion.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a Trump campaign adviser’s ties to Kremlin propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) as a potential conduit for coordination between Trump associates and Russia, according to a new report.
The Guardian reported Thursday that Ted Malloch, a London-based American academic and former adviser to the Trump campaign, has been questioned by Mueller’s team about his frequent appearances on RT, the Russian government-funded news outlet that is often described as the Kremlin's propaganda arm.
Malloch disclosed that he was questioned about RT to right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who is also a target of the investigation.
"They thought maybe he was coordinating with Russia — and RT is Russia," Malloch told the Guardian.
Mueller's reported focus on RT provides important new insight into the ongoing investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
As the Guardian noted, RT has a close relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who published a trove of emails stolen from top Democrats by Russian intelligence.
According to the report, Mueller is interested in determining whether Malloch may have been involved in passing information from Assange to the Trump campaign via Corsi or longtime Trump friend and adviser Roger Stone, and whether RT played a role.
Investigators are reportedly looking closely at one day in particular: Aug. 2, 2016. Visitor logs show RT staff came to the Ecuadorian embassy in London that day to interview Assange.
"RT staff met and interviewed Assange on the same day — 2 August 2016 — that Roger Stone, the self-described 'dirty trickster' and longtime Trump associate who had previously bragged about having special access to WikiLeaks, was passed information about Assange's plans," the Guardian reported.
Mueller's team is reportedly looking at Malloch's relationship with RT reporter Afshin Rattansi, on whose show he has appeared at least five times since Trump took office.
Rattansi was the RT reporter who interviewed Assange on August 2, 2016. According to the Guardian, a U.S. intelligence assessment published after the election alleges that Rattansi's interview of Assange was part of Russia's propaganda effort aimed at helping Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.
"The US intelligence report also noted a past relationship between RT and Assange, alleging that the Kremlin-backed channel had 'actively collaborated with WikiLeaks' in an effort to denounce the US," the Guardian reported.
In February 2018, RT was forced to register as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department. That came just over a year after a January 2017 intelligence report identified RT as part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine" that played a central role in the Kremlin's election interference operation.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.