Monday, December 18, 2017

Luke Harding

Luke Harding's new book is Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win. From his Q&A with James Warren for U.S. News & World Report:

What is most central in understanding the Trump-Russia relationship?

The Russian state has been interested in cultivating Trump for three decades. These efforts have been sporadic, with breaks following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The [former British intelligence official Christopher] Steele dossier asserts that the latest operation began five or six years ago. I find the thesis broadly credible.

Even people who follow politics closely are confused about whether there is an unequivocal link between Putin and the presidential campaign and, perhaps more relevant, how impactful it was. Your take?

For almost a year the White House claimed there had been no meetings between Russians and the campaign. We now know of several, (notably) the infamous Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016 featuring a Russian lawyer, [Donald] Trump Jr., [former Trump campaign manager] Paul Manafort and [son-in-law and senior adviser to the president] Jared Kushner. Plus other interactions and breakfasts in London between George Papadopoulos and a Maltese professor/alleged Russian asset. We now know the campaign knew in April 2016 that Russia was in possession of hacked Democratic emails. At the time Hillary [Clinton] had no clue. The subsequent release of these emails is indicative of...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue