Emails obtained by the New York Times not only contradict the White House’s claim that former national security advisor Mike Flynn went rogue by communicating with Russian officials during the 2016 election — they also prove that the Trump administration acknowledged that Russia contributed to the president’s victory and actively wanted to aid the foreign power in return.
K. T. McFarland, one of Trump’s transition advisers, wrote on December 29 that Russia had “just thrown the U.S.A. election to him” in an email concerning new sanctions, announced on the same day by Obama, punishing the country for interfering in the presidential race. McFarland suggested that the sanctions could potentially sour the U.S.-Russia relationship, an outcome the Times says additional emails proved was one Trump’s team wanted to avoid.
— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) December 2, 2017
This is not the first time someone in the administration acknowledges Russia’s influence on the campaign or proves that they had knowledge of Russian attempts to aid Trump. In July, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an email chain in which he was explicitly told the Russian government was making efforts to help his father.
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” Rob Goldstone, an entertainment publicist and friend of Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, wrote to Trump Jr. in June 2016. The emails revolved around a meeting Goldstone wanted to help set up between the Trump campaign and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer.
Despite Trump’s insistence that the investigation into whether he colluded with the Russian government to secure his win is a “with hunt” and a “hoax,” more damning evidence has continued to come to light. On Friday, Mike Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his communication with Russians to the FBI and is reportedly ready to testify that Trump directed him to make contact.