Donald Trump’s campaign claim that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and [not] lose voters” may finally be tested. It’s starting to look like Trump would get in less trouble if he stripped down to his presidential underwear and ran through the streets of D.C. taking potshots at national monuments. Without summing up every issue Trump has had in the past couple weeks, just take it on faith that it’s been rough. And yet, somehow, things continue to get worse.
Today, former CIA Director John Brennan testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that Russia may have successfully recruited some of Trump’s presidential campaign aides to help swing the election. Per Brennan’s statement:
I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.
Referring to the time when the CIA director stepped down on Jan. 20, Brennan added:
I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion. Therefore, I felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well founded and needed to look into these issues.
Brennan gave these statements to the House Intelligence Committee, which is currently investigating the extent and methods of Russia’s meddling in our recent election. It is widely believed the Russia did manage to exert some form of influence over the election via propaganda and fake news, but it’s still unclear what the extent of the meddling was and—more importantly—which Americans, if any, were involved.
Time and time again, Trump associates have been unfavorably connected to Russia—most notably former security advisor Michael Flynn, who is desperately hoping he can protect himself via the fifth amendment. While Brennan made sure to mention that he did not know whether collusion definitely existed or not, he did claim that by the time of his leaving, “There was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring and colluding with Russian officials.”
As the evidence continues to stack up, it’s fair to wonder when the Russia-Trump connection will be officially resolved. It’s starting to appear that the further we dig, the deeper the vodka-soaked rabbit hole goes.