Virtual Media Blackout on Emerging Trump Campaign Scandal with Russia

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SOURCEThink Progress

On Friday, investigative reporter Michael Isikoff dropped a bombshell story: U.S. officials are investigating secret meetings between a Trump campaign advisor and Russian officials suspected of trying to influence the presidential election.

U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.

The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said.

Representatives from the Trump campaign — Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — appeared on all five major Sunday shows.

Only CNN’s Jake Tapper asked about Isikoff’s report.

Conway denied that Page was part of the campaign. In March, Trump listed Page as one of his five top foreign policy advisers. His actual influence in the campaign is in dispute.

The failure to ask Flynn, who appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press, about the report was particularly notable. Flynn’s relationship with Russia is a controversy unto itself. He traveled to Russia last year and gave a speech celebrating state-owned Russian media company RT. Flynn will not reveal who paid for his trip.

Former campaign manager Paul Manafort resigned after allegations emerged that he received millions in illegal payments from a pro-Russian party in Ukraine.

Trump has repeatedly praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on the trail. At Trump’s last press conference, in July, he brazenly encouraged Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s email. Russia is suspected of hacking the the DNC’s email and other hacks that appear intended to swing the election to Trump. He has also said that, if elected, he would consider lifting economic sanctions on Russia.

Advisers representing Trump were asked repeatedly Sunday about a tweet Trump sent threatening to invite Gennifer Flower’s, who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton in the 1970s, to the debate. The campaign decided not to invite her.

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