Vladimir Putin; Donald Trump (AP/Alexei Nikolsky/Evan Vucci/Photo montage by Salon)

Russia today: What new information did we learn about the Trump-Russia connection?

There was a lot of breaking news about the Trump administration's ties to Russia


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Matthew Rozsa
March 4, 2017 1:45AM (UTC)

The last 48 hours have seen such a massive unraveling of major news about President Donald Trump's connections to Russia that we, quite frankly, didn't know where to start. You may not either. So here's roundup of major things that broke.

First, regarding that meeting between Attorney General Jeff Sessions (then United States Senator and part of Trump's inner circle) and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak...

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Things aren't looking good for Sessions' political future.

In addition to the Russia news, it was revealed that Sessions used his own campaign travel account for his trip to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to The Wall Street Journal — which is where he spoke to Kislyak.

But there may be larger problems. Many of his fellow Republicans are starting to abandon him. Though they aren't following the Democratic drumbeat calling for Sessions' resignation, a number of Congressional Republicans are agreeing that he needed to recuse himself from any investigation into Russia (which Sessions has subsequently done). Sessions may find himself without his party's safety net — something the GOP has so far been willing to provide the Trump administration.

Another aide has admitted that then-candidate Trump insisted on removing an anti-Russia plank from the Republican platform.

J. D. Gordon, who represented the Trump campaign on national security issues at the Republican National Convention last year, admitted to CNN on Thursday that he scrubbed a plank from the party platform that opposed Russia's attempts to gain influence in the Ukraine — and did so explicitly on Trump's behalf.

Gordon had previously denied having any role in replacing the plank's call for "providing lethal defense weapons" to Ukrainians resisting pro-Russia rebels with merely giving them "appropriate assistance." That plank was pretty much the only thing in the entire party platform that the Trump campaign actually cared about at all. Although they initially denied having anything to do with it, Gordon admitted to Jim Acosta that Trump insisted on changing the language because "he didn't want to go to 'World War III' over Ukraine."

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Carter Page is joining the list of Trump associates who could be linked to Kislyak.

Sessions and former national security adviser Michael Flynn aren't the only ones to have contacted Kislyak despite initially claiming otherwise. Trump aide Carter Page is now admitting that he met with the Russian ambassador, adding: "I will say I never met him anywhere outside of Cleveland. Let’s just say that much."

Earlier this month, Page characterized reports that he had served as an intermediary between Trump and the Russian government as "human rights abuses" and "hate crimes" committed by the "Clinton regime." This wasn't in an interview, either — he said these things in a letter to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section.

 

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Carter Page Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Russia Vladimir Putin

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