Republicans may be reluctant to fully take on President Donald Trump, but that doesn't mean the scandal involving his presidential campaign's contacts with individuals connected to the Russian government will simply go away.
At least 18 calls and emails took place between Russians and members of the Trump campaign between April and November 2016, according to a new report by Reuters. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who was forced to resign in February after it was revealed that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, was among the Trump campaign members who corresponded with Russians during this period. Of the 18 communications, six of them were phone calls between Kislyak and Trump advisers (including Flynn).
These interactions had not been previously disclosed by the Trump campaign, which in January claimed there had been no communication between themselves and Russian officials during that election. They later revised that, admitting to four meetings between Kislyak and members of the Trump team had occurred during that period.
The 18 interactions are considered to be part of the larger body of information that is currently comprising investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election by both the FBI and investigators in Congress. While the current and former American officials who reported this to Reuters say that they have not seen evidence of criminal activity in the communications themselves, the fact that these exchanges contradict the Trump campaign's initial version of events inevitably arouses suspicion and increases the desire for a full account of the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian government.