Here’s a depressing piece of news: Robert Mueller is apparently expecting his investigation to work throughout 2018, according to the Washington Post’s sources. Mueller’s team “expects” to be working through the next year “at the minimum.” Meaning there probably won’t be any Christmas indictments. But maybe some Fourth of July 2018 indictments? Ugh. Meanwhile, there are lots of rumors that Republicans in Congress are going to try to shut down the Senate and House committee investigations in the coming weeks, not months. That includes the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Russia investigation, led by Richard Burr and one of my senators, Mark Warner (Warner is the ranking Democrat on the committee). The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation is looking to wrap up soon, only it turns out they have their sights set on a new lead: Jill Stein.
The top congressional committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has set its sights on the Green Party and its nominee, Jill Stein. Dennis Trainor Jr., who worked for the Stein campaign from January to August of 2015, says Stein contacted him on Friday saying the Senate Intelligence Committee had requested that the campaign comply with a document search.
Trainor, who served as the campaign’s communications director and acting manager during that time, told BuzzFeed News that he was informed of the committee’s request because during his time on the campaign, his personal cell phone was “a primary point of contact” for those looking to reach Stein or the campaign. That included producers from RT News, the Russian state-funded media company, who booked Stein for several appearances, Trainor said.
“Then I was told by Jill just to wait for further instructions,” Trainor said, adding that he was told the campaign would contact him in the next week with instructions, presumably from the Senate Intelligence Committee, for executing the document search, including precise search terms. That has not happened yet, Trainor said.
When asked Monday what the committee was looking for from the Stein campaign, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the committee’s chairman, responded, “collusion with the Russians.” Burr said that the committee is “just starting” its work investigating two campaigns, but did not elaborate. Stein did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stein has not previously been a major focus during the Russia investigations on Capitol Hill, but her name has surfaced occasionally. The Senate Judiciary mentioned her in a letter to Donald Trump Jr. in July, requesting copies of “all communications to, from, or copied” to the president’s son that related to Stein and a long list of other, more prominent figures in the investigations. Trainor said he would be surprised if Stein ever communicated with Trump Jr., who participated in an interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors for more than nine hours last Wednesday. “Don Jr. has been incredibly cooperative with the committee,” Burr said Thursday.
Stein’s name has also come up in the context of a 2015 dinner hosted by RT in Moscow. Stein sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Michael Flynn, who served as Donald Trump’s first White House national security adviser until he was ousted just 24 days into the job. Flynn recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting a criminal investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trainor said he expects the Senate Intelligence Committee will want to know more about the Moscow dinner, but that he wasn’t employed by the campaign at that time and therefore wouldn’t have any documents related to the event. Stein has said that unlike Flynn, she was not paid to attend the dinner and paid for her own travel costs. Trainor said he believes the committee is primarily interested in Stein’s appearances on RT, “vilifying anyone who’s ever appeared on or talked with anyone on the RT network.”
I’m not saying Jill Stein is a Russian operative. But here are some facts. She sat with Mike Flynn and Vladimir Putin at the same table in Moscow in 2015. Russia paid for Facebook ads encouraging people to vote for Jill Stein. The Green Party “debate” was hosted by RT, the propaganda machine of Putin’s government. She cozied up to Julian Assange too, who at this point is fine with being a weaponized tool of the Russian government. I’m not saying Stein is a Russian operative. I’m saying it’s a good thing that she’s being investigated.
Flynn, Putin, & Jill Stein.
Hillary is not in this picture because her heart beats for America. pic.twitter.com/dCgRHkxXkF
— Laurie Crosswell (@lauriecrosswell) December 18, 2017
Photos courtesy of Getty.