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Asking for foreign meddling in our elections is wrong

To the editor:

In The Sentinel editorial on Aug. 25, the writer wants you to focus on an obvious misconduct by a former FBI lawyer and not on the mounting evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump and his officials which is revealed in the Republican-led Senate report which mirrors the Mueller report.

Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort gave valuable polling data and strategy information to Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian spy, according to the Senate report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which called it a “grave counterintelligence threat.” The report goes on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally behind the hacking and leaking of Democratic emails, using WikiLeaks to try to cover up Russian involvement.

Roger Stone, a Trump friend, asked WikiLeaks for advance notice in order to shape Trump’s public relations effort. Stone was instrumental in seeking the release of Democratic emails 30 minutes after the release of the Hollywood Access tapes in order to blunt negative media coverage. The tape revealed Trump saying crude, disrespectful and sexual remarks about women.

The bipartisan Senate report stated “candidate Trump and his campaign responded to the threat by embracing, encouraging, and exploiting the Russian effort.”

The Senate report also assesses that Trump did speak with Stone about WikiLeaks. In a written answer to Mueller, Trump stated he did not. Lying to the Mueller investigators is a crime.

At the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Manafort and others met with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Russian government. The report clearly states that those at the meeting “sought explicitly to receive derogatory information,” knowing that the information was part of “Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump.”

We know that Michael Flynn, who chanted at the Republican Convention, “lock her up” and who was later appointed national security adviser by Trump, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian ambassador before Trump took office. George Papadopoulos, a Trump foreign policy adviser, was also found guilty of making false statements to the FBI about his knowledge of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

There may not be enough uncovered evidence to meet the high bar of illegality, but what the Trump campaign did is clearly wrong. It is collusion! No candidate should be asking, either directly or surreptitiously, for interference from a foreign country. Our elections should be decided only by citizens of the United States.

Gary Gill

Lewistown

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