New leaks  from inside the White House say that senior members of the Trump campaign were in regular contact with high-level Russian intelligence officials in the year leading up to election.

Russiagate continues.

There was and is mismanagement and double-play in the Trump team- maybe with the president involved himself, like Richard Nixon before he resigned after the Watergate scandal.

There are direct contrasts to several declarations made by Trump and his team:

  • Trump claimed to know “weeks” ago about the communications, but yet did nothing.
  • Continuous leaks are frustrating the administration as they attempt to stop the flow.
  • But the real problems are not the leaks, but Trump’s chaos style, under-management and inexperience in politics and the flirt with Russia against Clinton and Obama.
  • Pressure is mounting over an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.
  • Does Flynn’s resignation symbolise the first brick in the wall to crumble?

Trump is trying to deflect attention away from the crisis by emphasising the volume of ‘illegal’ leaks coming out – but unless the administration has a plan to stop the flow, the constant leaks could begin to undermine his presidency.

Deny, deny, deny

According to four current and former officials, US intelligence agents had picked up the communications with Russia at the same time that they were investigating the Russian’s involvement in interfering with the election. This has been backed up by other sources speaking to CNN saying that Trump and Obama were briefed last month on the communication between Russian operatives and Trump’s campaign team.

Trump said last month that nobody in his campaign had been in touch with Russia. When the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked if the president would stand by these comments, he said: “There’s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also rejected that any communications had taken place, pointing to the anonymous sources and saying the reports “are not based on any facts, do not point to actual facts.” Maybe he meant alternative facts.

The temperature rises

The heat is being turned up on the Trump administration to explain links to Russia. Senate Republicans want to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia. John Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the House and Senate intelligence committees should conduct an investigation.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, another Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said, “The Senate Intelligence Committee, again that I serve on, has been given the principal responsibility to look into this, and I think that we should look into it exhaustively so that at the end of this process, nobody wonders whether there was a stone left unturned, and shouldn’t reach conclusions before you have the information that you need to have to make those conclusions.”

The news that US investigators have confirmed at least some of the information within the infamous dossier compiled by former British Spy Christopher Steele will no doubt be worrying for Trump. The on-going investigation will seek to establish what aspects of the dossier are true, including the allegedly compromising video footage of Trump that could be used to blackmail him.

Death by a thousand leaks

Trump has remained largely silent on the unfolding events concerning Russia, but he did, via Twitter, condemn the leaks coming from Washington.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway echoed Trump’s concerns on Fox News: “If people are running to the media to leak and not providing that information to the proper authorities, that should concern all of us. This is not a partisan issue. It’s dangerous stuff.”

Trump’s newfound concern about leaks is a little different than on the campaign trail, now that they concern him, saying before that he loved WikiLeaks:

In an interview with right wing website the Daily Caller, Flynn said leaking information to reports was a crime. “You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime. It’s not just a wink and a nod.”

Muddled timelines

Sean Spicer said Trump knew about the communication “weeks” before. But this doesn’t explain why Trump kept him on, unless he was actually conducting these communications at the behest of Trump himself.

Spicer added that the White House believes Flynn did nothing legally wrong but Trump had lost trust in him because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence. “The evolving and eroding level of trust as a result of this situation and a series of other questionable incidents is what led the president to ask General Flynn for his resignation,” he said.

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway tried to clear up the mess but ended up stumbling. NBC’s Matt Lauer caught her in her confusion and said, “Kellyanne, that makes no sense.”

Senator John McCain of Arizona issued a statement that that Flynn’s resignation “raises further questions” about Trump’s “intentions” with regard to Russian President Vladimir Putin.