The investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is the slow burning fuse threatening to implode the already failed Trump presidency. Each day brings us closer to that final explosive revelation. Today, the fuse is burning faster than usual.

NBC News reports that Paul Manafort took notes during his previously undisclosed meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and that they contain the word “donations” near a reference to the Republican National Committee.

The meeting was also attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and several other surrogates of the Russian government. The Trump team went to the meeting for the express purpose of obtaining compromising dirt on Hillary Clinton to use during the campaign.

Manafort’s notes were saved on his smart phone and were delivered to special counsel Robert Mueller as well as the Senate and House intelligence committees as part of their ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election. NBC’s source described the notes as “cryptic.” 

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a benign explanation for these words appearing in Manafort’s notes. The official story from the Trump camp is that they met to get dirt on Clinton, but that the Russians instead wanted to discuss a Russian adoption program and so nothing came of the meeting. How the word “donation” could conceivably fit into a conversation about “adoptions” is anyone’s guess. Clearly, we aren’t getting the full picture from Manafort and co.

If it turns out that the notes do in fact indicate what they seem to – that is, that the Trump team discussed possible donations from Russia to the RNC – it would be a gross criminal violation. Campaigns are strictly forbidden from receiving help from foreign countries so as to protect the sanctity of the American voter. The president should be chosen by Americans, not foreign adversaries./ ROBERT HAFFEY

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