Trump’s statement directly contradicts what Donald Trump Jr. has bragged about in the past.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
There a chance that Trump could be technically correct. He may have no business located in Russia. He may have nothing that’s labeled a “loan.” Still, he definitely has big money commitments tying him to Russia—far more money that any politician could accept as part of a campaign.
But it’s dead certain that Trump knows about the hacks, has seen the evidence leading back to Russia, and it still telling the American public what the Russian government wants them to hear.
It's the second time in two debates that Trump has declined to acknowledge that the hacks, mostly on Democratic targets, are real, much less that Russia is behind them.
"I don't think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She's saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don't -- maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China," he told NBC's Lester Holt on Sept. 26. "It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"
Even when Trump made that claim in the first debate, he had already been given detailed evidence of Russia’s involvement. Trump had been told about Russia’s involvement before both debates, but went out of his way to claim otherwise, and even to say the rampantly weird “Maybe there is no hacking. ”
Maybe he didn’t believe the agencies that briefed him. After all, Trump’s “very good brain” is smarter than all the generals. Why shouldn’t it be smarter than all the intelligence officers?
Or maybe Trump’s ties to Russia are strong enough that the Russian government issued a formal complaint against a UN commissioner who spoke out against Trump’s white nationalism. Maybe he had some instructions passed back by his adviser who is already having talks with the Kremlin. Maybe he had word from his campaign manager who spent years working directly to aid Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and to interfere with the United States’ interests in the region. Maybe he just loves Putin.
It’s hard to know—especially when Donald Trump is hiding the evidence that his taxes might reveal.
But one thing is dead certain: Donald Trump knows that Russia hacked into Democratic databases for information that could be used against Hillary. And e’s been willing to use the results of those hacks, all while denying that Russia is involved.
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