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‘What more evidence do you need?’: MSNBC panel explains Trump campaign’s backchannel communication with Russian bank

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MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes on Tuesday revisited one of the strangest stories of the 2016 presidential campaign — the curious electronic communication between a Trump Organization computer and Russia’s Alfa Bank.

“About a week before the 2016 election, journalist Franklin Foer published an explosive story in Slate on suspicious web traffic between a domain tied to the Trump Organization and a major Russian bank,” Hayes noted. “The bank and the Russian campaign both denied report, so provocative and the data behind it so murky, that a lot of people including us at ‘All In’ decided to keep our distance.”

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“Now, almost two years later, with the mystery of whether the Trump campaign criminally conspired with Russia still unsolved, the New Yorker is revisiting the story with an extensive investigation into that cryptic web traffic,” Hayes explained. “Consulting with experts who ruled out almost every benign explanation for context between a Trump server and a Russian bank.”

“There was a whole series of suspicious, very circumstantial pieces of evidence and data that suggested it was a covert communication channel,” explained Franklin Foer, who broke the original story.

Hayes drilled down on one “mysterious” aspect of the scandal.

“So The New York Times is reporting on the story, they contact the Alfa Bank, the Moscow bank, the [Trump organization] domain gets shut down after The Times contacted Alfa Bank’s representatives, but before the newspaper contacted Trump,” Hayes noted. “That is pretty weird.”

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“I mean, what more evidence do you need?” asked The Atlantic‘s Natasha Bertrand. “It’s very, very obvious.”

“And it’s really Occam’s Razor here, the fact we’ve still not been able to rule out the idea that was a covert communication channel, two years after the fact, that no one has come forth with a plausible explanation for why this is happening, why it’s one of three organizations communicating with the Trump server in the months leading up to the election is completely remarkable,” she noted.

Bertrand suggested the lack of interest in Foer’s story, “just shows the lack of imagination, really, that we were operating with, in the months leading up to the 2016 election.”

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She cited the Steele Dossier as another story that seemed incredible at the time, but that we have been revisiting ever since it was first reported.

WATCH:

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Bill de Blasio learned of federal investigation — and suspended his 2020 bid the next day: report

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday that he was ending his campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

There may have been more to the timing than previously reported.

"Federal election officials asked Mayor de Blasio for more information about his presidential campaign fundraising after he used a state political action committee to pay for expenses related to the bid – seemingly against the law," the New York Daily News reported Friday. "The Federal Election Commission demanded that de Blasio 2020 clarify a debt the campaign owed his NY Fairness PAC in a letter Thursday – the day before Hizzoner dropped out of the race."

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White House Counsel busted working to keep whistleblower report from Congress: report

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President Donald Trump's White House counsel has reportedly been personally involved in keeping Congress from reviewing a whistleblowing report involving Ukraine.

"The revelation that Trump pushed Zelensky to pursue the Biden probe, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, represents the most detailed account so far of the president’s conduct that prompted a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower action against the president," The Washington Post reported Friday. "The disclosure comes amid new details about the White House’s role in preventing Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from complying with Congressional demands for the material in the complaint."

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Watch Ex-CIA official break down the ‘three crimes’ Trump committed if Ukraine scandal is true

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President Donald Trump could be charged with committing three federal crimes if the whistleblower reports involving the White House seeking campaign interference from Ukraine are correct.

MSNBC "Deadline: White House" anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed Jeremy Bash on Friday -- and worried about the safety of the whistleblower.

"The stakes could not be any higher, the risk to his career -- or her career -- and reputation and perhaps legal standing could not be any higher for this whistleblower. That's why we’re glad to be joined by national security analyst, former chief of staff of the CIA and Department of Defense, someone I wanted to talk to about this story all week, Jeremy Bash," Wallace said.

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