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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.”

“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.”

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.

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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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Trump seethes and calls Fox ‘fake news’ after seeing a story that made him mad

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Trouble appears to be brewing between President Donald Trump and the cable news station he loves: Fox News.

In a tweet Monday night, the president lashed out at the network over its polling and called it “fake news’ — an epithet he usually reserves for mainstream outlets:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140768516288782336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Matthew Gertz, who has previously noted that Trump appears to record news segments and watch them a few hours later, suggested that the president appeared to be reacting to an earlier segment from Special Report with Bret Baier. The segment showed that, even according to Fox News’ polling, Trump trails every single leading candidate in the Democratic field in head-to-head matchups.

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