On the campaign trail, Donald Trump was obsessed with Wikileaks.
Trump made public mentions of the site—which published stolen emails that damaged rival Hillary Clinton’s election prospects—more than 120 times during the campaign.
On Tuesday, the Guardian reported that Trump’s campaign boss Paul Manafort went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London to meet with Wikileaks head Julian Assange during the heat of the campaign.
Commentator John Avlon and former CIA counterterrorism asset Phil Mudd joined hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman on CNN Wednesday to discuss the current state of the alleged plot between Russia and the Trump campaign, as we now understand it.
“Phil, did the trail just get more clear for you?” asked Camerota.
“Yes, it did,” said Mudd. “There’s a couple pieces we’ve known for months, we’ve known obviously, what the Russians were up to, including Russian military intelligence. We’ve known what Wikleaks released the information… The middle of the puzzle is starting to clarify. The information about exactly how the interaction with Wikileaks was happening.”
We now need to verify that the Guardian’s report is true, Mudd said, and then to know if Paul Manafort or anyone else on the Trump team made arrangements with them.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani is now saying the president “does not recall” whether he discussed Wikileaks with Manafort or advisor Roger Stone.
That was a red flag for Avlon.
“The dots are now being connected here in a deeper way than ever before,” he said. “You get a sense of why the pressure is increasing on the president, because you can’t spin your way out of these problems.”
Watch Jill Stein go off the rails when CNN host asks her about Moscow dinner with Putin
On Saturday, center-right CNN host Michael Smerconish invited 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein on air to discuss Hillary Clinton's characterization of her as a Russian asset. But under the slightest pushback, Stein derailed the conversation with a stream of false equivalence and dodges.
"Do you think that she's trying to draw a nefarious inference from that photograph we've an seen so many times of the dinner that you attended at which President Putin was present?" asked Smerconish. "I think that Gen. Flynn was somebody else at the table. Is that what's driving her, as far as you know?"
CNN contributor goes to bat for Hillary Clinton in battle with Tulsi Gabbard
On CNN Saturday, commentator and Spectrum News reporter Errol Louis suggested that former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had a point in her criticism of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
"Errol, this general narrative about Congresswoman Gabbard is not new, right?" asked anchor Victor Blackwell. "She hit back against her critics at the debate this week, those who said that she's used Russian talking points, criticized her for meeting with Assad a couple of years ago. The question I have is, why? Why would Secretary Clinton go as far as she did to suggest that the Russians are grooming her? That suggests some interactivity here."
GOP lawmaker hammers Trump for Ukraine server conspiracy theory: ‘Are we trying to exculpate Russia?’
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-OK) on Friday signaled that he was taking House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump far more seriously than many of his Republican colleagues.
During an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow, Rooney said he was very disturbed at the president's efforts to prove a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine purportedly being behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, despite the fact that all evidence that has been uncovered points directly to Russia as the true culprit.
Harlow then asked him what he made about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) comment that "all roads" in the Ukraine scandal lead back to Russian President Vladimir Putin.