With one week remaining until the 2016 election for president is over, the heat on emails and servers just got hotter, as reports show a secret server registered to Trump Tower in New York City appears to be communication in a strange way with a bank in Russia.
On a conference call Monday with reporters, Hillary For America [HFA] Campaign Manager Robby Mook and HFA Press Secretary Brian Fallon continued their criticism of FBI Director James Comey, who, reporting has revealed, ensured that the FBI would not join in the announcement naming Russia as interfering with elections because it was too close to Election Day.
In a coordinated effort Monday, a bipartisan group of nearly 50 former state attorneys general issued a letter expressing concern over FBI Director Comey’s recent letter to Congress, calling it “unacceptable,” and a “serious mistake.” The signatories said that now that Comey has injected himself into the electoral process, he should “immediately provide as much detail as possible so the American public can deal with facts rather than rank speculation and innuendo,” adding, “But we should not be in this position in the first place.”
Former Attorney General Eric Holder added his two cents in an op-ed in Monday’s editions of The Washington Post, saying Comey’s decision was incorrect. “It violated longstanding Justice Department policies and tradition,” he wrote, adding that he respects Comey but “good men make mistakes.”
Mook and Fallon told reporters on a conference call late Monday afternoon that the FBI, with Comey’s unwise efforts so far with respect to unreviewed emails found in a separate investigation, has established a “blatant double standard” that cuts contrary to established agency policy on investigations, especially with the presidential election now in its final week. The duo called it “nothing short of jaw dropping,” and said Director Comey shows he “favors acting alone over supporting consensus.”
“This completely defies all logic,” Mook said, adding that Mr. Comey should “immediately explain this incongruence and apply the same standard to Donald Trump’s associates as he has applied to Hillary Clinton’s.”
Fallon also jumped on Comey, challenging him to explain his actions to the public, then pivoted to whether he should say whether the bureau has any knowledge that the Trump campaign and some of its current and past players who have deep roots to Moscow—like Carter Page or Paul Manafort—are tied to Russia and its efforts to hack private emails and influence an American election.
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said in a statement Monday that Democrats have been seeking an investigation into former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has been linked to pro-Kremlin elements in Russia and Ukraine, the AP reported.
In related news, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he thinks Director Comey has explosive evidence linking trump to Russia, and that Comey, by doing what he did when he did, may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activity by government employees.
Mook continued the campaign’s defense of having complete confidence that when a review of the batch of emails is complete, it will reinforce the conclusions from this summer, that nothing new was uncovered in the investigation.
HFA doesn’t know if Comey will offering any more this week, but the lack of more information is a source of deep frustration for the Clinton campaign. To clear up conflicting leaks, Mook and Fallon want “everything out on the table…voters are smart, they can come to their own conclusion.” They pressed the FBI director to apply the same standard to Trump’s associates that he applies to Clinton. “Comey opened this door, he broke protocol,” Mook said, again demanding the same treatment be applied to Donald Trump and his campaign associates.
Slate Magazine reported that the Trump Organization has a secret server registered to Trump Tower that has been covertly communicating with Russia. The article offers a quote by a world leader among computer scientists who studied the servers logs. “The parties were communicating in a secretive fashion. The operative word is secretive. This is more akin to what criminal syndicates do if they are putting together a project,” Paul Vixie said.
HFA Senior Policy Adviser Jake Sullivan said about the report, “This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.”
This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump’s ties to Russia, Sullivan said, adding, “It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists.”
In speculation mode, Sullivan said this line of communication “may help explain Trump’s bizarre adoration of Vladimir Putin and endorsement of so many pro-Kremlin positions throughout this campaign.” Moreover, it raises even more troubling questions in light of Russia’s masterminding of hacking efforts that are clearly intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign, he said.
“We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections.”