Trump's response to indictments puts focus on what he was doing with Russia in 2013-14

So this is interesting. Trump’s immediate response to today’s indictments, tweeted immediately after he boarded Marine One to head off to Florida. 


Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018

Long before he announced he was going to run for president, but about the time Russia was clearly recognizing just how useful Donald Trump could be for them. Let’s just revisit the timeline a bit, shall we?

In November, 2013, Trump was in Moscow for his Miss Universe contest, where “US intelligence experts note, he would have been a natural and obvious target for Russian intelligence.” Whether or not the more salacious details of the Steele dossier happened, giving the Russians potential blackmail to use against Trump, he made connections during his few days in Moscow that ended up being involved in his campaign two and a half years later. Like billionaire Aras Agalarov, who through his son Emin (a performer at the pageant) offered that dirt about Hillary Clinton from “Russia’s top prosecutor” to Don Jr.

So maybe Trump did something in 2013 to give Putin leverage over him and maybe he meets some people there who are trying to cultivate him. That makes Trump’s focus on 2014 as the starting point kind of interesting.

Particularly when you see the concrete thing that starts happening in 2014. The invaluable Sarah Kendzior points out that by 2014 “Russian state media was promoting Trump and Trump was praising Putin on FOX News.” She wrote about it in August 2016. Trump had appeared on Fox and defended Russia’s ongoing disaster of a disorganized and chaotic Sochi Olympics. And this:

The future Republican presidential nominee concludes by stating the US should give Russia a pass, because: “[The US is] going to win something important later on, and they won’t be opposed to what we’re doing.” Trump never specifies what exactly this future “win” will be, but it’s an interesting comment in the context of his ascendancy to the GOP candidacy.

2014 may have been long before Trump actually announced that he was running for president, but it would have been exactly when Russia was deciding he would be their perfect stooge for 2016.