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Trump and his allies’ explanations for the campaign’s Russia contacts have seen a stark evolution as new evidence has spilled out





  • In addition to investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel Robert Mueller is scrutinizing dozens of contacts between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.
  • Trump and his surrogates have offered multiple, at times contradictory, explanations for those contacts.
  • Over time, they have claimed the campaign never communicated with Russia, that the contacts did not amount to collusion, and that even if they did, collusion is not a crime.

The special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election has so far produced 32 indictments, five cooperating witnesses, one conviction, and the seizure of $46 million in assets.

Last week, Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty and began cooperating with the Russia probe. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has reportedly sat for hours of interviews with Mueller’s team.

Since last May, Mueller has been investigating not only Russia’s election meddling, but also whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in Trump’s favor.

The central thread in the probe focuses on the complex linkage of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian individuals and entities.

Over time, Trump and his surrogates have had multiple, often contradictory, explanations for those contacts.

1. There was no contact with Russians

President Vladimir Putin directed the interference, US intelligence agencies have

President Vladimir Putin directed the interference, US intelligence agencies have concluded.

(Thomas Kronsteiner / Getty Images)

In the days immediately following the election, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov and a top Russian diplomat told the Associated Press the Russian government maintained “normal” contacts on matters of foreign affairs with both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

Hope Hicks, then a campaign spokeswoman, categorically denied at the time that any such contacts had taken place.

“It never happened,” she told the AP. “There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”

But subsequent reporting has now revealed at least 87 known points of contact between Trump campaign aides and Russia-linked individuals or entities.

Those include communications with Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s former ambassador to the US; multiple powerful oligarchs closely aligned with Putin; and Russian intelligence officers who were involved in hacking then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The officers disseminated the stolen emails via WikiLeaks to influence the election, Mueller has charged.

2. There was contact, but no ‘collusion’

The Trump camp’s explanations for its Russia contacts saw a significant shift in the summer of 2017, when a bombshell New York Times story revealed that three top campaign officials, including Manafort, son Donald Trump Jr., and senior adviser Jared Kushner met with two Russian lobbyists at Trump Tower.

After The Times reported on the meeting, Trump Jr. put out an initial statement claiming the meeting had nothing to do with Clinton or campaign business.

But the president’s eldest son had to revise his statement several times after it emerged that he agreed to the meeting after he was offered “dirt” on Clinton. The offer, according to one email Trump Jr. received from the British music publicist Rob Goldstone, was “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Trump’s candidacy.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump speaks with his son Donald Trump Jr. during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan on January 11,

Then-President-elect Donald Trump speaks with his son Donald Trump Jr. during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan on January 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

In response, Trump Jr. said, “I love it.”

The full picture surrounding the meeting is still somewhat murky.

But it was reported last year that one of the Russian lobbyists, the Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, did not arrive with the promised dirt on Clinton, and instead wanted to discuss a potential repeal of the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions high-level Russians suspected of human-rights abuses.


Trump and his lawyers initially claimed that the president did not know about the meeting until The Times broke the story about it.

But the Washington Post later reported that Trump “dictated” the initially misleading statement his son put out after he was contacted about the story.

Trump later acknowledged that although the meeting took place in order to get compromising information on Clinton, it did not count as collusion because the campaign did not get anything from Veselnitskaya.

“This was a meeting to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics – and it went nowhere. I did not know about it!” Trump tweeted in August.

3. Even if there was collusion, it doesn’t matter because collusion isn’t a crime

After Trump’s early August tweet admitting he knew the meeting was to get damaging information on Clinton, his lawyers fell back on another strategy: arguing that collusion is not a crime.

“I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lead defense attorney, told Fox News in July. “Collusion is not a crime.”

Trump echoed Giuliani in a series of tweets. “Where’s the collusion? They made up a phony crime called Collusion, and when there was no Collusion they say there was Obstruction (of a phony crime that never existed),” he wrote.

“I don’t even know if that’s a crime — colluding with Russians. Hacking is the crime. The president didn’t hack. He didn’t pay for the hacking,” Giuliani also told CNN.

Rudy Giuliani is Trump'splay

Rudy Giuliani is Trump’s

(Leah Millis/Reuters)

Legal experts told Business Insider at the time that Giuliani’s claim was a “red herring.” While it is true that the word “collusion” is not a specific crime denoted in the federal code, they said that the focus is likely on whether the campaign was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the US.

“Mueller isn’t investigating ‘collusion.’ He is investigating possible coordination between the campaign and the Russians, particularly any actual crimes committed in the context of that coordination,” Bradley P. Moss, a lawyer specializing in national security issues, told Business Insider.

“Russian companies and individuals have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States as a result of their alleged acts of election interference and hacking and distribution of emails,” Harvard Law School professor and former federal prosecutor Alex Whiting said.

“If American citizens knowingly assisted these efforts, which could be described as ‘collusion,’ they could also be charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States,” he added.


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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