The Slatest

Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: Report Says RNC Delegate Was Told Trump Requested Russia-Friendly Platform Tweak

Paul Manafort at the RNC.
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 17, 2016. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same.

It’s clear that Russia sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign and helped Donald Trump’s. It’s it’s clear that the Trump campaign was willing to meet with Russians who were offering their government’s support. And it’s clear that the Trump campaign/transition team wanted to form something of an alliance in Russia upon taking office. What’s missing from this collusion sandwich still is the meat: Evidence that Team Trump took certain positions in explicit exchange for Russia’s help. On that front, an NPR report about a small but Russia-friendly change to the Republican National Committee’s platform is intriguing. The change itself—eliminating a call to arm anti-Russian forces in Ukraine—has been discussed in the context of Russia/Trump intrigue nearly since it was made, but NPR has new detail on who (allegedly) pushed for it: Trump himself.

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Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform. … Denman has told people she spoke with Gordon, a national security aide on the Trump campaign, at the Republican convention in Cleveland last year. Gordon identified himself as a representative with the Trump campaign and informed her he had phoned “New York” about the Ukraine proposal, in Denman’s account.
She followed up by asking with whom Gordon had spoken. And, more than once, Gordon replied he had discussed the issue with Trump.

Gordon denies it. But Denman is apparently going to tell her side of the story soon to House and Senate investigators—and, one presumes, to Robert Mueller (if she hasn’t already).

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Today’s meter level is unchanged, given that the account above, however suggestive, is thirdhand.

Impeach-O-Meter: 50 percent
Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images, and Peter Parks-Pool/Getty Images.
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