Setting aside the fact that his campaign was crawling with Russian contacts – that he vetted no one and that his campaign manager was millions of dollars in hock to a Russian oligarch – it’s not as if Trump’s own behavior during the campaign wasn’t suspicious.
Obviously the first thing was his uncharacteristic unwillingness to criticize Vladimir Putin – a privilege he has extended to no one else but members of his own family to this day.
This stood out at the time and was remarked upon by all of us who were watching the campaign unfold.
It looks even more dubious in retrospect.
He stood alone among all the candidates of both parties in his unusual admiration for the Russian president.
Mueller has also been asking people if Trump has ever met Putin — which is a reasonable question – since Trump has been all over the map on the topic.
For instance on May 5 2016 — about three weeks after Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos learned that Russia had possession of a boatload of Clinton emails and was drunkenly spilling the beans to Australian diplomats — Trump was asked by Bret Baier of Fox News if he’d ever spoken to Vladimir Putin.
‘Yeah I have no comment on that’ he responded.
When Baier pressed him Trump said: ‘Yeah but I don’t want to comment because let’s assume I did.
Perhaps it was personal.
You know I don’t want to hurt his confidence.
But I know Russia well’.