Yesterday’s indictments of a dozen Russian government hackers revealed that they allegedly passed stolen Democratic Party emails to an unnamed Trump associate and an unnamed 2016 candidate for U.S. Congress. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein revealed that he had told Donald Trump about the indictments earlier in the week. We checked Trump’s Twitter timeline, and sure enough, it appears he gave away the identity of the Republican Congressman in question.
Smack in the middle of his overseas trip, Donald Trump suddenly decided that he needed to stop what he was doing and post this: “Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida is one of the finest and most talented people in Congress. Strong on Crime, the Border, Illegal Immigration, the 2nd Amendment, our great Military & Vets, Matt worked tirelessly on helping to get our Massive Tax Cuts. He has my Full Endorsement!” In other words, it sure sounds like Rosenstein told Trump that Gaetz was the Congressman in question, and Trump responded by publicly defending Gaetz.
Matt Gaetz was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2016, in a far-right Florida district where the incumbent Republican had retired. He was a newcomer with no real connections or notoriety, so why would the Russians choose to give their stolen into to him? This tweet from July of 2017 might explain some things:
That’s right, Matt Gaetz has a close relationship with Roger Stone, who just admitted that he’s the unnamed Trump associate referenced in the indictment. This would certainly explain why Russian hackers, who were already in close communication with Stone, would have trusted Gaetz. Robert Mueller has hauled a dozen or more Stone associates before a grand jury, making clear that Stone will be indicted. Is Mueller also in the process of indicting Gaetz? We’ll know soon enough.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report