Republican National Committee top staffer resigns as Trump-Russia “RNC donations” scandal explodes

Earlier today it was revealed that Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort took notes during the campaign’s meeting with Russian government reps during the meeting, and that his notes implied Russia would provide illegal donations to the Republican National Committee. Just as that news was breaking, The chief of staff for the Republican National Committee abruptly resigned.

Manafort’s notes from the Trump-Russia meeting have surfaced, and according to NBC News, he wrote down “RNC” and “donations” adjacent to each other (link). This suggests – at the least – that the Kremlin used the meeting to offer to funnel money to the Republican National Committee. Just ten minutes before this story was published, it was separately reported elsewhere that RNC Chief of Staff Sara Armstrong has resigned.

There is not yet any specific evidence that Armstrong’s resignation is a result of the “RNC donations” scandal. However, if this is a coincidence, it’s a remarkable one. It would have been customary for NBC News to call the RNC for comment shortly before its story was published, meaning that the RNC likely knew its publication was imminent. Politico (link) is reporting on her abrupt exit, and no reason is being given for it. According to the Republican Party’s official website, Armstrong took the job in early 2015, a few months before the 2016 presidential election cycle got underway (link). She’s not the only major RNC departure.

According to the Politico story, this is the sixth RNC staffer to resign in the past month. That timeframe is notable because precisely one months ago, the RNC told its staffers to preserve all documents from the 2016 election (link), ostensibly under the expectation that those documents will eventually become evidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal. The RNC issued this edict almost immediately after Donald Trump forced Reince Priebus to resign as his White House Chief of Staff. During the election, Priebus had been RNC Chairman.

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