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Why Congressman Tom Reed Should Protect the Mueller Investigation--Evidence of Collusion and Blackmail

Submitted by Robin Messing on Tue, 07/24/2018 - 6:25pm

Donald Trump's weak performance at Helsinki was so outrageous that even many of his Republican supporters have expressed outrage or at least embarrassment. Former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh was perhaps the most outraged. When you read the following series of tweets you should keep in mind that he is no Extreme Ithaca Liberal. In fact, during the 2016 campaign Walsh tweeted, "if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket". Walsh is singing a very different tune now.






It is true that while many Republicans were  critical of Trump's refusal to believe our Intelligence Community over Putin, few were as outraged as Walsh. But NY-23rd Congressman Tom Reed took a stance that was closer to the other end of the spectrum. Here is the statement he released shortly after Trump's press conference.




Before looking at his press release more closely, it is important to remember two things about Congressman Reed.  First, Reed, like most Republican politicians, had a deep distrust of Russia and was looking forward to having a president who would take a more muscular approach towards Putin than President Obama did. Here are some posts he made during his 2016 campaign on his Facebook page.  (Don't bother scrolling all the way back to 2016 to see them in the original. Reed has deleted them, but I linked to them in an earlier post and I saved snapshots for future use.)








And the second thing you should know about Reed is that he was one of Trump's earliest supporters for President. Reed announced his support in March 2016, stating, "The United States simply cannot have someone in the White House that will continue the failed foreign policy and economic agenda of Barack Obama." Trump rewarded Reed's loyalty in December by making him a Vice Chair of his transition team

Taking these two facts into consideration, my first thought upon seeing Reed's press release was, "All right--who are you and what have you done to Tom Reed?"

Reed claimed in his press release that there is "no evidence of collusion with any American" (emphasis added). Let's see if that's the case.


Evidence of Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and Russia



  1. Donald Trump continuously asked the public during the campaign to visit WikiLeaks and read e-mail and documents that he KNEW WITH CERTAINTY WERE STOLEN from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee. He SHOULD HAVE KNOWN they were stolen by Russia, but even if he didn’t, he knew they were stolen. Yet, he still mentioned WikiLeaks 164 times during the last month of the campaign. Thanks to Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian military spies, we now know that the Russians created the internet persona named Guccifer 2.0 and that Guccifer 2.0 and Organization 1 worked together to ensure that the publication of the stolen emails would have the greatest possible impact.  (See paragraphs 47 - 49 of the indictment.) Though the indictment doesn't mention WikiLeaks by name, it is obvious from the indictment that Organization 1 is indeed WikiLeaks. Paragraph 44 of the indictment says that Guccifer 2.0 had written at least three messages to "a person who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump" between August 15 and September 9, 2016. On August 21, 2016, Roger Stone tweeted "it will soon [be] the Podesta's time in a barrel".  Podesta's emails were published by WikiLeaks a month and a half after that tweet. Stone acknowledged that he was probably the unnamed person mentioned in the indictment
  2. We know that Donald Trump Jr. was in at least limited contact with WikiLeaks. We know that 15 minutes after WikiLeaks contacted him on October 12, 2016, Jr. tweeted out, "Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!" And two days later Jr. tweeted a link that WikiLeaks had given him in their October. 12 message. We also know that Jr. emailed Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Brad Parscale to inform them he was in contact with WikiLeaks.
  3. Trump asked the Russians for help by asking them to release Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails. Note the date when Trump asked Russia to release Hillary's emails--July 27, 2016. Then note the following paragraph, taken from the 22nd point of Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian hackers.   

    The Conspirators spearphished individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign throughout the summer of 2016. For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

Is it just a coincidence that the Russians attempted to spearphish these accounts apparently within hours of Donald Trump's request?




  1. Rob Goldman sent Donald Trump Jr. an email on June 3, 2016 informing him that the government of Russia was interested in giving him dirt on Hillary, to which Jr responded, "I love it".  Jr. either received a call from or made a call to a blocked phone number while he was in the middle of arranging details of the meeting with Emin Agalarov. Who was speaking with Jr from behind the blocked phone number? Jr. testified that he couldn't remember, just as he testified that he couldn't remember whether he had even talked to Agalarov or whether he had left a message on Agalarov's answering service. (Funny, Agalarov had no trouble remembering that he talked to Jr. over the phone that day) But President Trump has used a blocked phone number, which raises the question of whether Jr. was talking to his Father to fill him in on details of the proposed Trump Tower meeting. Maybe it is just a coincidence that Jr. talked to someone with a blocked number while he was negotiating the details of the Trump Tower meeting with Emin Agalarov. But is it also a coincidence that he couldn't remember whether he had even talked to Agalarov?  Or that he couldn't remember who was on the other end of the blocked phone number?  
  1. Donald Trump promised to make a “major speech” about the Clintons only hours after the Trump Tower meeting between Team Trump and Team Russia was set.  They were disappointed when it turned out the Russians came empty-handed and Donald Trump did not give that major speech. Why did Trump promise to make a major announcement about Clinton and not deliver? Was he expecting that his team would get some dirt at the Trump Tower meeting but they failed to deliver the goods? Or was this just another coincidence?
  2. Point 34 of Mueller's recent indictment against 12 Russians notes that the Russians hacked data from the Democratic National Committee's analytics in September 2016. (Analytics are the voter models the campaign uses to decide where and when to devote campaign resources.) A very astute Twitter user named Julie, who goes by the handle @resisterhood, made some remarkable observations. She noted that the Trump campaign made a major shift in how it was targeting its advertising within a few weeks of Russia’s theft of the DNC’s analytics. She retweeted a tweet that Trump campaign operative Jason Miller wrote on October 7 saying that their decision to shift campaign resources was data-driven. Julie then noted

    It's not uncommon for a candidate to make some changes wrt advertising targets in the final weeks of a campaign, but in my experience a ~25% shift because you've suddenly identified "new battlegrounds" is...not typical

    She then asked,

    Coincidence? Maybe, but we know:
    -Russia hacked DNC analytics sometime in Sept
    -Early Oct, Trump campaign abruptly redirected their ad spending, claimed changes were "data driven"
    -New ad investments were heavily in states that narrowly handed Trump the electoral college

    Julie was right to ask if this was a coincidence. But as we have seen, this is not the first coincidence.  I encourage you to read Julie's remarkable thread and the many well-reasoned responses. It is one of the best threads that I have seen on Twitter.

  1. The Moscow Project has documented 82 contacts between Team Trump and Russia-linked operatives that members of Team Trump have tried to cover up. Why the secrecy if nothing nefarious was happening? That is a LOT of contacts to be hiding.
  2. Donald Trump almost never criticizes Putin. Despite the fact that our intelligence services agree with certainty that the Russians interfered with our 2016 elections, Trump has constantly denied or minimized, the possibility of that interference. Trump seems to believe Putin’s word that Russia did not sabotage our election over the analysis of our intelligence service AND THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WHICH IS CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS. He has undermined NATO and attacked our allies in the European Union and Canada. He has made his displeasure of sanctions against Russia known. He has even hinted that he might be willing to recognize Russia’s grab of Crimea. And perhaps worst of all, in an unprecedented and universally condemned move, he considered letting Russian agents interrogate U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.  When asked if he would turn over our former Ambassador for questioning, Trump should not have just said "no". He should have said, "HELL NO, AND FUCK YOUR MOTHER!"  It is clear that Donald Trump is checking off nearly all the boxes on Vladimir Putin’s wish list.  This is not what someone who has been accused of colluding with the Russians would do if he wanted to dispel those accusations.  In fact, this is further evidence that Trump either feels like he owes something to the Russians or that the Russians have something they can use to blackmail him. It is obvious Trump does not want to PISS off Putin.
  3. Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of Russia’s Duma, bragged that U.S. intelligence (services) “slept through while Russia elected a new U.S. president."
  4. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson wrote an Affidavit In Support of an Application for a Criminal Complaint against Maria Butina.  In the 18th paragraph of his affidavit, Helson described a proposal that Butina sent to a U.S. person in March 2015. When reading the following excerpt about Butina's proposal, keep in mind that CPAC stands for Conservative Political Action Conference and GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION is obviously the NRA. Which means POLITICAL PARTY 1 has to be the Republican Party.

    The first line of the proposal reads, “Project Description ‘Diplomacy.”  It goes on to state a major U.S. political party [hereinafter “POLITICAL PARTY 1”] would likely obtain control over the U.S. government after the 2016 elections; that POLITICAL PARTY 1 is “traditionally associated with negative and aggressive foreign policy, particularly with regards to Russia. However, now with the right to negotiate seems best to build konstruktivnyh [sic] relations” and that “[c]entral place and influence in the [POLITICAL PARTY 1] plays the [GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION]. The [GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION] [is] the largest sponsor of the CPAC conference and other events.”

    Rachel Maddow asked some pointed questions about this passage during her July 16 show. (She talks about Butina between 11:03 and 16:36, especially 15:35-16:36)

    Why would somebody working for the Russian government believe in March of 2015 that the Republican Party was likely to obtain control over the U.S. government in the elections the following year in 2016? Why did she think that? Why did she think that enough to be so sure that she was going to predicate this whole influence operation over a period of years on that expected outcome? Also, why in the Spring of 2015 did she think she had the “right to negotiate”? Why would the Russian government believe in 2015 they had the right to negotiate what the positions of the Republican Party would be out of the 2016 elections?


Are ten reasons not enough to convince you of a VERY strong likelihood of collusion between Team Trump and Russia? Alright. I'm feeling generous today. I'll throw in an eleventh reason for the low, low price of ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Donald Trump was briefed on January 6, 2017 by intelligence officials with very specific information proving that the Russians had hacked the DNC and John Podesta. The New York Times reports:

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.


The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.


I encourage you to read the rest of the story. It is abundantly clear that not only did Trump know the Russians were responsible for the D.N.C. hack even before he was sworn in as President, he did everything he could to muddy the waters and cast doubt that it was indeed the Russians who hacked the D.N.C. In other words, Trump covered up for the Russians. At a minimum, that makes him an accessory after the fact. Now, maybe he covered up for the Russians because Putin had something to blackmail him with. Or maybe he covered up because acknowledging the hack would raise questions about the legitimacy of his Presidency. But for whatever reason, he covered it up.

Still not convinced? Wow! you are one tough customer. I embedded a segment from Rachel Maddow's July 16, 2018 show at the end of this article. Watch what she said between 1:36 and 3:36 or read the transcript below that. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of evidence pointing towards collusion between Team Trump and Russia. And it might not contain proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Donald Trump and his campaign illegally colluded with Russia to steal the election. But we can see a lot of smoke pouring out from behind the door leading to the mystery of the 2016 election. Whether that smoke is from fire, a smoking gun, or Puff the Magic Dragon is difficult to say. But there are just TOO MANY DAMN COINCIDENCES and things that make you go "hmmm" to dismiss the possibility that there was collusion between Team Trump and Russia. Trump seems to say or tweet "NO COLLUSION, NO COLLUSION" at least once a week. The saying "thou protesteth to much" comes to mind.



Even If There Was No Collusion Between Trump and Russia To Steal the 2016 Election . . .


It looks like Putin has something over on Donald Trump. Donald Trump looked weak next to Putin. A growing number of Americans are beginning to wonder if Putin is blackmailing Trump. It seems unlikely that the infamous pee tape mentioned in Christopher Steele's Dossier is real. But what about money laundering? Wired Magazine recently published a detailed report examining just how money laundering works.  The report concludes:

That so many of the transactions and behaviors of the Trump business empire and Michael Cohen’s empire appear to hew so closely to the well-known patterns and stages of money laundering deeply troubles [Arit] Sharma [a counter-terrorist financial expert who used to work at the Treasury Department].


“It falls into fact patterns that we’ve seen in other areas of Russian and Eastern European organized crime,” he says. “We’re staring at a government—that goes right to the top—that engages in very way of doing business and the exact same fact patterns that we set these tools up to combat. That’s mind-boggling to me.”


And if Trump did launder money it is likely that Putin has got something he can use to blackmail Trump with. Adam Davidson describes the systemic use of Kompramat (the sistema) that informally regulates both business and politics in Russia in his must-read article, "A Theory of Trump Kompramat". Keith Darden, an international-relations professor at American University, told Davidson that Russia is a "blackmail state". Davidson writes:

The scenario that, to my mind, makes the most sense of the given facts and requires the fewest fantastical leaps is that, a decade or so ago, Trump, naïve, covetous, and struggling for cash, may have laundered money for a business partner from the former Soviet Union or engaged in some other financial crime. This placed him, unawares, squarely within sistema, where he remained, conducting business with other members of a handful of overlapping Central Asian networks. Had he never sought the Presidency, he may never have had to come to terms with these decisions. But now he is much like everyone else in sistema. He fears there is kompromat out there—maybe a lot of it—but he doesn’t know precisely what it is, who has it, or what might set them off.


Trump and many of his defenders have declared his businesses, including those in the former Soviet Union, to be off-limits to the Mueller investigation. They argue that the special counsel should focus only on the possibility of explicit acts of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This neatly avoids the reality of sistema. As Pavlovsky wrote, “Under Putin, sistema has become a method for making deals among businesses, powerful players, and the people. Business has not taken over the state, nor vice versa; the two have merged in a union of total and seamless corruption.”


Has Donald Trump laundered money for the Russians? Is that why he won't release his taxes? Something just doesn't seem right. And it is not just Americans who think so. Even some commentators on Russian state TV have questioned Trump's strange performance at Helsinki. One host on the Russian show, "60 Minutes" remarked, "It is very bizarre, you can’t bash your own country like that – especially when you’re the president." To which co-host Olga Skabeeva replied, "When Trump says our relations are bad because of American foolishness and stupidity, he really smells like an agent of the Kremlin" (Translation provided by Rusian media analyst, Julia Davis). Davis wrote a detailed article that looked at Russians bragging about stealing the election or owning Trump. It is well worth reading.


If Donald Trump did, in fact, help Russians launder money and if Putin does, in fact, have dirt he can use to blackmail Trump, then the American people need to know about it. Our national security may depend on our knowing about it. And the only way we will be able to find out if such blackmail material exists is if Robert Mueller is allowed to continue his investigation undisturbed. Why Tom Reed, who took such a courageous stance in opposing Russian aggression in 2016, would want to shut down an investigation that could uncover evidence of material that Putin could use to blackmail our President, is beyond me.


Why the Hurry?


The FBI opened its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016. Mueller was not appointed special prosecutor until May 2017. So this investigation is a bit over a year old to two years old, depending on how you count it.

Vox reports that Mueller “has either indicted or gotten guilty pleas from 32 people and three companies --that we know of

By contrast, the Benghazi investigation lasted over two and a half years and returned no indictments. This contrast is even more striking when you consider the Mueller investigation is facing challenges not faced by the Benghazi investigation. It is FAR more complex, involving hundreds of actors involved in events over a much longer timeline and a much greater geographical area. Many of the actors have, shall we say, been less than forthcoming in telling us about the roles they have played. The Watergate investigation has taught us to "follow the money", but following the money is extremely difficult with the complex web of shell companies and contracts using pseudonyms that Donald Trump and Michael Cohen have used, apparently to hide the money trail. And certain Republicans appear to be doing all that they can to interfere with or derail Mueller’s investigation.

Considering all the complexities and the obstacles the Mueller investigation has faced, it has been remarkably productive. Even Trey Gowdy, who joins Reed in wanting to shut the Mueller investigation down quickly, acknowledges that the investigation is not a witch hunt.

So why the hurry to shut the investigation down? Reed claims shutting down the investigation "will restore faith in our democratic electoral process." But Reed is delusional if he thinks shutting down the investigation will bring the country together. A VERY substantial portion of the population thinks Trump either colluded with the Russians or Putin has dirt that he is using to blackmail Trump. Shutting down the investigation prematurely will only make it look like Trump and his Republican supporters have something to hide.  There are over 900 rallies scheduled across the country if the Mueller investigation is shut down. (See rally plans here). The ONLY way this country has a chance to heal is if Mueller's investigation exonerates Trump of wrongdoing. If Reed truly believes that Trump has done nothing seriously wrong then it is hard to undrstand why he thinks shutting down the investigation will do more to calm the nation down than letting the investigation proceed to its natural conclusion


Advice To Tom Reed (And Others Trying To Kill The Mueller Investigation)


Former REPUBLICAN Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wrote wise words that Tom Reed should heed. This was written before Mueller indicted 12 Russians military spies for hacking into the DNC, before Trump's disgraceful performance at Helsinki, and before Russian spy Maria Butina was arrested for using the NRA as a conduit to infiltrate and influence high ranking Republican officials without registering as a foreign agent. These words were important then--they are even more important now.


I’m a Republican because I stand for small government and also, as a physician, for the dignity of every life. But I am also a Republican because I believe in the rule of law. Republicans must fight for that principle today — even if it means pushing back against a Republican administration. As a party, we can’t let the president or his allies erode the independence of the Justice Department or public trust in the vital work of law enforcement. That would be true even if the stakes were much lower, but it is overwhelmingly so when it comes to investigating foreign interference in our elections. Congress must ensure that Mueller is able to do his job without interference or intimidation. . . .


It isn’t easy to tell a president of your own party that he is wrong. But the assault on Mueller’s investigation does not help the president or his party. When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide. The president must remember that only Mueller’s exoneration can lift the cloud hanging over the White House.

The special counsel’s investigation is not about Trump. It is about our national security. Every American should be rooting for Mueller’s success in determining precisely how Russia interfered in our fundamental democratic process. I had no illusions about the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and I have none about Putin now. Mueller’s most recent court filings indicate that Putin is seeking to meddle in this year’s elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray — all Trump appointees confirmed by the Republican-led Senate — have also warned of foreign interference. We should heed these warnings and empower Mueller to see his important work through to its conclusion.


George Will, a lifelong conservative pundit and DEFINITELY NOT an Extreme Ithaca Liberal, wrote this about Trump's performance in Helsinki.

Like the purloined letter in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story with that title, collusion with Russia is hiding in plain sight. We shall learn from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation whether in 2016 there was collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign. The world, however, saw in Helsinki something more grave — ongoing collusion between Trump, now in power, and Russia. The collusion is in what Trump says (refusing to back the United States’ intelligence agencies) and in what evidently went unsaid (such as: You ought to stop disrupting Ukraine, downing civilian airliners, attempting to assassinate people abroad using poisons, and so on, and on).


Will concluded his article by observing

The explanation is in doubt; what needs to be explained — his compliance [with Putin] — is not.  . . .  But just as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.




Perhaps we shouldn't judge Congressman Reed too harshly if he has been un unable to see any evidence of collutson. I listed 10 pieces of evidence--plus one bonus piece--that point towards collusion. But if Reed only focused on one or two of these pieces he might not have seen enough of a pattern to conclude that which is obvious to someone who has been looking at the bigger picture. It is highly unlikely that Reed was aware that Russians were bragging of controling Trump or stealing the election (point 9) And when he issued his "no collusion" press, release Reed was certainly unaware that before he was inaugurated, Donald Trump had been given a detailed, specific intelligence briefing that Putin had personally approved a cyberhacking campaign in order to get Trump elected (bonus point). That information didn't come out until after his Reed issued his "no collusion" press release, so Reed should be excused for not knowing about this. But I will be sending a link to this article to the Reed campaign and I will tweet links to this article to Reed and his assistant, Nick Weinstein. If Reed does not change his mind and support the Mueller investigation then voters will be left to wonder why. Is it possible that either Trump or Putin have dirt on Reed? Have rich donors told Reed they will support him only as long as he backs Trump? I suspect we will get answers to these questions around the same time that we get to see Trump's tax returns.



Bonus Videos



This is the July 16, 2017 Rachel Maddow video quoted above. If you don't have time to watch the entire video, then at least watch the first three and a half minutes of it,paying particularly close attention starting at 1:36 (An excerpt from the transcript is below the video). Maddow asks a series of questions that all point towards collusion.




But let me just say on this of all days, here`s why we have covered this story so intensely. Since it first became clear that there was something wrong and illicit and unexplained about the relationship between this particular foreign adversary and the unlikely rise of this unlikely politician who shocked everyone by winning the last U.S. presidential election – I mean, there was no explicable reason why as a presidential candidate, he would step with such excruciating care to avoid ever saying anything remotely negative or critical about Russia and its president.

There was no explicable reason why he would dig out of the vault a campaign chairman who had not worked in American politics for more than a generation but he had spent more than the past decade doing Vladimir Putin`s political bidding overseas in the former Soviet Union. There was no explicable reason to name a guy quite recently and quite literally caught up in a Russian spy ring in New York as one of his five foreign policy advisers, when this is a guy nobody had ever, ever heard of. There was no explicable reason to keep secret the fact that he did in fact have pending business deals in Russia during the campaign.

I mean, from a man who loves to brag about even the smallest and most unimpressive business endeavors, right, his stakes, his vodka, his terrible wine, right, there was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t brag that on the day of one of the early Republican presidential primary debates, that very day, he had signed a letter of intent to build the tallest building in Russia. There was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t admit to that.

There was no explicable reason why the Trump campaign would intervene in the Republican Party`s national platform to make it more pro-Russia and then cover up their tracks and deny that they`d had anything to do with it. There was no explicable reason why so many Russians attended the Trump inauguration. There was no explicable reason why he surprised everyone by inviting the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador into the Oval Office with no notice, no U.S. media and apparently no limit on his willingness to disclose to those Russian officials codeword level intelligence from our closest foreign allies.

There was no explicable reason for any of those things, unless you were willing to believe the worst. And honestly, who wants to believe the worst.




And here is a video of Katy Tur interviewing Tom Reed about Donald Trump's Helsinki performance.




Update 7/29/19: I sent a link to this article to Tom Reed via his online contact form. I also tweeted links to his Twitter account as well as to the account of  his campaign manager, Nick Weinstein. Here is the reply I received on July 27.




As you can see, it is a form letter, and not a particularly complete form letter. It mentions the indictment of 12 Russian citizens--that would be referring to Mueller's indictment of 12 Russians for hacking the DNC and Podesta computers andfor  publishing the material via Guccifer 2.0, DC Leaks, and WikiLeaks. It does not mention the earlier indictment of 13 Russians and the Internet Research Agency for conducting a campaign on social meda to manipulate American voters. Nor does it mention the indictment of Russian spy, Maria Butina. Though it wasn't Mueller who actually indicted Butina, her indictment suggests there is much more to uncover in discovering how Russia has illegally influenced our elections and our politics.

Update 8/5/18: Donald Trump just admitted that the purpose of the infamous Trump Tower meeting was to get dirt on Hillary Clinton. Everyone with an IQ above a houseplant already knew that this was the reason for the meeting, but it is amazing to see that Trump would admit it.