Others say: More questions to ask

Posted: November 9, 2017 at 2:57 a.m.

For the past week, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates have been under house arrest following their indictment by special counsel Robert Mueller III. A campaign staffer with contacts linked to the Kremlin is now cooperating with Mueller's probe into election interference. The Justice Department may bring charges against Russian officials responsible for the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Despite President Donald Trump's best efforts, it's increasingly apparent that the White House is not going to be able to brush off the mounting evidence of Kremlin meddling.

The charges against Manafort and Gates don't concern election interference--though normally a campaign chairman's having laundered $75 million, much of it from pro-Kremlin political actors, would be scandal enough. Far more damning is the account of campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who appears to have been providing Mueller's team with information for months. After meeting a Kremlin-linked professor, Papadopoulos learned that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.

By The Post's count, nine of Trump's associates had direct contact with Russian officials during the campaign and presidential transition. This includes former foreign policy adviser Carter Page. It also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who reportedly rejected Papadopoulos' pitch for a Trump-Putin meeting but is facing renewed scrutiny of his congressional testimony.

It is beyond dispute that the Russian government sought to help the Trump campaign and that some campaign officials were open to overtures from Russia. The question is how far that cooperation went and who on the campaign was aware of it. Did Papadopoulos mention the Kremlin's trove of Clinton's emails during the meeting with Trump and Sessions, for example? The president's tweeted declarations of "NO COLLUSION!" are not sufficient.

Editorial on 11/09/2017