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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

With the Mueller probe over, maybe Trump & Co. can explain Russia contacts

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2017.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Susan Walsh

Whatever salient findings remain to be disclosed from special counsel Robert Mueller's official report, those who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign might wish to answer a few nonlegal questions for accountability's sake.

In his former role as CIA director, Trump's current secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, called WikiLeaks a "hostile intelligence service." But during the campaign, when the Julian Assange website was releasing hacked emails belonging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump crowed: "I love WikiLeaks!"

Would help from hackers, Russian or otherwise, be greeted with open arms again if they came the president's way? How might the administration react if the Chinese government lets loose with embarrassing data against either side?

The prosecution of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is complete.

Will those new to the president's 2020 effort use the case to determine — to their own satisfaction — just why Manafort and associate Rick Gates were trafficking in political data with Konstantin Kilimnik, who's allegedly tied to Russian intelligence agencies?

They must be a little curious.

If Donald Trump Jr. receives an email from a friend promising "dirt" on the opposition from Russian prosecutors, will he respond again by saying, "If it's what you say it is, I love it," and go forward with a campaign meet-and-greet with non-Americans?

Was that a beginner's mistake, or a mistake at all?

It seems unlikely that the Vladimir Putin regime would muster unbridled enthusiasm for Trump's re-election. American sanctions remain in place. The United States has weapons deals with Russia's adversary Ukraine.

For his part, Putin keeps its military alliance with Iran in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Trump gave conflicting reasons for dismissing James Comey as FBI director after keeping him in the post. Which do Trump and ex-Attorney General Jeff Sessions now say was the real story? Was this episode considered in the part of the special counsel's report regarding the prospect of obstruction?

What was wrong with Trump's own vetting process or judgment that he held such long relationships with indicted Roger Stone and convicted Michael Cohen?

Having ranted and objected emotionally for two years about a legally authorized investigation, will the president propose to change the rules surrounding an attorney general’s recusal? Would Congress go along?

There is still plenty to fill in now that the biggest criminal cases are presumed to be in the rearview mirror.

Maybe someone wishes to volunteer a few explanations just in the name of transparency and public enlightenment.

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