The most respectable conspiracy theory in Washington

Almost a year later, the Russia investigation has still proven nothing about collusion

Souvenirs in Moscow.
(Image credit: MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A year into Donald Trump's presidency, with the end of Robert Mueller's painstaking investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election nowhere in sight, I have a confession to make.

On multiple occasions over the last several years I have attended private meetings with individuals who are members of a Moscow-based international organization that opposes gay marriage, the European Union, globalism, and secularism. Also present at some of these meetings were right-leaning journalists, heads of think tanks, and even federal officials. Over drinks — sometimes, yes, vodka — and cigarettes, political issues were discussed, the Obama administration roundly criticized, and at least once there was a long conversation about Russian intelligence. Between meetings I communicated via email and Twitter with these individuals, who were based for a time in Australia, where both were involved in politics and even lobbying. On more than one occasion I was responsible for ensuring that payments in the four-figure range were made into the bank account of one of the individuals. A few months before the first of the above encounters, I met Trump himself at a D.C. hotel. At a later meeting, the individual I had been compensating appeared at another meeting in Manhattan with prominent social conservatives at which she made arguments on behalf of Trump. A few months later he was president.

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