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Wed Nov 2, 2016, 04:41 PM

Forget conspiracy theories. This is why Trumpís Russian connection is actually a problem.

(emphases my own)

In the past 12 hours, a flurry of stories have come out on Donald Trumpís links to Russia. One such story, at Slate, suggests that a server owned by Trump has been communicating with a Russian bank with ties to the Kremlin. Another, at Mother Jones, quotes an unnamed former intelligence officer claiming that Trump is a Russian operative, one who has been "compromised" by Moscow "for at least 5 years."

These stories are overblown, for reasons my colleagues Matt Yglesias and Timothy Lee explain rather well. Cybersecurity experts believe the server in question is most likely sending spam emails from Trump hotels, not secret missives to Russian handlers, and the FBI has found no credible evidence that Trump has direct ties to Russian intelligence.

The problem with these stories isnít just that theyíre speculative. Itís that they obscure and even discredit the more sober evidence about Trumpís troubling attitude toward the Russian state.

There is basically conclusive evidence that Russia is interfering in the US election, and that this interference has been designed to damage Hillary Clintonís campaign. There is strong evidence linking Trumpís foreign policy advisers to Russia, and Trumpís stated policy ideas are extremely favorable to Russian interests.

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