Jill Stein's campaign objects to Senate request for some Russia documents

The presidential campaign of 2016 Green Party candidate ...

Posted: May 1, 2018 9:52 AM
Updated: May 1, 2018 9:52 AM

The presidential campaign of 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein told CNN on Monday she has objected to turning over some documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee related to the campaign's contacts and discussions related to Russia.

Stein's campaign provided some documents last month as part the Senate committee's Russia probe, but the campaign objected to several requests as overly broad and infringing on "constitutionally protected materials," according to a letter from Stein's attorney, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Washington-based Partnership for Civil Justice.

The Green Party candidate provided documents related to communications with officials tied to Russian media organizations and the Kremlin, as well as documents related to Stein's 2015 trip to Moscow for the RT dinner that was also attended by both former Trump administration aide Michael Flynn and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the campaign objected to the committee's request for communications with "Russian persons, or representatives of Russian government, media, or business interests," arguing it was broadly targeting the communications of people "because they happen to be Russian immigrants or of Russian dissent."

In an interview with CNN Monday, Stein said she felt the investigation into her campaign was "completely unjustified," but she said she was willing to cooperate with the panel's questions about election interference -- not when the committee infringed on her campaign's civil liberties.

"We thought that where requests were made that violated basic constitutional protections, that wasn't a good idea, not for anybody, and we did not want to be part of setting a precedent that intrudes further on our civil liberties," Stein said. "Legitimate concerns about interference in our election should not be twisted into a campaign of censorship, war-mongering and political intimidation against opposition to the bipartisan establishment."

Stein has been connected to the Senate panel's investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling in part because of her appearance at a now-infamous dinner that was hosted by RT, the Russian television network. Flynn, President Donald Trump's former national security adviser who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, was sitting at a table with Putin at the dinner -- along with Stein.

The Green Party candidate also praised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2016 after WikiLeaks posted a trove of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, saying there was "no question" he was a hero.

The intelligence community and congressional panels investigating Russia's election meddling have concluded that the Kremlin was behind the hacking and facilitated the dissemination of the DNC emails as well as the hacked emails of former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Online trolls from the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency used social media to promote Stein's candidacy during the 2016 campaign, according to an indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller against the Russian organization and 13 of its employees. The Russians' pro-Stein efforts included paid advertisements on Facebook that explicitly encouraged Americans to vote for Stein, according to the indictment.

But it was Stein's presence at the 2015 dinner that initially generated questions about whether the Kremlin was also seeking to prop up the third-party campaign.

Stein has argued that the event received no US press coverage anyway, and said the photo with her, Flynn and Putin was "extremely misleading." She didn't speak to Putin at the dinner, she said, and spoke no more than a "few innocuous words" to Flynn, who was not "interested in her elevator pitch."

"The Green Party's agenda hasn't really changed," Stein said. "Our stuff was all about nuclear weapons, the need for disarmament, the need for the US to participate in the new UN treaty" on nuclear weapons.

Stein has not been accused of wrongdoing or colluding with the Russians. But her political views often align with the Kremlin and mirror talking points heard on Russian state TV: She claims the American political system is rigged, opposes the notion of American exceptionalism, is a vocal critic of US military operations overseas and downplays the impact of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In November, the Senate Intelligence Committee sent Stein's campaign a letter requesting documents in the panel's Russia probe, which is still ongoing. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said that the committee was seeking to learn whether there was "collusion with the Russians."

"I said at the beginning we would look at all the campaigns and possible collusion by any campaign," Burr said.

Verheyden-Hilliard said the campaign did provide documents detailing communications with representatives of the Russian government and media organizations, but that the committee's larger request amounted to "a hunt for identification of persons based on nationality or descent."

The campaign also would not provide the committee documents related to the campaign's policy discussions involving Russia, writing in its response that the committee's request "intrudes on political and associational privacy rights established by the First Amendment," Verheyden-Hilliard wrote.

Stein says that the material turned over was "completely trivial," such as scheduling the timing for interviews with RT. She said the campaign also provided evidence that it paid in full for Stein's 2015 trip to Moscow.

Stein's campaign said that it did not have any records of communications with Fusion GPS or Christopher Steele, the ex-British intelligence agent who compiled the opposition research dossier on Trump and Russia, nor did it have records of communication with WikiLeaks related to disseminating information about the 2016 election.

A spokeswoman for Burr did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the committee's top Democrat, declined to comment.

Verheyden-Hilliard said that since the campaign sent its letter to the committee last month, there have been ongoing discussions about the document request, and a handful of additional material has since been provided.

Stein said Mueller's team has not contacted her.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31257

Reported Deaths: 1114
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds253640
DeSoto162016
Madison131434
Jones112849
Neshoba99271
Rankin95112
Harrison93311
Lauderdale91079
Forrest87842
Scott77315
Jackson63816
Copiah60715
Washington5919
Leake57819
Holmes55741
Lee55219
Wayne54513
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51618
Yazoo5136
Lowndes49413
Leflore49151
Grenada4905
Lincoln46634
Lamar4657
Pike44112
Monroe40330
Sunflower4008
Lafayette3934
Attala36123
Covington3595
Panola3526
Bolivar34014
Newton3399
Simpson3233
Adams31318
Pontotoc2926
Tate28810
Marion28411
Chickasaw27918
Claiborne27910
Noxubee2678
Winston2666
Jasper2636
Pearl River25732
Clay25111
Marshall2343
Smith21811
Union2109
Clarke20724
Walthall2045
Coahoma2016
Kemper17914
Lawrence1782
Yalobusha1737
Carroll16611
Humphreys1509
Tallahatchie1374
Itawamba1368
Montgomery1352
Calhoun1324
Tippah13111
Hancock13013
Webster12710
Jefferson Davis1124
Jefferson1083
Prentiss1083
Greene1058
Tunica1053
Wilkinson949
Amite912
George893
Tishomingo831
Quitman780
Choctaw744
Alcorn712
Perry674
Stone651
Franklin452
Benton380
Sharkey380
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 45263

Reported Deaths: 1007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5410152
Montgomery4158103
Mobile4129134
Tuscaloosa232142
Marshall172410
Madison14917
Lee141137
Shelby133423
Morgan11215
Walker97824
Elmore94314
Franklin89814
Baldwin8949
Dallas8919
Etowah75013
DeKalb7375
Chambers64227
Butler63428
Autauga61012
Tallapoosa60569
Russell5650
Houston5074
Unassigned50323
Limestone5010
Lauderdale4966
Lowndes47221
Cullman4594
Pike4375
Colbert4086
St. Clair4022
Escambia3966
Coffee3812
Calhoun3765
Covington3707
Bullock36910
Barbour3532
Talladega3177
Hale31421
Marengo31211
Dale2990
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Jackson2842
Clarke2776
Winston2633
Chilton2522
Blount2431
Monroe2392
Pickens2366
Marion23313
Conecuh2107
Randolph2099
Macon1999
Choctaw19512
Bibb1941
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1117
Lawrence1100
Cherokee1027
Geneva830
Lamar781
Fayette711
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne381
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather