Allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia have already prompted multiple congressional investigations, dozens of targets and witnesses, and resulted in four indictments—with more likely to come.
…It has also turned up several peripheral characters whose motivations remain a source of curiosity, among them former Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who Senator Richard Burr confirmed on Monday is being investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee for her role in the 2016 election.
…Stein, who received enough votes to tip the scales for Trump in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, has long been a source of frustration among Democrats—and, for some, an object of suspicion. . In 2015, she attended a gala in Moscow hosted by RT, the state-sponsored Russian media outlet, alongside Trump’s former national security adviser Mike Flynn, whose contacts with Russian officials are at the center of Mueller’s probe. Both sat at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s table during the event. Three months earlier, Stein met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Her running mate, Ajamu Baraka, has echoed Russian talking points about the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which U.S. intelligence sources believe was shot down by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. (Stein herself has suggested that Russia was entitled to invade Ukraine, that NATO should leave Russia alone, and that the overthrow of former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych was a C.I.A. coup.) During the campaign, Stein made multiple appearances on RT.
…Could Russia have been encouraging Stein’s third-party campaign, too, even if there was no collusion? It’s a question around which Burr, a Republican, has found common cause with Democrats. If Stein, wittingly or unwittingly, helped to derail Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, the Senate Intelligence Committee would like to know why.