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

The presidential campaign of 2016 Green Party candidate ...

Posted: May 1, 2018 10:52 AM
Updated: May 1, 2018 10:52 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 115833

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook753063519
Lake7933281
DuPage7460350
Kane6083167
Will5356268
Winnebago209153
McHenry148870
St. Clair105077
Kankakee83644
Kendall75119
Rock Island63923
Champaign5957
Madison54557
Boone42416
DeKalb3704
Sangamon34328
Randolph2674
Jackson25610
McLean21613
Ogle2002
Stephenson1992
Macon19219
Peoria1918
Out of IL1831
Clinton18017
Union1519
Unassigned1490
LaSalle14113
Whiteside13412
Iroquois1314
Coles12313
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox960
Grundy952
Monroe9311
McDonough847
Lee791
Tazewell704
Cass690
Henry670
Williamson602
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin442
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion381
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Menard190
Mason180
Washington180
Woodford182
Hancock160
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Robinson
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Indianapolis
Overcast
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Rockville
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Casey
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Brazil
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Marshall
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 66°
Showers Early, Cooler
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events