If you cannot shake a feeling of deja vu, you're not alone.
The president of the United States has againbeen pulled into a complex controversy over connections to Russia. Within a few weeks of speculation about Donald Trump's Russian ties falling out of the news, a New York Times report brought renewed focus to allegations Trump's presidential campaign had ties to the Russians. Further reports from CNN raised further questions about these connections and chaos at the White House. The bottom line is there is much we do not know. Similar to other stories about Trump and Russia, many questions remain unanswered - facts we cannot ascertain without a deep dive into the relationship. But these reports raise so many questions that going forward, we all have to question whether the White House is telling the truth about Russia.
Here's what we know.
Various U.S. officials say Trump's campaign talked often with the Russians. The Timesand CNN stories allege high-level Trump presidential campaign advisers were speaking to members of the Russian government prior to election day. Those conversations supposedly occurred between people like Trump's onetime campaign chairman and Russian intelligence officials.
Trump has previously faced allegations of ties between his campaign and Russia. Yet the FBI said a week before the election that months of investigation found no clear link between Trump and Russia.
Michael Flynn was speaking with top Russian officials after the election, but before Inauguration Day. It's unclear if other now-White House staff followed his lead and contacted Russian officials during the presidential transition.
Trump is livid. A series of morning tweets from the president shows deep frustration with the latest report. Not only does Trump outright deny these reports, he again attacked law enforcement sources for leaking to reporters and the way Barack Obama handled his relationship with Russia.
Sean Spicer said Tuesday there was no contact between the campaign and Russia. Hours later, these reports refuted that. When asked point blank, the press secretary offered nothing to suggest Trump campaign aides would have communicated with Russian officials.
Here's what we don't know.
Frankly, whether this is true. Both the Times and CNN stories cite unnamed sources pushing explosive allegations against the president. With consistent denials from the White House, those sources may be unable to keep the pressure up long enough to trigger congressional inquiry into alleged Trump ties with Russia. Hard evidence, through leaks Trump can't control, may be necessary to force action. Two people who were close to Trump's campaign told Mic these allegations are baseless and "total bullshit."And Russia is claiming the stories are false.
And even if the stories are true, the ?Times ?and CNN both offer major caveats about whether alleged conversations involved Trump, whether they had any influence on the election and no judgment has been reached on what these contacts mean. Further, CNN noted officials said it is not uncommon for campaigns to speak to foreign governments - though Trump campaign connections with a country hacking to influence the American election are something new.