The Trump administration has been struggling with several Russian scandals as of late. In the last month, the administration has dealt with several allegations, some of which were true, which could lead to political and legal consequences.
In the last three weeks Trump has dealt with two high-ranking officials who’ve lied to having contact with Russian officials.
Michael Flynn, Trump’s top security adviser, resigned in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence after he made calls to the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A day after this took place, CNN learned, from multiple officials, that high-level advisers in Trump’s administration were in constant communication with Russians, during the campaign period.
Following the Flynn debacle, was the revelation of Jeff Sessions, the newly-appointed attorney general, who had contact with Ambassador Kislyak throughout Trump’s campaign as well.
Sessions spoke with Kislyak in July and September when he was also still a Senator and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. On March 1, Sessions released a statement saying he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
Justices officials confirmed Sessions meetings with Kislyak but was in his capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee panel, not to discuss the Trump Campaign. Sessions did recused himself from the Russia investigation. While Trump, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and many Republican members of Congress said there was no reason for Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation.
According to recent polls, the public is still looking for answers concerning Russia’s involvement in the U.S. elections, and if there has been any contact between Russia and the Trump administration.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was released asking Americans if they believe that Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is “too friendly” or not. 38 percent called the Trump-Putin relationship “too friendly” while 29 percent believed it wasn’t. And around 32 percent, didn’t have an opinion.
Throughout all of this Trump has continually changed his stance when it comes to his relationship with Russia. He has claimed to know Putin “very well” but doesn’t actually “know Putin”. Trump has also claimed to have “nothing to do with Russia,” while his son has said “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets” and “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
He has also repeatedly denied the Russian connection, calling it a “witch hunt” and “fake news”. He also has called out Democrats for meeting with Russian officials as well and called for investigations.
According to the New York Times, part of the problem is Trump’s antagonistic personality towards the press. “In fact, vigorous reporting by multiple news media organizations is turning up multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Mr. Putin’s government. There have been courtesy calls, policy discussions and business contacts, though nothing has emerged publicly indicating anything more sinister. A dossier of allegations on Trump-Russia contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence agent for Mr. Trump’s political opponents, includes unproven claims that his aides collaborated in Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets.”
With the extensive contacts, its drew concern of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials due to the timing of the Russian cyberactivities in the Democratic Party political organization.
After the election, the intelligence community began briefings on Russian meddling in the U.S. elections which included communications that had ties with Trump.
Because there was so many conversations with the Trump administration and Russian officials during the DNC hacking, intelligence officals had to check out whether or not the Trump administration was guilty of anything. And with Trump being less than forthcoming about his contacts with Russia the media and intelligence community have had to dig deep to uncover what actually happened.
For more information:
The New York Times:
Trump Team’s Links to Russia Crisscross in Washington