WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION?
We know beyond any reasonable doubt that agents of the Russian government actively interfered in the 2016 Presidential election by (1) creating a team of internet trolls to bias google searches, (2) hacking into American servers and stealing private information, and (3) by carefully selected stolen information at critical points in the campaign … all with the intention of ensuring that Donald Trump would win the election. We know all this because every single intelligence agency in the federal government examined the data and agreed that these things are true.
We know beyond any reasonable doubt that multiple members of the Trump campaign had multiple contacts with Russian agents in the months leading up to the election. We also know that Donald Trump asked the Russians to continue stealing and releasing information damning to his opponent and her campaign.
We know beyond any reasonable doubt that members of the Trump campaign have repeatedly lied about their relationships with Russian agents. We know this because they were eventually force to admit as much as evidence came to light the they had in fact been meeting with agents of the Russian government.
WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED?
First, there is the question of the nature and extent of the Russian government’s interference in the election of the American president. The American people have a right to know the extent to which the election was corrupted by a foreign power. They also have the right to know what their government is going to do about it.
Second, there is the question of the nature and extent of the Trump campaign’s involvement in that interference. The old saying is, “It looks like duck, sounds like a duck, smells like a duck … hey, maybe it’s a duck!” Or, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet would say, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” Maybe there is no relationship. Not everything that looks like a duck really is a duck. But the American people have the right to know whether their President or his people conspired with a foreign power to help him win the election.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
Congress should appoint an independent special prosecutor to conduct an in-depth investigation into the nature and extent of the Russian government’s attempt to put into the Presidency the candidate of their choice, and into the nature and extent of the Trump campaign’s involvement in that attempt.
Congressional Democrats have demanded that Congress appoint exactly such an independent special prosecutor to conduct exactly such an investigation. The Republicans, who control both Houses of Congress, have refused.
Under increasing pressure, however, they have grudgingly allowed for investigations by the intelligence committees in both houses. This is inadequate. Here’s why: (1) it makes the investigation entirely political, amounting to Republicans investigating Republicans, something unlikely to engender confidence in the American people; (2) it makes the investigation and its results classified, allowing the Republicans to control what parts of the investigation’s results are made known to the public, again something not likely to engender confidence in the American people.
Here’s the obvious question: Why are the Republicans REFUSING to let an independent investigation take place?
WHAT ABOUT THE MYTHICAL WIRETAPS?
President’s Trump’s tweets accusing President Obama of tapping phones lines in Trump Tower, a crime that, were it true, would be on par with the Watergate affair that forced Nixon to resign, is an intentional distraction designed to muddy the waters. If there is anything there to pursue (everybody who should know has stated categorically that it did not happen), then it should be folded into a larger investigation of the Russian attempt to throw the election to Trump, and the communications between the Trump campaign and Russian agents, which is why there would have been a wiretap, if there was one at all, which it appears increasingly certain there was not.
I do think, however, the President Trump owes his predecessor an apology for publicly slandering him.