Russia Probe

Since the November election, Democrats have chased after a supposed connection between President Trump and Russia. Some Democrats believe this is simply Russian support of Trump’s presidency while others go so far as to say that the Trump campaign team colluded directly with Russian officials, and Russia directly intruded into the 2016 presidential election.

The Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller on May 17 as special counsel to investigate Russia’s involvement in U.S. politics. On June 14th, the Washington Post reported that Trump was being investigated by Mueller for obstruction of justice. The NSA (National Security Agency) said that they would “fully cooperate with the special counsel”.

Democrats were thrilled with the news, while Republicans continued to tire of the ongoing investigation and lack of evidence.

On July 19, Trump warned Mueller about probing into his family’s personal financial history. Trump reminded Mueller about the focus of the investigation, saying, “Look, this is about Russia.” The next day, Mueller went ahead to investigate Trump’s previous business arrangements in the hopes of finding more information.

Mueller also interviewed Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and James Woosley. All were more than willing to answer questions, none of which provided any evidence for collusion.

Republicans themselves are not viewing Mueller’s Russian probe as beneficial to the Russian inquiries. Republican Senator John Cornyn from Texas sought to justify Republicans not basing inquiry timelines on Mueller’s investigation. He explained that the two processes are “really apples and oranges”.

It has been uncovered that Michael Flynn, previous National Security Advisor for President Trump, pled guilty on December 1 to lying to federal investigators about a conversation with the then Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. While the conversation was legal, the lying to federal investigators was not.

In the conversation he urged Russia to delay or vote against a UN Security Council resolution which condemned Israeli settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Jared Kushner apparently told Flynn to converse with the Russian ambassador in order to influence Russia’s vote. Russia, in turn, has responded by saying their vote was in no way affected by Flynn.

GOP leaders are confident that little of significance will continue to come out of Mueller’s probe. Senator Cornyn went on to relate, “Once we feel like we’ve exhausted all of our leads and figure out what Russia is up to and who is involved – when we complete our task, I wouldn’t tie it to Mueller’s investigation.” He, like many other Republicans, is skeptical that any relevant information will be revealed by Mueller.

Democrats, on the other hand, are motivating Mueller to continue his investigation in the hopes of disclosing dirt on either Donald Trump or his campaign team and cabinet.

Republicans are hoping to sweep the issue under the carpet in time for it to blow over in the public’s eyes by the 2018 midterm elections. Democrats, in turn, are desiring to continue the investigation, specifically through Mueller’s probe, in order to keep the issue fresh in voters minds as they go to the polls.

By: Paul Marselus