OPINION: We The People Need A Full And Independent Investigation Of Team Trump’s Ties To Russia
First Manafort, Then Flynn, Now Sessions.
We can have our own civil debates about health care, taxes and immigration as American citizens. We have been having them for as long as most of us remember. This is politics and it’s the backbone of our democracy. But what we can no longer “debate” is the need for a clear, independent, non-partisan investigation into the Russian interference of our election and their possible coordination with a presidential campaign. The revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had, and lied about, conversations with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 campaign makes that all the more clear. The numerous links between the Trump campaign/administration and the Russian government can hardly be considered a coincidence
This isn’t a matter of party philosophy or the polarized “us versus them” narrative that’s shaped our discourse this century. This isn’t about The Resistance anymore than it’s about Making America Great Again. This is about the fundamental survival of our democracy, values and our way of life.
There is a very real possibility that the Attorney General of the United States perjured himself during his confirmation hearing when he said he had “did not have communications with the Russians” as reports now indicate otherwise.
Jeff Sessions was a campaign surrogate, we know this. Michael Flynn was as well. Michael Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Adviser in disgrace after it was learned that he too had pre-inauguration and possibly illegal contact with The Kremlin. It doesn’t stretch the boundary of imagination to believe Sessions may have as well.
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We know that Russia interfered with the campaign, even the highest ranking Republicans in congress agree. To be clear: the possibility exists that they did so independently because they just didn’t like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, simply casting doubt on our democratic process could have been enough motivation. That’s on us for allowing it to happen, but it’s not an indictment of the Trump administration or campaign.
But if it was a coordinated attack in conjunction with the Trump campaign (and let’s not forget that former campaign chair Paul Manifort had direct ties to Russia so deep that he was threatened with blackmail), then it goes well beyond traditional “spy games”. It’s treason.
And we, the people, deserve to know the scope.
In the coming months, Congress and the White House should continue to operate as expected: they should debate, negotiate, fund our government and do everything they’ve done for the past 240 years. But they alone should not be in charge of the investigation into the depths of the Russian interference. Nor should they solely be allowed to determine the magnitude of Team Trump coordination with Vladimir Putin and his surrogates. History demands this has nary a whiff of partisan influence.
And Jeff Sessions Should Have No Part Of Any Investigation
Sessions has already indicated a willingness to recuse himself from the investigation. That’s a step in the right direction. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has hinted that the alleged entanglement may “need a special prosecutor”. Few could argue with a straight face that this isn’t necessary.
A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate a potential conflict of interest in an Arkansas land purchase fifteen years before Bill Clinton was President. That led to a deeper investigation into a stain on a blue dress.
You can’t, in your heart of hearts, believe that the known evidence in the Trump-Russia connection to this point doesn’t rise to the level of a condo sale, a semen stain, or even the public outing of a CIA agent on Meet The Press.
There is not a single viable argument to be made against the appointment of an independent investigation with full, unlimited subpoena power. None. The senators and representatives who stand in the way of this will be accomplices to what may someday be viewed as the most lethal bloodless attack against our Republic in history.
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)