Russian shadow looms over Trump

Saadia Akhtar

On Monday, the directors of the FBI and NSA testified to the House Intelligence Committee on President Trump’s campaign’s potential collusion with Russia. FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the FBI is in fact investigating Trump’s ties to Russia. The FBI investigating a sitting president for possible collusion is not normal. Despite the Trump administration’s best efforts to put Russia and the election behind them, more and more evidence is piling up against them.

For example, a report came out that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman from March 2016 to August 2017, worked for Russian President Vladmir Putin in order to advance Russia’s interests around the world. Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to mitigate the damage by saying Manafort had “limited role, for a limited time” in the Trump campaign. However, many are questioning how being a campaign chairman for six months is a “limited role.”

Of course, the Michael Flynn scandal hasn’t gone away either. Flynn resigned from his post as National Security Advisor in February for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It has recently come out that Flynn worked for the Turkish government as a foreign agent. Again, the Trump administration is trying its best to get ahead of these revelations and stay focused on policy-making, but that’s just not working.

What is even more worrisome is that sources have told an analyst on CNN that Flynn may have cut a deal with the FBI to aid in their investigation on Trump’s ties to Russia ties. These claims may be backed up by the fact that Flynn has not volunteered to testify to the House Intelligence Committee, unlike Manafort and other former Trump campaign officials. If true, this does not look good for President Trump.

President Trump, though, has made things complicated for himself as well. He praises Vladimir Putin, he has refused to release his tax returns (which could clear up any speculation that Trump has business holdings in Russia) and has refused to say Russia interfered in the 2016 election, despite the fact over 17 U.S. Intelligence agencies have confirmed it.

As long as the FBI’s investigations continue and as long as Trump does not release his tax returns, the Trump administration will have to remain on defense on all matters concerning Russia.

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