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Fecteau: What is Going on Between Trump and Russia?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

 

Congress should probe the extent of contacts between President Donald J. Trump’s campaign, and Russian officials and intelligence agents. The New York Times recently reported a number of contacts existed between Trump's campaign and Russia leading up to the presidential election. This is creating quite a stir especially in light of the Russian hacking scandal. Everyone should demand a bipartisan, congressional investigation into this troubling issue. 

To make matters worse, this comes at a time when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned his position because of his own contacts with Russia before Trump assumed office. As a private citizen, Mr. Flynn failed to disclose the extent of a conversation he had with Russia's Ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak (someone he was on friendly terms with). Trump eventually fired Flynn for lack of trust. 

This latest disclosure involves one key individual also with cozy ties to Russia, Mr. Paul Manafort. As Trump’s former campaign chairman, Mr. Manafort, resigned during the campaign after he failed to disclose his relationship to pro-Russian Ukrainian officials. The New York Times mentions Manafort as one of several Trump aides in apparent regular contact with Russian intelligence. Is anyone seeing a pattern here? 

After the election, American intelligence agencies concluded Russian state-sponsored actors hacked campaign-related political networks during the election season to influence the race. Isn't it worthy to probe the extent of the Trump’s own relationship with Russia? What about Trump's tax returns? The Trump administration's contacts are highly suspicious considering Russian state-sponsored hacks during the same period. 

To make the situation more concerning, these hacks occurred around the time Mr. Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin – alarming American intelligence. Trump even called on Russia to hack Clinton’s server to find her lost emails at one point.

The Trump administration should also want to probe these contacts. The Russian influence on this past election looms large over Mr. Trump’s legacy. Trump is behaving more and more like an illegitimate president with each controversial revelation (I do consider him a legitimate president for the record). If Trump is so innocent, why shouldn’t he embrace a thorough and expansive probe of his campaign’s contacts with Russia? 

Trump’s approval rating has plummeted, and more people than ever want to impeach him according to recent polls. Trump needs to embrace and encourage an investigation. Americans, likewise, deserve to see any transcripts between Trump aides, and Russian officials — a given. 

Never in the history of our country has a foreign power intervened in such a manner. The Trump campaign's contacts with Russia are becoming an earnest liability, and warrant a serious investigation. In the end, everyone, including Mr. Trump, should embrace a transparent, bipartisan congressional investigation for the sake of our democracy, and narcissistic Trump, himself.  

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq war veteran.

 

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