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Trump Administration and Ties to Russia

Jessie Melton, Online Editor

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The first months of the Trump Administration have been full of allegations that link Trump, his campaign, and now his administration to corruption linked to Russia.

In December the CIA was able to draw conclusions about the hacking of GOP offices before the election and Democratic National Convention during the election by Russian correspondents. At first, no claims were made as to whose campaign the hacks were benefiting, but soon after the CIA confirmed that the hacks were aimed at bolstering the Trump campaign.

Since the inauguration, President Trump has announced picks for his cabinet. There were already speculations about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia after the election hacks information surfaced, but many of the cabinet picks have brought new evidence and concerns to light.

When Donald Trump nominated Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exon Mobil, to be his Secretary of State there were intense questions about his seemingly personal relationship with Vladimir Putin.  According to the Huffington Post,  Marco Rubio a Republican Senator from Florida, “grilled Tillerson on Russia” during his confirmation hearing. Rubio related Putin’s crimes against civilians specifically those in Syria and his use of chemical weapons and proceeded to ask, “Is Vladimir Putin a war criminal?”, Tillerson replied that he “would not use that term”.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security advisor was forced to resign on February 13th for related issues with his relationship with Russia. It had become apparent that Flynn had been having what was referred to in the official White House report as “substantive conversations” with the Russian Ambassador. According to a report by The New York Times and an Official White House Report, Flynn denied having these conversations to Vice President Pence and other White House officials. When the information emerged that confirmed the accusations and it became apparent that he had lied to the Vice President he was asked to step down.

Most recently there have been concerns about the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Information was found that tied Sessions to meeting with Russian officials during the election. In multiple interviews, specifically with CNN and in a response to an inquiry from Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, Sessions has denied having communication with Russia. Despite Sessions denial, multiple news sources continued to report and expose other instances of Session’s interactions with Russia. Session’s staff released this statement, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false”. Just a day later the Attorney General recused himself from any investigation about his relationship with Russia.

The questions of Russian involvement go beyond the Democratic Party and news sources. Republican’s have also begun to question Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin. Republican Senator John McCain commented, “There’s a lot of aspects with this whole relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin that requires further scrutiny, and so far I don’t think the American people have gotten all the answers. In fact, I think there’s a lot of shoes to drop from this centipede.”

Trump himself has been accused of an overly cozy relationship with the Russian President. He has refused to condemn Putin’s regime and has even praised him as a leader. He has a goal to create a better relationship with the Russian government, “Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period,” The idea of a friendly relationship with Russia is controversial and many don’t want to be on a good basis with a nation who have engaged in acts recently that they don’t believe the U.S should be condoning or working with. Senate Foreign Policy Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) stated, “I see no moral equivalence — none — between ourselves and the actions Russia has taken and I agree with you those comments do not reflect certainly most opinions of the United States Senate”.

 

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Trump Administration and Ties to Russia