Trump Plays Russian Roulette

President Donald Trump has come under a lot of scrutiny lately for his alleged actions and choices during his first one-hundred days, many of which are questionable. However, there is one river that runs deep in the Trump administration: Russian contact and influence. A messy web of political ties has been uncovered between Trump’s advisors and cabinet members with Russian politicians, and goes much farther than the supposed Russian hacking of the Democratic National Convention. In November 2016, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that “there were contacts” with the Trump campaign. This possible scandal came to light with the ousting of Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security advisor, after he had a secret meeting with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and lied about the event to Mike Pence. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was also present at the meeting, but has yet to be punished. The White House issued a statement on March 2, 2017, explaining that in December Flynn had met with Kislyak for the purpose of “establish[ing] a line of communication” directly to the Russian government. A connection this close, kept a secret for months, between the Trump administration and Putin is a concerning fact to come to light. After Flynn, new ties starting cropping up. Rex Tillerson’s relations with Russia were questioned as well. As CEO of Exxon, Tillerson managed the company’s Russian account and received the Order of Friendship from Putin. On February 14, 2017, the New York Times also reported that the phone records of four unnamed U.S. officials showed secret calls to Russia. J.D. Gordon and Carter Page, two of Trump’s campaign officials, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, met with Kislyak during the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio, dismissing it as a typical procedure for officials to meet with diplomats during the convention. Page only admitted to meeting with Kislyak after he was pinned down by Chris Hayes during an interview. Coming under fire, Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. Recently, Devin Nunes, a Republican Representative from California, also recused himself from the investigation due to an ethics investigation following his claims that he had “new information” on the alleged surveillance of Trump by former President Obama. This move on Nunes’ part was a protect the President maneuver, a last-ditch attempt to safeguard Trump’s “wiretapping” allegations.

Suspiciously, the list continues even farther. Many of Trump’s officials have had secret contact with Russians, and it is frightening to think of how much is yet to be discovered. It has not been fully revealed whether Trump and his administration have been conspiring or working with Russians, and just how deep these scandals truly run. Trump and his officials are playing a dangerous game. If the revelations continue, they could be a detriment to the President’s administration.

 

-Chloe Zelch ’20

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