It’s been non-stop stories about Russia and Trump in the news since the election. Congressional investigations into Russian “meddling” of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election coupled with special council Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible…alleged…collusion with the Russian government to gain an advantage in winning the contest against Hillary Clinton has dogged Trump before he was even sworn in as president.
Trump tried to make all the noise go away by firing FBI director James Comey. The official line was it was because of Comey’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails (!). But really Trump — in a moment of pure “I don’t give a shit” bluntness — blurted out to NBC’s Lester Holt that Comey was fired over the Russia investigation into former NSA director Michael Flynn. More specifically, the investigation into Flynn’s (undisclosed) conversations with high level Russian government officials about sanctions imposed by the Obama administration over meddling (there’s that word again) in the election. Those conversations could be tried in court under the Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 ) wherein it is a crime for a citizen to have conversations with members of foreign governments against the interests of the United States. In other words, Flynn broke the law when he had conversations with a Russian ambassador to negotiate (or reassure) them that the sanctions imposed by the Obama administration would change with a Trump administration. So far, Flynn has not been charged with a crime under the Logan Act — or any other act — but his actions certainly suggest that he could be.
Later, it came out that Trump said to Comey: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” That request in itself is most likely an obstruction of justice. But the law is only embraced by Trump when it benefits him. Otherwise, who cares about obstructing justice. So, when Comey didn’t heed Trump’s request, Trump essentially said — through a chain of command starting with Rosenstein to Sessions and finally to Trump –“You’re fired.”
However, his action had the opposite effect: it created more noise.
As it is with scandals in Washington D.C., it can be difficult to keep up with the breathless coverage and never-ending “Breaking News.” Trump supporters wave all this noise away saying that the media (and by “The Media” they are only talking about media outlets they generally hate) are creating these stories about Russia to derail Trump’s ability to Make America Great Again.
However, those who smell a rat and only see a con man in Trump, are obsessed by the constant Russia revelations because some also view Trump and his ilk as traitors who gained power through dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Moreover, they see a president compromised by a foreign power who can’t or won’t solemnly swear to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
With that, I wanted to find a way to distill a very good piece on Vox about all this Russia business into a kind of table of contents — with some personality. So why not “About Me” pages as carrots to lure you down the rabbit hole of Russia! Russia! Russia!