The Russian Investigation


Waras A. Yaqub, Reporter

The 2017 Special Counsel is an investigation, led by former FBI director Robert Muller, and supervised by the US Justice Department, into potential coordination between the Trump 2016 campaign, and the Russian government. Muller was chosen due to him being unbiased, and due to President Trump removing James Comey as FBI director. The removal of Comey turned out to be a controversial decision, due to the fact that Trump had asked for Comey’s “loyalty” and the dropping of Flynn’s investigation. The 2017 Special Counsel has absorbed other investigations such as the one into Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.

The Special Counsel has already seen some success through the surrender of Rick Gates, and also through George Papadopoulos pleading guilty for making false statements. Even though Rick Gates was arrested due to charges separate from the Trump investigation, he is a close friend of Paul Manafort which shows his particularly vulnerable position. George Papadopoulos was arrested for lying about the contacts he held within the Russian government, while working under the Trump 2016 campaign. This does not prove that the Russian government coordinated directly with the Trump campaign, but does show that the president’s associate did hold contacts within the Russian government, and may have been greatly influenced.

Another large part of this grand story of Russian meddling is Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General. Jeff Sessions greatly angered President Trump by recusing himself from the Russian investigation. Jeff Sessions did this due to potential conflicts of interest as he works for President Trump. Due to recusing himself, President Trump became furious, and their relationship got out of control. Jeff Sessions was personally insulted by President Trump and decided to resign, but was denied and courted back into the administration. Since Jeff Sessions could no longer lead the investigation, an Independent Counsel under the Justice Department was set up. This move by Sessions was very popular, and definitely saved him from public backlash, and potential legal repercussions if it was found out that he covered President Trump’s tracks.

Muller has created a grand jury as a part of his investigation. The grand jury has the power to issue subpoenas, and has been doing so since August. So for, the grand jury has not had a major break, but it seems as though something is on the horizon. There have been minor hearings related to Manafort, some executives, and a Russian lobbyist who is a former Soviet officer. The grand jury has been doing its job through consistent subpoenas, which may lead to some more information concerning the guilt of the Trump 2016 campaign.

The 2017 special counsel has many purposes, but Russian interference in the 2016 election is definitely its main goal. The counsel is independent, but has to follow the rules and monitoring of the Justice Department. The 2017 Special Counsel will start to indict soon, but at the moment they are focused on issuing subpoenas and making sure they get as many Trump associates to testify. If the 2017 Special Counsel finds collusion, there is possibility for the Impeachment of the President, or the claim that he had no idea what was going on within his own campaign. This is similar to how President Grant was not aware of the corruption in his own administration, but this may be even worse. President Trump is likely in a worse situation due to his own children being close to both the investigation, and his campaign, which means if they know about collusion it would be hard to argue that their father was totally unaware.

The Republican run Congress may be able to tolerate a lot from President Trump, due to their love for tax cuts which has already been covered. However, after the tax cuts are done, they may be willing to boot the President, in favor of Pence relatively quickly, due to the damage he could do to the party.