During a presidency in which the stories and scandals are a daily occurrence, it is difficult to still be surprised by anything Trump does. A president who calls hostile world leaders “short and fat” on social media, retweets white nationalist organization members charged with assaulting Muslims, and suggests that journalists critical of his presidency may secretly be murderers, there’s not much left to be shocked about with Donald Trump at the helm.
In a breaking story by The New York Times, however, a very big surprise revelation about yet another attempt by Trump to obstruct justice in the Senate’s investigation of Russia’s attempts to undermine democracy broke on Thursday night.
‘President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides. Mr. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.’
“Highly unusual” is a bit of an understatement. “Deliberate attempt to obstruct justice’ works much better.
Trump pressured top Republicans to end an investigation into Russia’s election meddling that allegedly may have even involved members of his own campaign. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who serves as chairman of the intelligence committee, “I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible.” The words are similar to Trump’s request of James Comey when he said “I hope you can let this go” while trying to convince him to drop his investigation into Michael Flynn.
Republicans who have been asked to comment on the stories given by multiple sources in Congress cannot deny that they happened, but tried to pass them off as just more of Trump’s ignorance of the way the law works.
‘Republicans played down Mr. Trump’s appeals, describing them as the actions of a political newcomer unfamiliar with what is appropriate presidential conduct.’
His interference with an ongoing investigation in which three members of his campaign have already been indicted and others may be facing the same fate is an egregious breach of trust by the current president. It is not accidental that Trump repeatedly called the members of Congress tasked with reviewing evidence and hearing testimony objectively in order to reach a decision on whether the president, his family members, and his closest friends and advisers colluded with a foreign government.
Those calls were made deliberately to end an ongoing investigation.
‘Mr. Trump also called other lawmakers over the summer with requests that they push Mr. Burr to finish the inquiry, according to a Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss his contact with the president.
‘This senator, who was alarmed upon hearing word of the president’s pleas, said Mr. Trump’s request to the other senators was clear: They should urge Mr. Burr to bring the Russia investigation to a close. The senator declined to reveal which colleagues Mr. Trump had contacted with the request.’
This sham of a presidency should have ended the day Trump cleared the Oval Office to secretly ask James Comey to break the law, but this evidence provides even more evidence that Trump is a corrupt man and a criminal president.