Throughout the entirety of the Russia investigation, the U.S. president and his allies have claimed to be completely innocent of the allegations against them of collusion with the Russian government. Even still, details have come out over the past year or so that have incriminated them big time. If they’re so innocent, then why have they sought to hide so many stories?
One of the stories they sought to bury is that of the 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump Jr., Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and others. Trump Jr. went into that meeting and brought Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort along with him while understanding Veselnitskaya to be preparing to share information from the Russian government that would help the Trumps in their campaign against Hillary Clinton.
As has since become clear, that outreach was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Russian efforts against Hillary Clinton, and Trump Jr.’s enthusiastic acceptance of the meeting calls into serious question the president’s repeated insistence that there was no collusion between Russia and his team.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is one of a few bodies to have been investigating the whole scandal, and they’ve now released thousands of pages of information specifically covering their inquiry into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in question.
The pages include transcripts of committee interviews with individuals including Donald Trump Jr. himself, who upon the release of the material commented:
‘I appreciate the opportunity to have assisted the Judiciary Committee in its inquiry. The public can now see that for over five hours I answered every question asked and was candid and forthright with the Committee.’
Despite Trump Jr.’s assurances, Democrats on the committee maintain concerns held by others on Capitol Hill that Republicans have been too lenient on witnesses. The Democratic committee members commented that there are “more questions than answers given the lack of cooperation by many of the individuals involved,” a situation not confined to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Over in the House of Representatives, Democrats on the House Intel Committee have proven majorly disappointed with the Republican majority’s decision to end their committee’s Russia probe despite incomplete questioning. Individuals including former Trump ally Steve Bannon repeatedly refused to answer questions when appearing before the committee, and there are other key individuals, like former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who never appeared before the committee at all. Papadopoulos served as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and Russia during the campaign season, maintaining a tie to both.
Although Congressional investigations have had mixed results considering their naturally partisan nature, the probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing. He has so far brought charges against four former Trump associates, including Papadopoulos himself, who was nabbed for lying to authorities.
The president and his allies have used the approaching one year anniversary of the Mueller probe as a springboard to try and get it to shut down, but it’s not going to be that easy for them. That strategy didn’t let Richard Nixon off the hook and it’s not going to get anyone off the hook now.
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