The still very much alive Russia scandal has proven to be lengthy and complicated, in large part thanks to the president and his team’s efforts to conceal the truth. Rather than be forthcoming, something that would be fitting if they’re really as innocent as they claim, the president and his team members have continuously denied the truth, claiming to have had no contacts with Russia when there most certainly were such contacts.
One of the most infamous examples of this is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ lie to the Senate that he had not met with Russian officials. In fact, Sessions did meet with the now former Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at least twice, having been credibly alleged to have discussed election-related matters with him.
Throughout that time, the Russians were carrying on with their propaganda and information warfare campaign against Hillary Clinton and in favor of Donald Trump.
Ryan Goodman, writing in The New York Times, asserts that putting revelations like the one about Sessions having lied together with other available information suggests a coordinated effort on the part of the president and his team not just to lie to the public, but to lie to federal authorities probing Russian interference in our elections as well.
If Bill Clinton went down for orchestrating such lies about something comparatively as mundane as an extramarital affair, Trump can’t expect to get off scot-free for lying about and potentially directing his subordinates to lie about secret communications with a hostile foreign power.
Goodman frames the situation by writing:
‘We know that to the media, since at least July 2016, Mr. Trump and campaign officials lied, repeatedly and often, about not having had contacts with Russian officials… This sustained pattern of lying to the media about any Russian contacts was almost surely done by design and coordinated from within Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Were statements to federal authorities also done by design and coordinated?’
Goodman asserts that evidence points to the answer to his question being yes.
As he points out, multiple former Trump associates have already been publicly revealed to have lied to federal authorities.
The most recent Trump associate to go down for that crime is former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who lied about having discussed sanctions with the same Russian Ambassador who Sessions met with.
Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papaadopoulos has also been nabbed for lying to federal authorities in the context of the Russia investigation.
Both men are now cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump team.
Goodman suggests that the only way that the two of them could have felt free to lie to authorities, considering the risks inherent in that move, is for them to have felt assured that the rest of the Trump team would back them up in their lying.
There’s some evidence to that effect, too, with other Trump officials having indeed backed up at least Flynn in public statements. Although former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland was part of the team that set up Flynn’s communications with the Russians, she insisted to Congress that she had no knowledge of any such communications.
Only time will tell if the credible allegations of obstruction of justice bring down the president.
For now, he claims to be “looking forward” to a possible sit down with Special Counsel Mueller.
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