The troubled presidency of Donald J. Trump has been plagued by implications of ties to Russia since day one. These allegations are not new. They began while Trump was still on the campaign trail. Recent revelations, however, indicate that some of Trump’s top advisors were also in contact with Russian officials in the days leading up to the transfer of power between Obama and Trump.
The troubles for Trump began in earnest last June when it was revealed that Russian hackers had breached the computers of the DNC. The emails stolen by hackers were subsequently released on Wikileaks and ultimately led to the resignation of the DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This caused significant turmoil for the Democrats in the immediate days preceding the party’s convention. It was apparent that members of Trump’s team had knowledge of the information before Wikileaks released it.
The next blow to the Trump campaign came when it was discovered that campaign manager Paul Manafort received $12.7 million from the former president of the Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Manafort subsequently resigned from the team.
Shortly after Trump took the oath to become the nation’s new president it was revealed that Michael Flynn, Trump’s pick to become the National Security Adviser, had been in contact with a Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration. Flynn was forced to resign amid concerns that concessions had been made regarding sanctions imposed by the outgoing Obama administration.
Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has come under fire for also having contact with Russian officials. Sessions was a Trump surrogate during the campaign and was ultimately confirmed by the Senate to assume the role of the nation’s top law enforcement official. Sessions lied to Congress during his confirmation hearing when he said he’d had no contact with Russian officials. Dems have been quick to call for Sessions to resign, but so far Sessions has only been willing to recuse himself from investigations into the Trump-Russia connection.
There have also been suggestions that Russian intelligence agencies possess a dossier on Trump that contains damaging evidence that could lead to Trump’s removal from office. Some have speculated that Russia is essentially blackmailing President Trump under the threat that they will release the information in the dossier.
Never in the history of American politics has an incoming president faced such scandals. One can only wonder how long it will be until Trump is formally impeached and removed from office for his connections to one of America’s oldest enemies.