BY JEREMY HALLOWANGER, STAFF WRITER
The pot that President Trump is in seems to be getting hotter as the Russian allegations heat up. A Justice Department investigation which Pres. Trump belittled at first, calling it a “hoax” and a “witch-hunt,” proved to be just. The FBI probe, which was looking for evidence of Russian involvement in the 2016 election, charged three officials linked to the Trump Administration.
“This case provides the clearest evidence yet of links between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials,” said the “Washington Post.”
Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were brought in initially. The two have been indicted on 12 counts including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, acting as an unregistered foreign agent, making false statements and failing to report foreign bank and financial accounts. Manafort and Gates both pleaded not guilty but were sentenced to house arrest on multimillion-dollar bonds.
Additionally, former foreign policy advisor to the campaign George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and cooperating with investigators. He has yet to be sentenced. According to “The Guardian,” the release of an embarrassing trove of emails related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign was facilitated by Russian operatives who hacked Democratic accounts.
The U.S. Department of Justice is currently investigating whether or not President of Russia Vladimir Putin had a hand in swinging the election in Pres. Trump’s favor. Pres. Trump has called for the Justice Department to look at Clinton and her campaign’s role in the Democratic National Committee during the presidential race.
Some believe such allegations hold no substance. Marc Thiessen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute Think Tank and former chief speechwriter for George W. Bush, argued against the Justice Department’s cases.
“There’s still no more public evidence of criminal collusion with Russia than there was before charges were brought,” Thiessen wrote in the “Washington Post.” “But there is plenty of evidence that the Trump campaign had catastrophically bad judgment in choosing its most senior and junior advisers — and that Russia’s spy network sought to exploit that weakness.”
Even so, the charges brought forth have deteriorated Pres. Trump’s public approval. Due to the charged party’s proximity to the President, it is difficult to remind ourselves that Pres. Trump himself hasn’t been found at fault. As for the concrete charges, they are certainly no hoaxes. These links are highly damaging to the presidency. If these allegations prove to be true, it could lead to his demise. Only time and the Justice Department will tell.
This article first appeared in the Friday, November 10, 2017, Edition of The Echo.