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Russian Election Interference Demands A Special Prosecutor

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Russian Election Interference Demands A Special Prosecutor


President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton’s supporters committed massive voter fraud and that he would have won the popular vote, in addition to the Electoral College, if there had not been a well-organized campaign to cast illegal ballots.

That’s a lie. There is not one scintilla of evidence to suggest that Clinton’s popular vote victory — she garnered nearly 3 million more votes nationwide than Trump — was the result of illicit activity.

As usual, Trump has turned the truth on its head. Any illegal activity associated with the last presidential election was committed by the foreign power with which Trump is so peculiarly aligned: Russia. Here’s what is true: A well-organized and illicit offensive to influence the election did take place, and Trump was its beneficiary.

This may easily be the worst scandal in American political history, and it demands the appointment of a special prosecutor. The involvement of a foreign power in a presidential election — perhaps with the complicity of American citizens — is deeply disturbing and clearly dangerous, a threat to the republic. It is certainly far worse than anything Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky.

Yet, leading Republicans, who have previously been skeptical of Russia and critical of its authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, see nothing amiss. While a few, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, have called for an independent investigation of Russian interference in the election, most are minimizing it. Indeed, on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, GOP chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a not-so-veiled threat to reporters who insisted on asking questions: “Do you want us to conduct an investigation on you or other Americans because you were talking to the Russian Embassy?”

Then there is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has sold himself to the public as a stickler for the letter of the law. He lied to Congress about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, when he was already acting as a Trump surrogate. That should not only disqualify him from overseeing an investigation into Russian involvement in the election, but it should also force him from office.

Certainly, we are in a hyper-partisan age. But does that mean partisans set aside every principle they ever held dear and watch democratic norms be destroyed just to protect a president from their party? Are institutional checks and balances meaningless?

Denials notwithstanding, it is apparent that Putin, a ruthless dictator who should be considered an enemy of American interests, approved a shrewd cyber campaign that leaked private emails and documents linked to Clinton, dribbling them out so that they dominated several news cycles.

While the revelations were hardly damning, they were controversial enough to suck the oxygen out of Clinton’s efforts to convey an effective message. In other words, Clinton had difficulty getting reporters to talk about her plans for, say, a higher minimum wage when they were breathlessly discussing infighting among Clinton’s aides.

And there are strong intimations that Putin’s government did not act in a vacuum. While we don’t yet know whether there was coordination between Trump’s campaign and the Russians — that’s why a special prosecutor is necessary — it looks as though several of Trump’s allies and campaign surrogates met with Russians here and abroad. (That is odd enough to raise several bright red flags.)

According to the New York Times, U.S. intelligence agencies have amassed reams of evidence documenting those contacts. The Times says the Obama administration worked hard to get that evidence compiled before Trump’s inauguration, fearing that his administration might try to hide or destroy it.

Already, one Trump aide, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, has been forced to resign because he lied about possibly illicit conversations with Russian officials. There’s no telling how many of Trump’s aides were ultimately involved or how close to treason they went.

We will find out sooner or later. This is such a grotesque and wide-ranging perversion of democratic principles and basic national security standards that journalists will continue to ask probing questions and intelligence operatives will continue to leak what they know.

The only question is whether the United States, as we know it, will still be standing when all is revealed.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.

IMAGE: Donald Trump sits with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Cynthia Tucker Haynes

Cynthia Tucker Haynes, a veteran newspaper journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a Visiting Professor of Journalism and Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Georgia. She is also a highly-regarded commentator on TV and radio news shows.

Haynes was editorial page editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper for 17 years, where she led the development of opinion policy. More recently, she was that newspaper’s Washington-based political columnist. She maintains a syndicated column through Universal Press Syndicate, which is published in dozens of newspapers around the country. Besides winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007, Haynes has also received numerous other awards, including Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists.

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  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 3, 2017

    Trump’s inability to be truthful grows more evident each day of the year. Every day seems to be punctuated with either a fresh lie, or new accusations against others for the same offenses he himself has been and is guilty of—the Russian connection is one that certainly deserves an objective point of view that is outside of the sphere of DC. And then there are volumes of lies already recorded which have issued from Trump’s lips, or at least are wholly unsubstantiated, based solely on what HE says.

    Donald is so delusional that he thinks everything not in conformity with his view from a self-centered universe of his is a lie, and that “only he can be trusted”. Such a dysfunctional character is a danger, both to himself, his associates(though they’re too ignorant to notice), and to the rest of the world. Nothing Donald has said, especially in regards to his relationships with Russians, can ever be taken seriously, so ingrained is the art of lying and the art of deception in Donald.

    By now, it should be obvious what a life-time spent in interacting with the world in a utilitarian, materialistic, business-like manner as Trump has done most of his life distorts a person’s perception, and renders him, or anyone else brought up in a similar circumstances, a mechanical and hollow person driven by appetitive impulses alone.

    Trump is decidedly on a path towards an abysmal fate, and nothing or no one on the planet can arouse him from this hypnotic-like state of mind. The majority of Congress this session have a similar bent, and are equally vapid and mechanical in nature Just a vast collection of incapacious minds, solely concerned with gaining and maintaining wealth and projecting power and influence.

    1. Martha Bartha March 3, 2017

      Right! Thats what this Russian thing is all about. Lift the Sanctions so they can all get richer!

    2. Wanna Bet?

  2. I of John March 3, 2017

    The Russian scandals will continue to gain mass, like a tumor. Unanswered questions and seeping suspicions need to be answered. Many will dance around this mess when and if it reaches critical mass, then the GOP will throw Trump under the bus. They have no loyalty to him, only fear for his followers. Once that fear collapses under the weight of these growing scandals, things will become very interesting.

    1. Beartooth Bronsky March 3, 2017

      The GOP have the first chance in decades to enact their true agenda of massive tax cuts for the wealthy & the corporations, along with tearing down the regulations, including those that benefit the people & restrain predatory corporations & financial institutions. They will ride Trump until that is accomplished. The evangelical loonies have their own agenda on abortion, LHBYQI rights, creationism in schools, etc. They, too, will stick with Trump for as long as they can.

      We have no legal or political way to stop the juggernaut. We have been sliding toward Fascism, and I fear we have finally arrived. There may be no alternative left but a second American Revolution.

      1. Jinmichigan March 3, 2017

        We still have the filibuster, at least for now.

      2. Dominick Vila March 3, 2017

        Not to mention the nomination of far right judges to fill vacancies in the Supreme Court. That is the single most important reason for the support that Trump still enjoys.

  3. FireBaron March 3, 2017

    Guys, don’t you realize it is OK for Republicans to lie to other Republicans? It is only a problem when Democrats lie to Republicans.

    1. Zengo March 3, 2017

      Or even when Democrats tell the truth to Republicans

    2. Martha Bartha March 3, 2017

      You are very astute!

  4. Wolfesgang March 3, 2017

    Within the U.S., Putin’s troll fabrications are still relatively new. In other parts of the world, particularly Europe, Putin’s propaganda interference has almost become familiar in the course of quite a few years now. The good thing about this: people have long started to develop antidotes to these activities. One principle is this: if there is any suspicious piece of news that suggests the ‘West’ is rotten, internationalism is a bad thing, and Russia is the most innocent angel of peace in this world, you can bet a good sum on where it comes from.

    1. Complete troll rubbish this pandemonium….

      1. Wolfesgang March 3, 2017

        We’ll see – next ‘pandemonium’ set for Donnie Darling, eh? In Europe, things are looking bad for Putin’s gray army: Wilders will not be prime minister for the Netherlands; neither Le Pen nor Fillon will be French president; the next German chancellor will either be the present one or a Mr. Schulz, a passionate ‘European’. In Europe, 2017 will see the the turnaround back into obscurity for populist clowns – when will we see it in the U.S.?

        1. You picked the best one. Enjoy!

  5. Beartooth Bronsky March 3, 2017

    IIRC, there is no independent law or mechanism to appoint an independent prosecutor. The law that provides for a 3 judge panel to name a special prosecutor expired in 1999. The only modern model we have since then is the 9/11 commission. So, the question is who appoints the commission and empanels it’s members? I think Bush was forced by public pressure to do it against his will. I can’t see a mechanism that can’t be tainted by Trump’s White House or Justice Department. If so, Given that Comey refused to answer any questions to the “gang of 8” in secret session yesterday, we simply may not have anything but leaks to tell us what really happened. Trump may be able to bottle this up as effectively as Stalin could.

    1. Jinmichigan March 3, 2017

      Don’t bet on trump* stopping leaks anytime soon. As incompetent as the trump* administration has proved to be so far, leaks will continue.

      1. Martha Bartha March 3, 2017

        The Truth is out there!

  6. idamag March 3, 2017

    We may be seeing the loss of our democracy and there may never be an independent study done on this fascist administration.

  7. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 3, 2017

    Why Trump’s Tax Returns Are So Critical Now,, one question . and should be answered and DONNY DUMP wont answer it some one in the IRS knows the answer . and heck even a American worker that has pride in the country should get his taxes and leak them out . id bet that would get the DUMPSTER filled with BUU CRAP thrown out of the house and into jail .

  8. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 3, 2017

    maybe an ABE LINCOLN time might help

  9. stsintl March 3, 2017

    Besides AG Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Comey should also recuse himself since he did interfere in 2016 elections to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Even James Comey may have also been involved in Trump campaign organization on behalf of Putin.

  10. Does Ridicule not kill in the good ole USA?
    Nukes are useless against you enemy! He is inside there somewhere!
    Get with it will you! Putin will NOT play your favorite “outside” enemy!
    The whole world is NOT Stupid! But under stress no less!

    1. Wolfesgang March 3, 2017

      Putin operates his own troll facories, at horrific expense — has been proved many times by Western media. His trolls tell his followers in the ‘West’ what to post next. In some European languages, approx. 50 percent of postings, consisting of lies and anti-‘Western’ fabrications, resemble those of Kremlin propaganda pages almost word for word. The good news: it’s already starting to wear off: the Putin trolls have overestimated the effect of their stuff, as did the Soviet Union decades ago.

      1. Anti eastern fabrications and provocations far out-beats the Western one of which there is virtually none. Poutine does not care about You! He has a vast untapped country (under embargo of course) to manage.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker March 6, 2017

          So you and Bannon are Comrades then?

          1. If you say so!
            I love the simplistic way American people jump to conclusions whilst not even looking at facts!
            Pure fantasy is enough for them!
            They have been formatted for 16 years almost plus the 48 years rule of their informal leader Edgar!
            As for Bannon I hear he is in Trump’s field of influence but not much more. I’ll look into that.
            Why are Russians your enemies by the way?
            Do you know or is it just a Pavlovian reflex from the cold war?
            Or do You support your warmongering Military Industrial Complex Ike Eisenhower warned you about???
            Wild guess.
            You should look at America’s enemies within.
            Not necessarily Wild Donald who paradoxically could be beneficial to this once great country with all the caucuses pandemonium he stirs.
            People might even start to begin to think! Hourrraaahhh…

          2. Eleanore Whitaker March 6, 2017

            Oh puhlease. You are so desperate to criticize Americans? I took the trouble to do a little checking on you. That name of yours is as phony as a counterfeit French franc. And just when was a Russian like you ever born in France? So tell us Comrade, how is it the French embassy knows nothing about your being in the US? How is it you have NO legal immigration status? Can it be you are another of Putin’s boys trying to make bigger balls like Putins?

          3. Interesting research methodology indeed dear Eleanore.
            If all Americans are like you the whole country definitely will thank me for criticizing them and setting them to think properly.

            I am pro America, pro Russia, pro European countries and thus pro World.
            A land that was (before the end of Ike) of peace and grandeur with great entrepreneurs who could show a thing or two to the French (who don’t have a word for it) needs to restore its wealth in knowledge and culture.
            No, not money that makes you sick. Burn the Sachs.

            But some Americans (probably your masters fear and war mongers) holding and wielding power don’t want that and are thus a danger to the planet and my country and the people I love. We should overcome their pernicious plans.

            Your humble servant.

            PS: Silly Walk Paranoïa does find a cure sometimes. Rejoice. And keep trucking! Guffaw!
            Read something else than the mainstream press at times.
            Proper elevated and elated cognition comes at a price.

          4. Eleanore Whitaker March 6, 2017

            In the fantasyland some men live in these days, it is a wonder they are able to understand the law of gravity.

            Your posts sound like something out of Mein Kampf. So you will excuse me if I dismiss them as the rantings of a well mentally unstable man.

            Sadly, there are too too too many of you today. Not to worry. Those of us who are the most mentally balanced hold our own when it comes to walking the straight and narrow.

          5. Mein Kampf is rather your type of literature.
            Too many people thinking properly really?
            Goebbels and Goering knew how to deal with them. Of course!
            You are definitely a scary person.
            You give yourself more credit than you deserve!
            Interesting to know if you really represent something!
            Hopefully only yourself…

  11. Thoughtopsy March 4, 2017

    Start running Orange Fat Man.
    Your political career dissipation light is flashing.


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