Nearly a Year Into the Trump Era, Where Does the Russia Investigation Stand?

The independent investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to skew the 2016 presidential election seems to grow larger and messier each day. And special counsel Robert Mueller continues to bring President Donald Trump’s close allies, employees and family members in for questioning about their actions both prior to and after the surprise electoral college victory.

With former national security advisor Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, it’s only a matter of time before more administration insiders are exposed in the likely conspiracy. The biggest questions that remain are which Trump family members will be prosecuted first, and whether or not the president himself will be indicted.

Donald Trump, Jr., a key campaign advisor who has now stepped back into his position at the family business, is the latest to end up in the probe spotlight. According to reports, the younger Trump was interrogated by a House committee about his interactions with Russian agents — and he desperately tried to avoid their questions.

As Bloomberg News reports:

Trump Jr., acknowledged he discussed the June 9, 2016 meeting with his father after it became public through news accounts a year later. But he declined to answer questions about what he told his father. His lawyers claimed that conversation took place in the presence of legal counsel, which is why he invoked attorney-client privilege.

Of course, attorney-client privilege refers to discussions between a lawyer and a client, not just discussions that take place with a lawyer in the room. But getting in trouble for attempting to obstruct the House committee’s questions may be the least of Trump Jr.’s problems at the moment. Next, he will face questioning by the Senate Intelligence Committee — and, according to Politico, his meeting is still the center of Mueller’s investigation as well.

As the investigation continues, many expect 2016 presidential campaign adviser and former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon to be in the hot seat soon, too. The Hill reports:

Sources told Politico that the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, which Comey reportedly was consulted on and later criticized, would likely come up in any questioning. “There’s going to be a lot of people to be called in to discuss what happened in the Comey firing,” former Trump legal team spokesman Mark Corallo told Politico. “I would not be shocked if someone like Steve got pulled in. That would be normal.”

At the same time, Democrats are demanding to see the financial records of the president’s closest campaign advisers and administration officials. This effort has only gained urgency after the discovery that Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin failed to disclose his own financial dealings with Russia.

The Guardian describes the motivation behind this latest push by Democrats:

Senior lawmakers have written to the U.S. treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, seeking access to financial data that might show the administration’s possible links to the Kremlin and other Russian individuals. A letter signed by Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House financial services committee, and four other Democratic lawmakers called on Mnuchin to share any financial data that the treasury department might have that would help the committee determine the “extent of any undue influence on the president and his administration from Russian government officials, oligarchs, and organised crime leaders.”

Of course, the Trump administration is doing all it can to nip all of these investigations in the bud. They hope they can simply ride out the Congressional hearings, knowing that there are enough Republicans in each committee to ensure no progress is ever made.

And as the Chicago Tribune reports, the strong-arming doesn’t stop there:

News organizations have also reported that Trump tried to influence other key officials to curtail investigations, including National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, National Security Agency director Admiral Mike Rogers and Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr. Coats and the others have avoided commenting directly on these accounts, which nevertheless appear to worry the White House enough to produce a claim last week by Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, that a president can never be guilty of obstruction because he is the chief law-enforcement officer under the Constitution.

Mueller’s probe, on the other hand, is a much trickier situation to handle, since the administration already fired Comey.

“Any attempt by President Trump to fire Mueller after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI would lead to a ‘groundswell,’ Michael Weinstein, a former Department of Justice prosecutor who practices at the law firm Cole Schotz, told Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday,” reports Newsweek. “‘It would look so objectionable, like the Saturday Night Massacre with Nixon,’ Weinstein said, referring to President Richard Nixon’s efforts to quash the Watergate investigation.”

With the first year of President Trump’s term drawing to an end, it seems more and more likely that the Russian investigation will continue to expand the longer he remains in office. Perhaps 2018 will be the year that the president decides to step down — if for no other reason than to end the probe once and for all.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via wikimedia commons

76 comments

Renata B
Renata B16 days ago

He should end in shame, taken to prison. There are plenty of reasons if one wants to see them.

SEND
Renata B
Renata B16 days ago

Alas, I see no hope. It was amazing that he won but it is even more amazing that a year and a half later he and his cronies are still in power.

SEND
Chrissie R
Chrissie R28 days ago

This is a relatively old article...

SEND
Danuta W
Danuta Watolaabout a month ago

thank you for posting

SEND
Jan S
Jan Sabout a month ago

thank you

SEND
Angel W
Past Member about a month ago

thanks

SEND
Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

I need butterflies...

SEND
Julie D
Julie D4 months ago

Trump will never step down willingly. He will lie and grandstand to the very end. If we are ever able to remove him he will have to be dragged out screaming and frothing at the mouth the whole way most likely.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M4 months ago

Get that picture of that f*%cking creepy, "Children of the Corn" animal-murdering, piece of shit's face off of Care2.

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E4 months ago

brian f
BOT !! How about that Ms. Stein being investigated too !!! That's what happens when you have dinner with Flynn and putin and then magically raise millions for a recount !!!
Hmmmm !!! Could it be that her "green party" is money green ?

SEND