Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Washington Post -- Sessions' testimony highlights Trump’s deep lack of interest in what Russia did in 2016

From all implications to one extent or another, Donald Trump and some in his administration were or continue to be in cahoots with the Russians. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, however, may know the least about Trump’s involvement.

Why doesn't the Senate subpoena former CEO of EXXON and now Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who got a "friendship" medal from Vladimir Putin and bought $500 billion in leases on 63 million acres in Russia. And then there is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross who presided over a deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Vladimir Putin while serving in his previous role as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.The transaction raises questions about Ross’s tenure at the Cypriot bank and his ties to politically connected Russian oligarchs. The US State Department, at one time, considered Cyprus an area of “primary concern” for money laundering, according to the Guardian. Or how about questioning Trump's sons who have said that they get most of their financing from Russia.

By following the money, the Senate, House, or FBI may find the answers to their questions.

Robert Reich writes,

The one big thing we learned today from Jeff Sessions stonewalling testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee is Trump and his administration still don’t care about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election – and the likelihood Russia will interfere to an even greater extent in 2018 and beyond.

Sessions told West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III he “did not recall” any meeting during which Trump expressed concern or curiosity about what Russia had been doing during the 2016 election.

Sessions also said he himself, as the country’s and Trump’s lead law enforcement official, was never briefed on Russian interference.

Sessions stated that Russia’s role was the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies, without embracing the conclusion as his own.

Last week, when Manchin asked former FBI Director James Comey whether Trump had ever expressed curiosity about Russia’s attempts to swing the election, Comey said that he “[didn’t] remember any conversations with the president about the Russia election interference.”

In January Trump called “the whole Russian thing” a “ruse.” In April, when asked whether he thought Russia tried to meddle, Trump first said, “I don’t know,” and only later said he was “okay” with the intelligence agencies’ determination that Russia attempted to meddle with the campaign and that “we have to find out what happened” with it. Later that month suggested that Ukraine was pushing allegations that Russia was behind the hacking. Then on May 30 Trump tweeted “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”

The White House is a leaky bucket but the only people in danger of prosecution for leaks are people who leak information about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election – which is absolutely necessary for the American public to know.

Sessions' testimony highlights Trump’s deep lack of interest in what Russia did in 2016 

By Philip Bump