Trump once again blind to Russian collusion

Columnist Kaitlyn Haas

Columnist Kaitlyn Haas

The Trump campaign has been under the microscope for quite some time, and the United States is finally beginning to find real evidence of election misconduct. 

On Oct. 30, two officials involved in President Donald Trump’s campaign turned themselves into the FBI. 

Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, walked into the FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as well as former Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates.

There are multiple charges being brought against Manafort and Gates by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. They include 12 counts of conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, being an unregistered agent of foreign principal, submitting false Foreign Agent Registration Act forms and seven counts of failure to report foreign bank accounts and transactions. Despite turning themselves into the FBI, both men have pleaded not guilty.

Although Manafort claims he is not guilty of money laundering, throughout the campaign he had purchased a $3 million Brooklyn home, a $2.8 million home in SoHo and an additional $1.3 million went to clothing stores in New York, Beverly Hills and much more, according to the New York Times. So at least we know he was living and looking fabulous while conniving with Russia.

Unfortunately, the given information is not politically damaging to our president. However, a few weeks before Manafort and Gates went to the FBI, a man named George Papadopoulos, Trump’s former campaign foreign policy adviser, also turned himself into the FBI and pleaded guilty. Papadopoulos secretly turned himself in for lying to the FBI about not using his Russian contact to hurt rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, according to the New York Times.

Papadopoulos has been cooperative with Mueller and admitted that “Russian intelligence services used intermediaries to contact him to gain influence in the campaign by offering dirt on Clinton in the form of thousands of emails,” said the New York Times. This is the clearest connection to Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

Mueller signed a 14-page statement about Papadopoulos’ offense, which states, “Papadopoulos lied about the timing, extent and nature of his relationships and interactions with certain foreign nationals whom he understood to have close connections with senior Russian government officials.” 

Papadopoulos sent many emails and had many meetings with senior staff in close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

An anonymous former Trump campaign official said that Papadopoulos, “interacted with the campaign a significant amount” and “constantly exchanged emails on foreign policy matters with the Trump team during the campaign.” But of course White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders reported that his role was “extremely limited” and even referred to his role in the campaign as a “volunteer position,” according to CNN. 

So which one was it? If the FBI can prove his involvement with Russia, hopefully it will be the start of moving Trump out of the White House. 

In the mess of it all Trump has been using Twitter to defend himself by tweeting “there was no collusion” and even attempted to turn this on Clinton in a second tweet by saying, “why aren’t crooked Hillary and the Dems the focus?????” 

Even after winning the election a year ago, his line of defense is still to turn heads towards Clinton. 

He also still hasn’t figured out that using bad grammar on a casual social media site might not be the best way to address such large issues. I mean really, five question marks?

The investigation is nowhere near close to completion but will continue and hopefully uncover how much Russian government officials had to do with putting Trump in the Oval Office. 

It is unclear how long that will take, but hopefully they will unveil the level of deceit and falsehood.