Run, Sessions, run! Some sage advice straight from the Forest Gump-themed SNL set this week, and probably something that attorney general Jeff Sessions should seriously consider. Russian conspiracy theories are threatening to take over the White House in the wake of more revelations about the Trump administrations’ ties to Russian officials, including the fact that Sessions had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador to the US in 2016 – and lied to Congress about it. To avoid further conflicts of interest, Sessions has now recused himself from his own agency’s probes into Russian influence in the 2016 election. So will he be resigning any time soon? Outlook does nyet look good.
So what the heck is the deal with this whole Russia thing, you ask? Well, last year the CIA determined that Russian hackers tried to influence the 2016 election, in order to undermine the election process, hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote their preferred candidate Donald Trump. Ever since then, the FBI and several congressional investigations have been trying to get to bottom of things, and they keep finding out about meetings which occurred last year between Russian representatives and Trump campaign staffers – which keeps fueling people’s suspicions. The scandal has already forced one Trump official to resign; his first national security adviser Michael Flynn who lied about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. So why is all this such a big deal, you ask? Ah, that should be pretty obvious, but the answer rhymes with “shnational shecurity”. One thing’s for sure: if the intention of President Putin was to create political chaos and undermine public trust in the government and American democracy in general, it’s working better than he probably imagined.
How is President Trump taking all this? Not well. Lamenting the “witch hunt” on Twitter, Trump is noticeably upset that the Sessions controversy is taking away from the positive headlines he managed to generate during his joint address to Congress. Despite Trump’s best attempts to put the whole sorry affair behind him, including a bizarre and unsubstantiated story about former President Obama wiretapping his phones during the 2016 campaign, the bear keeps rearing its ugly head – starting with the House Intelligence Committee hearing scheduled for the end of the month. A better strategy instead might be to stop praising and start criticizing the Russian government – and stop playing Russian roulette with American institutions.
Feel like there’s no love from Russia? Movie for your mood: Doctor Zhivago