Robert A. Levine 7-26-17
Jeff Sessions is being flagellated by his boss because of Russia. And it doesn’t stop. At every opportunity, Trump gets in a dig at Sessions for recusing himself from the inquiry about whether Russia interfered in the election and whether there was collusion with Trump or his team. The president believes there never would have been a special investigator looking into his affairs and those of his associates if Sessions had not recused himself and had blocked any investigation.
But why is President Trump so obsessed with the Russia investigation. If there is nothing to hide, why is Trump making such a big deal about it? It appears that he is going to try to make Jeff Sessions quit as Attorney General, or if that does not work to fire him. Then he can appoint a new Attorney General who can oversee or eliminate the special investigation. Trump would love to get rid of Mueller and his staff, but that might raise an uproar even among conservatives who are currently backing Trump. Having a new AG doing the dirty work for him might be more palatable for Trump. The new AG could say the investigation was tainted and that he wants to start all over with a new team. However, that action would also cause a backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike.
It may be that Trump is afraid his tax returns might reveal long standing connections with Russia, perhaps financial backing for his real estate empire, and that is what he wants to keep hidden from the special investigator. In fact, he warned Mueller to stay away from any of his financial dealings as Mueller was charged with looking into the Russian meddling in the election and not anything else.
But Mueller is taking a broader view of his directive and is trying to learn if there were any associations between the Russians and Trump prior to the election that might have carried over. Putin disliked Hillary and saw Trump as a possible friend or puppet in the White House, willing to end Russia’s sanctions if Russia assisted him in his quest to get elected. Congress however, has tied Trump’s hands in dealing with the sanctions, prohibiting the president from unilaterally rolling back any of the restrictions without Congressional approval.
This was done in spite of Trump’s lobbying of Congress against it, wanting to retain the power to act if he saw fit. But Congress was obviously wary of Trump’s relationship with Putin and Russia, despite both men denying there was any Russian interference with the election. The new sanctions and the limitations on Trump were indications that Congress does not trust the president when it comes to Russia and the bill was passed with a veto-proof majority in both Houses of Congress.
Trump’s lawyering up to deal with the Russian investigation and the discussions of his ability to pardon his team members and possibly himself are further suggestions that there is some dirt in Trump’s closet that he does not want to be swept out and it likely involves the Russians. It has to seem strange to Mueller and his investigators as well as neutral onlookers that members of Trump’s team had so many meetings with Russians before and after the elections. Not China, Great Britain, Israel, or any other friends or adversaries of the United States were favored with similar meetings. Why Russia?