Louise Line: The Trump-Russia Connection
This administration’s ties to Russia are troubling, to say the least. Let’s review the facts.
President Trump has fired not one, not two, but three high-profile, highly-respected individuals investigating his campaign and administration’s connections to Russia. Acting Attorney Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara were each reportedly investigating the president’s administration before being fired in what I believe is a gross obstruction of justice.
Thankfully, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently listened to public outcry and appointed a special counsel to conduct an investigation into the president’s possible collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election. This is a promising step, but it doesn’t go far enough in addressing the American people’s deep concern with preventing future attacks by foreign governments on our democracy. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s appointment does not eliminate our need for an outside, independent commission free from any interference from this administration.
There’s a critical difference between a special counsel and an independent commission. An independent commission like the one signed into law by President Bush following 9/11 would be made up of outside experts who would conduct an investigation and release a report on their findings, including strategies for tackling this nightmarish situation in the future. A special counsel, like Robert Mueller, can be fired by the president and his conclusions can be overruled by others in the administration.
Although more than 75 percent of the American people agree that we need an independent commission, Congressional Republicans have now voted against an open debate on this issue seven times this Congress. That’s seven times too many. In refusing to hold an open debate, House Republicans are making themselves complicit in this administration’s deliberate attempts to keep the public in the dark.
This administration’s ties to hostile foreign powers cannot be taken lightly and yet, that’s what House Republicans and the White House have continued to do. It’s time for Republicans in Washington to stop their partisan theatrics and put the integrity of our democratic system where it should’ve always been—first.
Louise M. Slaughter