Tag Archives: Russian government

GOP lawmaker gets it right: appoint a special prosecutor

Well … as I live and breathe.

Republican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa of California — one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most fervent nemeses on Capitol Hill — has shown his reasonable side.

Issa believes a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate allegations about Donald J. Trump’s connections to the Russian government.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the wrong man to lead such a probe, Issa told Bill Maher on his “Real Time” TV show.

Issa said, according to the Associated Press: “You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee. You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.”

How about that?

Issa makes the case that Sessions is too close to the president and too much in Trump’s hip pocket to be a faithful and committed investigator into allegations about the president’s relationships with Russian government officials.

Intelligence agencies have determined that Russian hackers sought to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump keeps denying it, calling such reporting “fake news.” What’s more, there now are questions about whether the Trump campaign had improper contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign while the government was (allegedly) trying to sway the election in Trump’s favor.

Sessions role in the campaign? He was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump; he spoke in Trump’s favor at the Republican convention this past summer; he joined the campaign as a national security adviser; and then he got appointed attorney general by the same president who should be investigated for improper conduct.

It’s to be expected that Democrats would insist on a special prosecutor. To hear such demands come from Republicans — let alone one who pursued a leading Democratic politician seemingly forever — provides a need push in the drive to find the unvarnished truth in this ongoing story.

Shocking! Trump won’t release tax returns

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said a few  things this morning that didn’t surprise me.

Perhaps the least-surprising statement was that her boss, Donald J. Trump, won’t release his tax returns for public review.

There. Having said that, the fact that it doesn’t surprise anyone doesn’t make it any less outrageous.

The president quite clearly should release the returns. He didn’t do so during his winning fight for the Republican nomination; he refused to do so while waging his winning campaign for the presidency.

He’s been relying on the dodge that the IRS was conducting a “routine audit.” The IRS has countered — while declining to comment on the specifics of an audit — that such a thing doesn’t preclude release of those returns for public scrutiny.

Now, though, the stakes have been raised to a new level since the election and the swearing-in of the president. There are swirling questions about whether the president has business dealings in Russia and, specifically with interests tied to the Russian government — which is the very government that has been accused of meddling in our presidential electoral process.

Trump has denied any such business ventures.

However, if the Watergate scandal taught us anything at all, it is that the public cannot take the president’s word on its face. To be fair, that rule has applied to many politicians before and after the scandal that toppled one of Trump’s predecessors.

If only this president would agree to disclose proof of what he has declared. Believe me, if he has no dealings with Russian government officials, he could start to rebuild the trust he will need to govern.