Not since the media’s extensive reporting in 2008 that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin claimed, “I can see Russia from my house,” has there been such an interest in the Soviet Union. Back in 2012, when Mitt Romney was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the Republican presidential candidate said, “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe.” Democrats mocked that statement, and Barack Obama joined the choir of ridicule, criticizing his opponent, saying, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Well, the Cold War may be over, but Russia is a hot topic in 2017.
Russia, Russia, Russia
A recent news report by CNN.com linking a prominent Trump ally to a Russian investment fund managed by a Kremlin-controlled bank had to be retracted. The story, which ran on June 22, was retracted the next day. The Cable News Network issued a tweet acknowledging the decision.
“On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
“That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”
In May, the Washington Post reported President Trump revealed highly classified information on terrorist threats from ISIS in Syria to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. That story was rebuffed by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, who told the press, “I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
Who’s Still With Her
While speaking at the Recode’s Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Hillary Clinton said she suspected President Trump’s campaign gave guidance to Russian government propaganda efforts during last year’s U.S. presidential campaign.
“The Russians, in my opinion, and based on the intel and counterintel people I’ve talked to, could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided… by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information,”
The failed presidential candidate continued by claiming there’d been a “marriage” of people in collaboration with Republicans to spread dishonest stories, and she accused Trump of collusion with Russia and blamed Russian hackers and then-FBI Director James Comey for costing her the election.
Ten days before the presidential inauguration, on January 10, BuzzFeed ran an unsubstantiated story of an alleged Russian dossier purported to contain a collection of memos with a specific and potentially unverifiable allegation of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians.  The dossier was eventually labeled as “unverified’ by then-FBI Director James Comey.
According to the New York Post, A Clinton-backed group was reportedly behind the advancement of the unverified Russian dossier, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering subpoenaing the research firm Fusion GPS, who has a long history of investigating Republicans at the request of Democrats.
Is He or Isn’t He
President Trump was assured three times, on January 6, 27, and March 9, that he was not under investigation by then–FBI Director James Comey. On March 9, Comey briefed the Gang of Eight—Devin Nunes (R, CA), Adam Schiff (D, CA), Richard Burr (R, NC), Mark Warner (D, VA), Paul Ryan (R, WI), Nancy Pelosi (D, CA). Mitch McConnell (R, KY), and Chuck Schumer (D, NY)—that the president was not under investigation.
On March 21, Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the Gang of Eight, took to the floor of the Senate to plea for a delay in the confirmation of Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch until the Russian matter was resolved.
“You can bet if the shoe were on the other foot—and a Democratic president was under investigation by the FBI—that Republicans would be howling at the moon about filing a Supreme Court seat in such circumstances. After all, they stopped the president who was not under investigation from filling a seat with nearly a year left in his presidency.”
When Senator Schumer made that speech, the president, and the House and Senate leadership had been advised by Comey that Trump was not under investigation—the public, however, had been left in the dark, and Schumer’s statements made it appear as though President Trump was under investigation.
The leader of one of the Congressional investigations, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, has publically said he does not believe the president is the subject of any criminal investigation.
“There is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians as of this date. I do not believe the president himself is a target or subject of any criminal investigation as of right now. So that’s what I know right now, and where this goes, I don’t know. Follow the facts where they lead.”
The statement could be viewed as partisan if only Republicans were making it, but Democrats have also conceded that they have found no evidence of collusion between the current administration and Russia. Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), when asked whether she’d seen any actual evidence, answered, “No.” California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, also admitted she had not seen any evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump administration.
A Bipartisan End?
The Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel called the investigation a “fishing expedition” on “Fox News Sunday.” McDaniel called for Congress to end any investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia, saying, “There’s been no evidence of it. . . . That needs to stop.”
Senator Graham didn’t agree with McDaniel and told the RNC to back off. While Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island said it was not “appropriate” for McDaniel to call for an end to a bipartisan investigation.
The 80s Called . . .
In a movie-like turn of events, Trump is now claiming it was the former president, Barack Obama, who joked about Russia in 2012, that was the one who “colluded or obstructed” with Russia. In an article, Reuters claimed, “Trump says Obama ‘colluded’ on Russia, without giving evidence,” but couldn’t you say the same thing about the investigation on Trump?
President Trump sent out a series of tweets, which appear to refer to a Washington Post story revealing the CIA told Obama about alleged Russian meddling as early as August 2016. Trump took to Twitter.
“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of its meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to ‘rock the boat.’ He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”
“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T[rump people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!”
So, here we are, back in the 80s—but, instead of the president saying, “Gorbachev tear down this wall,” the Russian investigation may keep President Trump from his agenda to build a wall.
About the Author
Deb Wax is a writer prone to “four-legged” words and prolix opinion pieces; she describes herself as a “procrastinating perfectionist who is also introspective.” Deb has several years of online writing experience, working with various web publications, including writing for a popular website as their 70’s Music Contributor. Deb’s writings cover a hodgepodge of topics, from hot-button issues to coffee culture musings—and Deb does it all with the finesse of hyperbole. In addition to writing, Deb is also an avid photographer and stock-photo contributor on Shutterstock.
Deb has been married for over twenty-five years and describes her existence as a Darby and June life. You can follow Deb on Twitter, Google +, Flickr, Instagram, and Shutterstock @DebW07.
1 Mikkelson, D. (2016, July 07), Palin: ‘I Can See Russia from My House,’Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/russia.asp
2 Manchester, J. (2017, June 24), CNN retracts story linking Trump ally Scaramucci to Russian fund, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://thehill.com/media/339293-cnn-retracts-story-linking-trump-ally-scaramucci-to-russian-fund
3 Fleitz, F. (2027, May 26), Trump’s Russia leak: The real scandal behind the Washington Post story. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/05/16/trumps-russia-leak-real-scandal-behind-washington-post-story.html
4 Ingram, D. (2017, May 31), Clinton says Trump campaign likely guided Russians before U.S. election, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-clinton-facebook-idUSKBN18R34C
5 Bensinger, K. (2017, January 10), These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-trump-has-deep-ties-to-russia?utm_term=.pn98DbxJJ#.dwMLGPD99
6 Fox and Friends (2017, June 25), Report: Pro-Clinton Group Behind Russian Dossier on Trump, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/25/clinton-russia-dossier-trump-finance
7 York, B. (2017, June 26), Byron York: On Russia, a senator’s deception and a timeline of Trump frustration, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-on-russia-a-senators-deception-and-a-timeline-of-trump-frustration/article/2627052
8 Geraghty, J. (2017, May 19), When Does All That Evidence of Collusion Arrive? Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/447780/when-does-all-evidence-collusion-arrive
9 Schultz, M. (2017, June 11), RNC chairwoman calls for end to Trump-Russia investigations. Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://nypost.com/2017/06/11/rnc-chairwoman-calls-for-end-to-trump-russia-investigations/
10 Heavey, S. (2017, June 26), Trump says Obama ‘colluded’ on Russia, without giving evidence, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-idUSKBN19H1QV
11 Derespina, C. (2017, June 26), Trump turns collusion charge on Obama for doing ‘NOTHING’ on Russia, Retrieved June 27, 2017, from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/26/trump-turns-collusion-charge-on-obama-for-doing-nothing-on-russia.html