The abuse of his power

Published 10:47 am Friday, May 12, 2017

Is President Donald Trump acting to avoid a charge of treason?

Or could there be other reasonable explanations for his behavior?

What we know is that both U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign intel groups have reported that agents for the Russian government worked to elect him as president in 2016.

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We know that the president and his campaign are under investigation by three congressional committees and the FBI for collusion with the Russians.

We know that then-candidate Trump insisted that no one in his campaign had any contact with Russian agents. But we also know that claim was false. Trump campaign officials who had contact with Russian agents during the 2016 campaign include, Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, then Senator Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, Jared Kushner, J.D. Gordon, and Trump personally. Roger Stone, longtime Trump adviser, met with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks during the period when WikiLeaks was publishing Clinton campaign e-mails.

Most of the contacts were initially denied by the participants, and only admitted to after being identified by the media, including at least two contacts by now -U.S. Attorney General Sessions.

We know many of the contacts occurred on multiple occasions. We know that Flynn lied about the content of his repeated conversations with the Russians. It is believed that Flynn told the Russians that the Trump administration would waive sanctions the Obama administration placed upon Russia for their interference in the 2016 election. Details of that conversation remain highly classified.

We know that when acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates informed the Trump administration that Flynn was subject to blackmail by the Russians that the administration did not promptly fire Flynn from his highly classified position as national security advisor. Instead, four days later the administration fired Yates.

We know that the administration ostensibly fired Yates for refusing to defend what was later determined by the courts as an illegal executive order. Flynn remained, Yates was terminated.

We know that President Barack Obama took the extraordinary measure of warning President-elect Trump not to hire Flynn. Trump ignored that warning. We know that people within the Trump campaign raised warnings about the risks of hiring Flynn, but Trump ignored them.

We know now that Flynn was only fired when his numerous connections to Russia and Russian agents became known publiclly. And we know that Trump praised Flynn when he terminated him.

We also know that the Trump administration has never offered to cooperate in the investigation under way, has never made the Trump campaign staff available for interviews under oath, and has claimed virtually all media reports explaining the connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians are “fake news.”

And now we know that FBI Director James Comey went to the Department of Justice last week to ask for additional funding for the ongoing investigation into Trump collusion with the Russians, seeking money to add specific skill sets to the  deepening investigation.

Within days of asking for additional funding for the investigation Comey was fired, under the laughable claim that the Trump administration was incensed that Comey had been too rough on Hillary Clinton, a claim belied by Trump’s rally cry “lock her up” — Hardly evidence of sympathy for Clinton.

And we know that Sessions, who had recused himself from oversight of Comey’s investigation, actively acted to stop Comey’s work by recommending his termination, violating his recusal.

Trump fired Comey, but certainly not for the reasons the administration provided, the Clinton sympathy claim. Much more likely Trump fired Comey for the ongoing investigation and its growing accumulation of facts and evidence.

Is the president of the United States acting to conceal his connections to Russia by any and all means, including firing the chief investigator? If so would that not be an act of high treason, unparalleled in our history?

There is more than ample reason to accelerate the investigation, fully fund it, and appoint a special prosecutor. No other alternative can restore the trust of the American people.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.