Whenever we think Donald Trump can’t possibly “trump” his latest move as president, he somehow manages to surprise us. From Trump’s ineptitude with foreign policy to his questionable relationship with the Twittersphere, Trump-related catastrophes and blunders are a dime a dozen—so we’ve put together an ongoing series briefing you on the latest and (not-so-)greatest moves from the White House.
Most recently in the POTUS drama: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is on the hook to discuss how much he knew about Russian involvement in the 2016 American election. The Trump team is in for a long, miserable ride if the allegations of Russian collusion turn out to be true. If there’s one thing that both sides of the political divide can agree on (at least, let’s hope), it’s that ConspiracyAgainstTheUS.Sucks.
Where It All Began
Throughout 2016: Facebook released information confirming that over 10 million people saw political ads bought by Russian groups attempting to sway the 2016 American elections. Facebook noted that this was a “coordinated, inauthentic operation” by these groups.
July 2016: During the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, over 20,000 DNC emails were leaked. What was most shocking about the email leak was that a Russian source was behind it, according to the C.I.A.The act reeked of conspiracy, particularly as a foreign power (Russia) was caught meddling in favor of Trump and his team.
December 2016: Then-President Barack Obama issued sanctions against Russia for tampering with the 2016 American election. His actions ejected at least 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the country and imposed sanctions on Russian intelligence services. These sanctions were then eased by President Donald Trump’s administration in February 2017.
The Trumps and Their Russian Friends
June 2016: Donald Trump Jr. met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-linked lawyer—supposedly to collect dirt on the Clintons. An email correspondence noted that the meeting was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
May 2017: President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office and went “off script” while detailing confidential information on potential terrorist threats. This information was so sensitive that it was withheld from most White House staff and many of the U.S.’s allies—and should definitely not have been shared with Russian contacts.
June 2017: President Trump had an undisclosed, hour-long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit. This prompted some criticism that the two were being overly friendly, particularly in light of the collusion accusations shadowing Trump’s victory.
Shifting Staff Under Scrutiny
February 2017: Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser for a short time, was fired after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Russian officials during the U.S. election.
May 2017: President Trump reportedly asked FBI Director James Comey to stop investigating Flynn; shortly after which Comey was fired. Comey had been investigating Trump’s team and allies for potential Russian connections.
Robert Mueller’s Investigation
May 2017: Special Counsel Robert Mueller was brought on to investigate Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. This lead to several charges being laid against former Trump aides.
October 2017: Paul Manafort (former campaign chairman to Trump) and his associate, Rick Gates, were indicted for charges that include: conspiracy against the U.S., issuing false and misleading statements and more. Manafort was reportedly engaged in previous deals to “benefit the Putin government.”
October 2017: George Papadopoulos (foreign policy advisor to Trump) plead guilty to making false statements to the F.B.I. about his contacts within Russia. Reportedly, Papadopoulos received “interesting messages coming in from Moscow” during the 2016 U.S. election campaign—though it’s unclear what exactly those messages said.
November 2017: Jeff Session’s latest testimony stated that he knew about Papadopoulos’s ties to Russia, which he previously denied under oath. He also previously failed to mention two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the 2016 election.
There are certainly some shady things going on behind the scenes when it comes to the Trump-Putin bromance. Whether this leads to concrete evidence of election meddling and collusion, we have yet to see. What we do know for sure is that the investigation is taking down Republican allies left, right and center—and the logical next step is to turn the eye of justice onto POTUS himself. Collusion.Sucks, and we shouldn’t stand for it in our White House.
If the shady Trump-Russia connections make you sick to your stomach, take to the web with a custom domain to express your concern and outrage. Disagree with us? There’s a .SUCKS for you too.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / stock_photo_world, Shutterstock / Cory Seamer, Shutterstock / Rena Schild