Rather than diverting attention away from his connections with Russia, Donald Trump’s unfounded Twitter assertions on Saturday are bringing attention back around to persistent questions about both his taxes and his campaign staff’s connections with Russian intelligence agents during and after the campaign.
The Trump administration on Sunday and Monday doubled down (mostly) on the assertions. Here are the latest developments:
- The White House issued a tweet on Sunday asking that Congress investigate the allegations Trump leveled against President Obama.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House deputy press secretary, made the rounds of the Sunday news shows and apparently backed off Trump’s definitive claim that Obama indeed had issued an order authorizing surveillance. When pressed she used the conditional “if” to describe the allegations in contrast to Trump’s more definitive language.
- FBI Director James Comey, according to multiple sources, asked the White House to refute Trump’s statement. So far the White House has refused to do so.
- On Monday morning both Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke with a variety of news outlets and again refused to provide any evidence supporting the assertion.
- According to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday morning 65% of Americans now think that a special prosecutor is called for.
Many Americans, in an attempt to send a message and a change agent to Washington D.C., voted against their own interests. Stronger ties and cozier relations with Putin and Russian intelligence in no way serves the interests of voters in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, or Connecticut. While Trump has tried to make the case that more collaboration with Russia would be positive for U.S. interests, his dogged determination to obfuscate and deny that there are potential conflicts of interest calls for a special prosecutor charged with unraveling Trump’s financial and political ties to Russia.