Remember When House GOP Thought Trump-Russia Connection was Funny?
#FlashbackFriday: Remember when Speaker Ryan and House GOP Leaders ‘joked’ that Vladimir Putin ‘pays’ President Trump two months ago?
With the revelation of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort meeting with a Russian lawyer, a former Russian counter-intelligence agent and [insert names of possible others here] to obtain ‘high level and sensitive information’ to influence the 2016 presidential election, no one is laughing now.
The Russia scandal has entered a new phase, and there’s no going back.
The evidence is now shown. This is not hearsay, not fake news, not unsourced leaks. This is an email chain released by Donald Trump Jr. himself. A British go-between writes that there’s a Russian government effort to help Trump Sr. win the election, and as part of that effort he proposes a meeting with a “Russian government attorney” possessing damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were forwarded the correspondence, invited to the meeting, and attended.
THERE CAN now be no doubt: The Russia meddling story is not just smoke but fire. Donald Trump Jr.’s interactions with Russians during last year’s presidential campaign were abnormal and alarming. An incriminating email chain has made it impossible for the administration to deploy its always flimsy argument of last resort — that the whole story is just “fake news.”
Not only Mr. Trump but also presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul J. Manafort are involved. Following a string of misleading and false statements, Americans must also wonder: Were other Trump associates involved? Did other meetings take place? Was President Trump aware of them? What more did the Trump camp know about Kremlin support for the Trump campaign?
And then there is this recurring question: How long can the rest of the Republican Party prioritize partisanship and agenda over decency and patriotism?
It’s time for Congress to take action to hold the Trump Administration accountable or to protect our democracy from further foreign meddling. Democrats call on Speaker Ryan and House Republicans to take immediate action to bring a vote to the floor to create an outside, independent commission to get to the bottom of the Trump Campaign’s role in Russia’s assault on our elections and prevent it from happening again.