There is a 'dire need for a broader, bipartisan probe'
‘It just shows how low we’ve gone where they can toy with us like that.’
That was how then candidate Donald Trump responded last May following a spate of incidents which saw Russian military aircraft flying at high speeds passed US navy ships in European waters.
From these comments, it might have been expected that now President Trump would be falling over himself to publicly condemn the news that four Russian aircraft last week flew close to the US Navy destroyer, the USS Porter in what has been described as an ‘unsafe and unprofessional’ manner.
It might also have been expected that the president would want to publicly condemn Russia for anchoring a spy ship off the coast of Connecticut close to a US naval submarine base.
Despite such alarming episodes, the lack of any public condemnation for these incidents from the White House, together with a growing sense that relations were too close between the Trump campaign and Russia during the Presidential elections leads only to the conclusion that the source of the bad smell now engulfing the White House needs to be found and found quickly.
As Americans read their papers today, they will find a widespread call for a full investigation into the matter.
For the Washington Post, recent developments serve only to underscore ‘the dire need for a broader, bipartisan probe of Russia’s election-year meddling.’ It continues:
“Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee insist that the panel is working diligently. But there may well be strong political pressure on Republicans to choke the investigation or to keep key findings secret. Senior House Republicans, for example, still seem uninterested in seriously probing these issues. If congressional inquiries ultimately are derailed by politics, an independent commission must be empaneled.”
These calls are echoed in the New York Times. Its editorial on the issue opens:
“In history, this is where Congress steps in. During the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Iran-contra scandal, when a president’s actions or policies crossed the line, Congress investigated and held the White House to account. The time has come for it to do so again.”
Charting the series of damaging revelations over the past few years it concludes:
“With or without the administration’s cooperation, Congress’s plain and urgent duty, lest it be judged complicit, is to get to the bottom of this crisis.”
In the LA Times, Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations writes:
“The American public deserves to know more — a lot more — about what ties, if any, our president may have with a hostile foreign power. Media reporting is insufficient because reporters cannot subpoena documents or force testimony under penalty of perjury. The Republican-run Congress does have that authority but so far has not chosen to exercise it. The only way we are likely ever to get to the bottom of Kremlingate is through the appointment of a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission.”
“It is scandalous that Republicans so far have blocked such a move; they are putting partisan considerations above the interests of the country. Perhaps now the stonewall will finally crumble? Flynn’s resignation should not be the end of the story.”
The Miami Herald meanwhile focussed on the relationships between Presidents Trump and Putin, noting in its editorial:
“Trump still has a deep and abiding relationship — in politics and in business — with a dictator who, with tacit encouragement — or maybe more — put America’s democracy on a collision course with chaos. Its cherished values have been exposed and undermined. Trump allows this.
“Flynn was just the tip of the Russian iceberg. A submerged mass that we still can’t see threatens to demolish the ship of state.”
Ed Jacobs is contributing editor at Left Foot Forward
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