Among the smoke and ashes in the air from most major news outlets this day coming from conflict of interest allegations about Attorney General Sessions and even his having committed perjury, it is hard to breathe. Not hard to believe.
- Trump met with Russian officials in Europe before his inauguration.
- Obama rushed to preserve evidence.
- The trail of evidence exists, and the pursuit persists.
- Trump and associates and Congressional allies obstruct and attempt intervention that is interference.
- Sessions must recuse and now faces charges of lying to Congress that is perjury.
The National Security Daily Brief from Foreign Policy
Thursday, March 2, 2017
By Paul McLeary Adam Rawnsley
Russia ties. Spurred by Intel from European allies that Trump associates were meeting with Russian officials in Europe prior to the inauguration, intercepts of Kremlin officials talking about meetings with Trump officials, and fearful that evidence of Russian meddling in the election would be buried or destroyed, the Obama administration rushed to preserve evidence and spread information about Russian efforts in their final weeks in office.
The New York Times reports that former Obama officials say they had two aims: “to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.” The rush included officials moving to ensure that materials related to Russian activities and contacts with Trump officials were classified at the low levels and information was shared with Congress, to ensure the widest audience possible.
Double trouble. The report comes at the same time as the Washington Post tells us that while still a serving Senator last year, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice met with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, despite telling Congress during his confirmation hearings that he had no contact with Russian officials. Sessions told his confirmation panel that he was unaware of Trump allies having met with Russian officials, and through a spokeswoman, denied that he misspoke to Congress.
The Wall Street Journal adds, “disclosures about Mr. Sessions’ contacts led quickly late Wednesday to demands that he step aside from any investigation involving the Trump administration, or that he resign for failing, to tell the truth during his confirmation hearing.”
FP’s Elias Groll writes that the House Intelligence panel has pledged to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russian government and intelligence officials.
Trump taps critic for post. In a surprising move, “the Trump administration has offered a well-respected scholar and sober critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin the position of White House senior director for Europe and Russia, a White House official told FP’s John Hudson in an exclusive get.
“The decision to hire Fiona Hill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, for one of the government’s top jobs dealing with U.S.-Russia relations is likely to earn bipartisan praise in Congress where Republicans and Democrats have expressed mounting unease with the Trump administration’s apparent contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.”
Foreign Policy, email
David Hicks painting