America, as we know it, cannot survive without an independent investigation of Trump and Russia

People frequently say that, at certain times, politicians must choose country over party. Sometimes it is true and sometimes it’s just hyperbole. However, if there has ever been a time when it was true, then the Trump - Russia scandal is it. It has the potential to weigh as heavily on the American consciousness as Watergate and the John F. Kennedy assassination combined.

Most Americans do not really understand what is being investigated and that is part of the problem. The number of players mentioned by various reports is mind boggling. The list includes but is not limited to most high ranking members of the Trump administration and cabinet, almost everyone in Trump’s immediate family, a former member of British Intelligence, a number of Russian officials (some of whom are deceased now), other high ranking Republican elected officials, individuals from the FBI, CIA and the Justice Department, Julian Assange, Russian business and mafia figures, individuals from the so-called “alt-right” and (indirectly - as witnesses not actors) members of the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign. 

Without a thorough, transparent, completely independent and non-partisan investigation during which everything is made clear and no questions are left unanswered, America will never be seen the same way, domestically or internationally. 

America’s allies around the world are currently, no doubt, wondering whether the United States is a reliable partner and whether any intelligence of any kind can be shared. Global intelligence agencies currently have to wonder whether their assets around the world are safe or whether they have been compromised by the current administration, its allies and the leaks springing from every part of the US government. 

More importantly, Americans confidence in their government is currently shaky at best. In many quarters it is already non-existent. America can handle another scandal. Voters can accept that corruption and unethical behavior has taken place, if it is uncovered, exposed and punished. What people can’t handle is not knowing. Anyone who knows American history (or anyone who just remembers) knows that the JFK assassination still breeds conspiracy theories today. The Watergate scandal shook people’s faith in government for years and created an increased appetite for investigative journalism, especially where political scandal is concerned. It is hard to count the number of things that have had a “gate” attached to them in the news cycle since Nixon’s resignation.

However, the Kennedy assassination is 50 years in the past now. Watergate has been over for 40. Most people see those events as part of ancient history and, at least in the case of Watergate, feel like they know what happened and who the players were. 

If Republicans in congress continue to try to sweep this under the rug, to bury it and diminish its importance it will not go away. It will fester and grow and shape people’s feelings about the United States, its government and most especially the Republican Party for decades to come. It will breed conspiracy theories and create deep distrust, not only among American voters but among America’s allies. It will not only impact the feelings of foreign leaders, but shape the way that everyday citizens in countries around the world feel about America. 

I have little doubt at this point that a dark cloud will be cast over parts of the Republican party if this scandal is ever fully exposed but the damage there is done. If the truth doesn’t come out, people will be left to draw their own conclusions, right or wrong, based on whatever information they have been exposed to. Trying to bury it now only makes more people look guilty. 

No one can say that voters in 2016 weren’t already nervous, angry and distrustful of government. America simply can’t bear the weight of the current scandal and remain the same country - not unless every fact of the case is laid bare for the world to see and every person involved in illegal or unethical activity is made to answer for their actions. 

If they have any patriotism, even any honour at all; if they don’t want the United States to be viewed as a corrupt and diminishing world power, on its way to being a banana republic, Republicans in Congress must turn the Trump/Russia investigation over to a special prosecutor. 

That person must be seen as non-partisan and independent and charged with reading every document, interviewing every witness with the full cooperation of everyone involved. They must reveal to congress and the public the full story behind interference in the 2016 election, any and all ties between the administration and Russia and any efforts to cover up wrongdoing. The prosecutor must be allowed to independently subpoena any and all documents and to compel the testimony of anyone who may have knowledge of the issues. Finally, they must be given the power to level charges against anyone involved. 

That is not simply a wish-list from the Democrats. It is the only way forward for the Republican Party and for the United States. 

Next Post »