The Trump-Russia Nexus and Sally Yates – NYT Editorial Summary

In Governing and the Cabinet, NATIONAL SECURITY -- articles only, RUSSIA -- articles only On
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The acting director of the F.B.I., Andrew McCabe, told Congress on Thursday that President Trump’s firing of James Comey has not derailed the agency’s investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. Which is good news. Despite Mr. Trump’s assertion that the idea of collusion is “a total hoax,” and despite many unknowns, the links continue to pile up. Here is a partial accounting of the connections we do know something about.

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The Moscow Project has more detail

Republican Smoke Bombs and the Courage of Sally Yates

Ms. Yates recounted how, only days after President Trump took office, she rushed to the White House to inform Mr. Trump’s counsel, Donald McGahn II, that the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others about his conversation with the Russian ambassador. Ms. Yates testified that Mr. Flynn’s behavior exposed him to blackmail.

“To state the obvious,” she said, “you don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians.” Despite the warnings, Mr. Flynn kept his job for 18 more days and was forced to resign only after The Washington Post reported his lies to the vice president.

Other events have since taken over the national consciousness. But in the aftermath of President Trump’s stunning move on Tuesday to fire the F.B.I. director, James Comey, it’s worthwhile for Ms. Yates’s successor — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — to recall the courage and integrity she showed in those chaotic days of late January, when her superiors demanded only loyalty.

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Trump’s Troubles Go Way Beyond Russia

President Trump’s unconscionable decision to fire the director of the F.B.I. in the middle of his investigation of the Trump team’s tangled web of Kremlin dealings prompted calls for the deputy attorney general to appoint an independent prosecutor.

The Russia inquiry should certainly continue. But the deputy, Rod Rosenstein, may be the last person — besides Trump himself or Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who should appoint a prosecutor to lead it.

And the need for independent investigation has moved far beyond the Russia connection, right into the heart of the unfolding ethical and constitutional disaster that is the Trump administration.

Trump’s firing of James Comey as F.B.I. director seems at this early stage like a huge abuse of executive power aimed at derailing an investigation that was coming too close to the White House. And the question of whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to defeat Clinton is now inextricably snarled up with the firing of Comey.

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Who Will Save the Republic?

You have seen them on high, scurrying with great urgency between columns of marble, the clicks of Armani-heeled favor seekers never far behind. You have heard them in the past few days, saying they are “troubled” or “disappointed” about the latest assault on democracy from the White House.

They know enough history to get this: Donald Trump is the first president in history whose campaign has come under federal investigation for collusion with a hostile foreign power. And now the person heading that investigation, the F.B.I. director, has been fired.

We’re looking for a few good men and women in Congress to understand the gravity of this debasement. We don’t need more parsing about the bad “optics” or “timing” of Trump firing the man who could have ended his presidency. We need a Republican in power to call it what it is: a bungled attempt to obstruct justice.

And the tragic part is that Trump is likely to succeed, at least in the short term. The person he chooses for F.B.I. director will never assemble a prosecutable case of treason that leads to the doorstep of this White House.

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