An energized press and an increasingly restive Congress are ramping up challenges to the Trump administration as evidence mounts of troubling connections between the fledgling presidency and the Russian government.
On Capitol Hill, momentum is building for the creation of at least a bipartisan select committee to seek more information about private contacts between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian officials as well as attempts by Russian intelligence services to influence last year’s U.S. elections. An independent commission, like the ones created to investigate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also is on the table.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said a full-on investigation of Flynn’s Russia contacts is “highly likely,” though he continued And during an appearance this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” McConnell delivered a pointed rebuttal to administration suggestions that the President’s executive orders on immigration are not subject to review in the courts.
“I mean, under the Constitution, all of our actions are subject to judicial review,” McConnell said.
“All of the president’s actions?” host Joe Scarborough asked.
“Yes, all of us, both Congress and President and that's, of course, happening,” McConnell said.
Meanwhile, the two top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee put partisanship aside to announce that their ongoing probe of Russia’s election hacking will be broadened to cover contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
And on ABC’s “Good Morning America” today, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if allegations about Russian interference in U.S. elections are proven “Russia needs to pay a price… And any Trump person who was working with the Russians in an unacceptable way also needs to pay a price.”
There was more trouble for Trump in a New York Times report this morning that “phone records and intercepted calls” show that the President’s campaign team “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.”
The Times said “the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.”
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Voting and Elections