Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of the Collegian or its editorial board.
As we start to get to know the Trump administration a bit better, now at just about a month and a half in things are starting to fall apart.
Between the absurd claims of wiretapping by the Obama administration (which was said so confidently, yet with no evidence) to the continued concern over executive members connection to Russia, it appears there is a thorough sense of confusion and inconsistency in the White House and other agencies. The departure of Michael Flynn (an equally bizarre event) was an early sign of the trouble to come to the Trump administration in regards to Russia.
One of these extraordinary events has been the recent drama with recently appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions has been a controversial character from the start, leading this to become a highly contested issue.
The problem lies in a statement he made during his Senate confirmation hearing. After being asked what he would do if he found evidence of anyone affiliated with the Russian government communicating with members of the Trump campaign, Sessions responded that he was unaware of any communications and did not have any himself.
Now that certain information has been revealed, we know now that Sessions did indeed meet with Russian representatives. In classic politician fashion, Sessions is trying to spin this event, or responsibility, as being a part of his work as a senator.
There is some evidence of this, especially of other senators mixing with other foreign dignitaries, but the question remains, why did he lie? Or if anything, frame his answer the way he did? If he misunderstood the questions, why did he not clarify it, especially with such a pertinent issue in American politics at the moment?
Sessions recused himself from any investigations involving Russia and the Trump administration, which was absolutely necessary, but if that means his personal ties to this controversial issue are too great, are there bigger problems that are being hidden? Whether Sessions completely perjured himself is unknown, but events that have transpired call for Sessions to further go into detail about his relationship with the Russian ambassador.
This is incredibly unique for American politics. The daily updates of crazy news and new controversies coming out of the White House is exhausting and hard to keep up with. Under any other administration the amount of controversy taking place would simply not be tolerated.
Some may argue that it doesn’t matter what controversy we have in government, only that it is important that things are changing. This widely held view that our government and members of government need to be overhauled and are inherently corrupt was made clear during election season by the public, so perhaps this is just a way of getting there. I don’t believe this is a viable option to reach that goal.
Members of the executive branch are clearly positioned in a moral gray area with their previous connections. Betsy DeVos and her obscenely large campaign contributions to senators that eventually voted for her confirmation, such as Colorado’s own Cory Gardner. Rex Tillerson and his international business connections. Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump’s connection to Russian politicians. These private relationships coming from public figures is incredibly disturbing and is something should be crystal clear to the public.
Transparency is what the movement for a better government this past election cycle was all about. This is so clearly the opposite. I worry that if the concerns over these business and political connections and interests are not investigated, the American people will be hijacked into supporting the financial and political elite further into their endeavors. Just as there is no way to know currently if they are all lying, there is no way to know that they are telling the truth without further investigations and continuing to encourage checks and balances.
If those fail, this is not the America I was taught.
Alexandra Stettner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at @alexstetts.