Mueller Investigates Russian Meddling

Felix+Lugo+%E2%80%9919+shares+his+opinions+regarding+the+Mueller+Investigation.

Rahma Tasnim

Felix Lugo ’19 shares his opinions regarding the Mueller Investigation.

In a January 2017 report, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and National Security Agency (NSA) collectively determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin had influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. This report also stated that Russia’s goals were to undermine the democratic process and discredit Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The FBI investigation of Russian involvement officially started in July 2016. The investigation progressed when charges were brought against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, allowing the FBI to breach Trump’s inner circle. Flynn was charged and found guilty of lying to the FBI about his conversations with the former Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. President Trump had allegedly told FBI Director James Comey to “back off” in regards with investigating Flynn.

A.P. U.S. History teacher Mr. Fredric Schorr said, “The fact that we have an independent investigation is a credit to America’s democratic nature, and the fact that our president is trying to interfere in said investigation is a discredit to us.”

This indictment is particularly significant because it happened during Trump’s presidency rather than during his election. Even more attention was brought to the issue when Trump allegedly attempted to interfere with then Comey’s investigation of Michael Flynn by firing Comey. The public outcry that ensued led to the appointment of former FBI Director Mueller as Special Counsel for the Russia Investigation.

Frankly, I have not been impressed with the Trump Administration’s response so far. [Those] people seem more concerned with denying that tampering benefited President Trump’s election than with initiating steps to prevent more hacking and interference. Everyone should be concerned about this state of affairs,” said Dr. Todd Davis, an A.P. U.S. History and A.P. U.S. Government teacher.

Mr. Schorr’s A.P. U.S. History student, Felix Lugo ’19 shared similar sentiments. “The fact that the President has actively persecuted every person who is looking into his suspicious activity is extremely alarming. He is attempting to strong-arm the world with no regard to the hard-set rules of government and diplomacy,” said Lugo.

After the FBI interviewed former Trump Campaign Adviser George Papadopoulos was found guilty for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian foreign officials. He had  Both Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted on many different charges, specifically those related to their lobbying work with the Ukrainian government.

Frankly, I have not been impressed with the Trump Administration’s response so far.”

Since then, Richard Pinedo has been charged and found guilty of identity fraud that was connected to Russian interference via social media. A few days after that, thirteen Russian officials and three defendants were indicted for Russian interference in the 2016 election. That same day, Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was indicted for lying to the investigators about having discussions with Gates. On February 22, 2018, former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump Aide Richard Gates were indicted on new money laundering charges. The charges brought against Manafort replaced the one in October 2017 regarding the Ukrainian lobbying. Gates agreed to a guilty plea and cooperation deal with the investigation.

In January 2018, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. This was as a result of excerpts from ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’ by Michael Wolff that quoted Bannon calling Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting at Trump Tower with Russians “treasonous.” Bannon was able to get private interviews with the prosecutors in exchange for complete cooperation. A turning point in the investigation may come as FBI agents raided Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen’s home and office. This is significant because the information found may possibly reveal the extent to which Trump’s campaign was involved in Russian election meddling.

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