Throughout the past year, special counsel investigator Robert Mueller has dug deeper into the 2016 presidential election after the US intelligence committee publically confirmed Russia’s interference. This investigation has exposed lies to the FBI, secret meetings, phone calls, overseas contacts, and more. With all of the breaking news regarding politics, it is increasingly difficult to keep track of everything that has happened. However, it is more important now than ever before.
June 9, 2016, was one of the first major events revealed during the investigation. This event is known as the Trump Tower meeting. According to CNN, the Trump team denied that there were any contacts with Russians during the campaign. Mr. Trump stated, “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does." However, it was soon divulged by The New York Times that Donald Trump Jr. (joined by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman) met with a Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was connected to the Kremlin during the campaign (New York Times). This means that three people involved in the president’s 2016 campaign were having relations with Russia. Furthermore, Trump Jr. had been promised information to hurt the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Despite Kushner, Manafort, and Trump Jr. denying any collusion, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has told conflicting stories.
Another impactful event was the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017. James Comey was the man who was overseeing a federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. The White House originally claimed that Comey was fired for mishandling the Clinton email investigation, but the president himself later admitted that he was thinking about Russia when he decided to fire Comey. NBC’s Lester Holt interviewed President Trump when Mr. Trump explained why he felt Comey should be fired, and it rebutted the white house’s claim. The president stated that, “ ‘I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won’ ” (Washington Post). This quote is one of the pieces of evidence proving the firing of Comey was quite possibly done in an attempt to halt the Russia investigation. Nonetheless, it instead spiraled into a series of events that led to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. CNN's chief political correspondent Dana Bash expressed, “that just gives you a sense of how impulsive this firing was and it really did backfire”.
Lastly, the dossier was one of the biggest bombshells dropped, weeks before Trump took office. “During a briefing by the nation's top intelligence chiefs similar to the one then-President Barack Obama had, Trump was told about a collection of memos, written by a respected former British spy, that alleged widespread collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and that the Russians had compromising personal information on Trump” (CNN Politics). This was soon published online for the world to see. Certain aspects of the Dossier, such as claims relating to conversations with foreign nationals, have been confirmed, and US investigators are still searching to find more truth within the document. One thing is for certain though, Mueller and his team’s investigation on the links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has already secured four guilty pleas and 14 indictments (NYTimes).
Now in the present, Mueller has recently subpoenaed the Trump organization, demanding documents regarding Russia. “The order is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding records directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president” (NY Times). Mueller’s reasons for subpoenaing these documents are unclear, but there is no sign that the administration plans to fight Mueller’s order. Even so, some members of this administration may find themselves on the witness stand in the coming months, possibly leading to an indictment for the president himself.