The US ‘Russiagate’: The President Should Be Held Accountable

It seems the chaos surrounding “Russiagate” that is affecting the government in the United States will continue for a while.

Last week, former FBI Director James Comey delivered his testimony to Congress regarding his discussions with President Trump.* He covered topics ranging from Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election to the suspiciously close relationships with Russia among the high-ranking members of the Trump team.

According to Comey’s testimony and the documents previously presented, Trump approached him this past February about an investigation targeting one of the president’s close aides, and said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey explained that he received instruction from the president to stop the investigation.

In addition, on top of being asked this past January if “he wanted to stay on as FBI director,” Comey was also repeatedly told to prove his loyalty toward Trump. Comey recalled being worried about the independence of the FBI. Then, after that talk, he was suddenly dismissed as director.

If we take this testimony to be the truth, then it’s likely Trump will create even more suspicion in order to put pressure on the investigation and protect himself and his associates. Not only will this action shake the very foundation of democracy, but it also obviously calls into question his behavior as president.

However, opinion is split even among experts on whether Trump’s comments to Comey amount to “obstruction of justice” and fulfill the requirement for impeachment. Suspicion over “Russiagate” covers a wide variety of topics; from here on, a special prosecutor will be investigating from a neutral standpoint, and Congress will be asked to clarify the whole situation.

In response to Comey’s testimony, Trump adopted his usual habit and attacked on Twitter, saying the testimony contained “so many false statements and lies.” If Comey was lying to the court, he would have been committing perjury, and that indicates there must be some truth in what he said.

Instead, shouldn’t Trump himself show some accountability in front of Congress, a press conference, or some other public place? Sending messages one-sidedly on Twitter can’t even be called an explanation.

Trump’s chain of suspicious activities has greatly harmed the international community’s trust in the U.S. as a leader of democracy. During the election, his slogan was “Make America Great Again,” yet he’s brought about the completely opposite result. There’s no greater irony than this.

*Editor’s note: This article was written shortly after the Comey testimony before Congress in June, but the editors feel that its perspective is still relevant.

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