Russian President Putin is the new bogeyman for American lawmakers and the media. Almost all revile him, but one: President Donald Trump! No surprise then why the Russian bear hovers menacingly upon America. Go figure. Or follow the lead whose footprints end at the door of the White House.
Maxine Waters is 78 years old. The wiry African-American congresswoman from California has served in the House of Representatives for the past 27 years. Speaking truth to power, she’s the first Democrat to cast a stone at President Trump. “This man is questionable,” she tells CNN. “And because we have suspicions… many of us… about who he is, where he came from, what his actions are, and all of his conflicts ... we have to find out more about him and some of that leads to the possibility of impeachment.” On January 31, Waters, who has worked under five presidents, introduced a bill demanding an investigation into Trump’s three cabinet members with close ties to Russia telling the media that just under two weeks, Trump has “unnerved our allies, challenged our values, and brought so much instability and chaos to our country.” The chaos, she says, pleases only one person: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi too chips in “I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump,” she says. “We have to have that investigation by the FBI into his financial, personal and political connections to Russia, and we want to see his tax returns so we can have truth in the relationship between Putin, whom he admires.” Curiously enough, the itchy fingers of President Trump desist lambasting the two congresswomen on his Twitter post. Nor does he resort to name-calling as is his monomania. Perhaps he has bigger fish to fry this Monday. He attacks the polls that show most Americans challenging his Muslim immigrant and refugee travel ban as “fake news,” tweeting “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.” Later he lashes out at stories gone viral about his chief strategist Steve Bannon, who many say, is the real president: “I call my own shots,” tweets Trump, “largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some fake news media, in to marginalise, lies!” Trump is incensed with Time Magazine’s cover that shows a scary portrait of Bannon with the headline: The great manipulator. Inside, damning quotes from his former colleagues at Breitbart News where Bannon headed the extreme-right fire-breathing journal, refer to him as “one of the worst people on God’s green Earth,” and “He is legitimately one of the worst people I’ve ever dealt with.” Bannon, a promoter of conspiracy theories, is known to be “ideologically driven” pushing his “misogynist, xenophobic, and racist” views.
Readers may remember that last summer, explosive details by former British MI6 spy Christopher Steele claimed in a 36-page dossier, that the Russian government was in possession of compromising material on Trump. A claim angrily denied by Trump as “fake news.” Still, it does the rounds among high-ranking government officials, intelligence agencies and journalists. Ten days before his inauguration this January, the scandal becomes public when CNN makes a big splash with ‘breaking news’ in prime time. An hour later, BuzzFeed, a New York-based Internet media outlet, goes ahead and publishes the unconfirmed dossier, describing the allegations as “unverified.” Trump again reacts sharply with his Twitter, firing a warning shot: “As far as BuzzFeed, which is a failing pile of garbage… I think they’re going to suffer the consequences.”
The weirdest news comes from the Republican-dominated Congress. Despite 17 federal intelligence agencies concluded as early as last June that Russia meddled in the US elections when it hacked the Democratic leaders email accounts, in a bid to help Trump’s presidential win, there is radio silence from these legislators on Capitol Hill.
This week’s editorial in The New York Times (NYT) calls the “bromance” between Trump and Putin as a source of “puzzlement and alarm” getting “even more disturbing” with Trump refusing to call Putin a “killer.” The president shut up his Fox News interviewer: “You got a lot of killers [in the US]… What, you think our country’s so innocent?” He repeats the last line twice. Reacting to yet another story in NYT that describes the disarray, infighting and power grabbing inside the Oval Office, Trump blasts the newspaper that only two months ago he praised as “a great, great American jewel, world jewel.” Now, Trump is back to tweeting: “The failing NYT writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!”
Why Congress Should Impeach Donald Trump is the latest invocation by a retired judge and co-authored by the president of ‘Free speech for People’ in Time Magazine. The two men allege that Trump is in direct “violation” of the foreign-emoluments clause of US Constitution. He has not cut ties with his businesses leading to “unprecedented corruption of the Oval Office.” A defiant Trump throws the law at his critics saying that as President “I can run my business 100 per cent, sign checks on my business.” Because the law is “totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” However, more than 575,000 people have petitioned Congress to move forward with an impeachment investigation of President Trump due to his apparent conflicts of interest that become increasingly apparent.
Trump’s alleged ties with Russia or his business conflicts of interest aside, the last straw that can break Donald Trump’s grip on power is taking on the judges. He may well face an unceremonious end.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2017.
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