For the last two years, it seems like U.S. President Donald Trump has made headlines almost every day. Trump’s relationship with the Russians, President Putin in particular, has always been under close surveillance. Allegations have been tossed around since his election, claiming that Russian hackers were involved in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but Trump continues to deny these claims. Recently, however, these claims have resurfaced, and it is important to be educated on the history of the situation before going any further.
Before tackling whether Russia was involved in Trump’s campaign, it is important to note the activity of Russian hackers in the U.S. The Russian government has used their own money to fund media outlets that would negatively portray Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential race. Russia Today, a Russian television network, routinely focused on Clinton’s leaked emails, accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, as well as her ties to Islamic extremists. Additionally, Russian hackers have stolen and leaked thousands of emails, all of which is described by the Washington Post as “an embarrassing look at Democratic Party operations.”
It appears that Russia was involved in some American propaganda, but what exactly are U.S. officials investigating? Robert Mueller, the FBI’s new director, is leading a criminal inquiry for the Department of Justice in the attempt to find any links or coordination between President Trump’s campaign and the Russian Government.
Now the question is not whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, but whether they conspired with the Russians. Investigators are trying to determine whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russian hacker agents to hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email accounts, which would be a violation against the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Members of Trump’s campaign have said that they have had meetings with Russian officials or individuals tied with the Russian Government, but for all we know these meetings very well may have been lawful.
Most people fail to dig deeper into many of the accusations and automatically assume that President Donald Trump had Russian hackers rig the election to help him win. However, this is simply not the case. FBI Director Robert Mueller has been questioning and digging for months to try to find any conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the election. Although Trump’s campaign members did meet with high ranking Russian officials, there is no evidence that links the leaked DNC emails from the Russians to President Donald Trump. Currently, Mueller is still carrying out this investigation in order to be extra certain that there is no correlation between Russian hackers and Donald Trump winning the election.
If President Trump is found guilty, what will happen next? Well, the U.S. Constitution states that the President and other officials “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Although treason and bribery are straightforward, it is difficult to determine exactly what “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” are since it is not specified in the Constitution. The process of Trump’s impeachment would first go to the House of Representatives, in which the Democrats hold the majority. Then it would be passed to the Senate, where the Republicans have the majority. However, the American justice was founded upon the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Thus far, President Donald Trump has not been proven guilty of conspiring with Russians to hack the DNC, and until other information is shown to prove his involvement, Donald Trump will remain President of the United States
“Russia, Trump, and the 2016 U.S. Election.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, www.cfr.org/backgrounder/russia-trump-and-2016-us-election.
Schallhorn, Kaitlyn. “Trump and the Russia Investigation: What to Know.” Fox News, FOX News Network, www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-and-the-russia-investigation-what-to-know.
Gerstein, Josh, et al. “Trump Russia Scandal.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 5 Dec. 2018, www.politico.com/news/trump-russia-scandal.