Before President Donald Trump ran for office, there hadn’t been this much talk of Russia’s relationship with the United States since The Cold War.
The billionaire reality star was noticeable fond of Russia’s communist President Vladimir Putin, but always denied having more than a surface-level appreciation for him.
Fast forward to Wednesday (Mar 1), when it was discovered that our new Attorney General Jefferson Sessions secretly met with a Russian ambassador on two occasions, and lied about this under oath, during his highly publicized confirmation hearing.
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“I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it,” Sessions responded to Sen. Al Franken when first asked about ties to Russia at the hearing.
Sessions now joins the running tally of Trump-appointed officials to have a highly unusual relationship with Russia. Well, highly unusual if not for the fact that all the following entities have financial ties, interests and plans directly linked to the Kremlin.
1. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
According to NBC, Sessions’ spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday night that he had met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. before the presidential election last year in his capacity as a then-senator. She says, “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer” during the hearings because he was referring to the campaign season and not as a senator with the Armed Services Committee. Semantics, right?
Only problem here: The Armed Services Committee doesn’t have a need to communicate with Russia.
As noted by Sen. Claire McCaskill on Twitter, “I’ve been on the Armed Services Com for ten years. No call or meeting with Russian ambassador. Ever. Ambassadors call members of Foreign Relations Committee.”
2. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
Since 2014, the billionaire investor has served as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, which is partly owned by Putin. Questions regarding if Trump or anyone in his cabinet received loans from the bank and Ross has yet to fully flesh out his exit from the role.
“By the way, Wilbur Ross was just confirmed at Commerce 72-27, and he has more Russian connections than Aeroflot,” said Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.
3. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
Another billionaire turned politician, Tillerson actually came from a household name company, ExxonMobil. The relationship between Tillerson and Putin goes back to 1999, when Exxon first made a deal with Russia’s Rosneft oil giant. And in 2013 Tillerson received Russia’s Order of Friendship medal from Putin.
4. The Election of 2017
This historic event is not a Trump official, but worth a mention. President Barack Obama’s administration had evidence of Russian interference on the election that gave a majority win to Hillary Clinton. They apparently fought to keep incriminating evidence about Trump’s ties to Russia in the right hands, for fear of it getting lost in all the chaos.
The fact that they had to “scramble” and “fight” to keep the truth from getting into the wrong hands, is concerning within itself.
5. President Donald Trump
One of Trump’s biggest dissenters has been Rep. Maxine Waters who summed it up perfectly, “Trump cannot assure us no one on his team communicated with Russia last year. What does he know? Where are his taxes? #kremlinklan”