by Mike Sutter
The administration of President Donald Trump has been anything but ordinary, and the past week has been its most tumultuous thus far.
The week began with a report linking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, stating that Sessions met with Kislyak twice last year while Sessions was still a senator and Trump was still on the campaign trail.
As attorney general, Sessions presides over the Justice Department and the FBI, which are the two entities chiefly responsible for investigating Russia’s meddling in the presidential election as well as Trump’s alleged connections to the Kremlin.
In response to the report, Sessions recused himself from all investigations relating to the matter. His decision was met with support from even the most ardent conservatives in Washington, including Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has been one of the most hardline conservatives in the House since his first election in 2008.
Sessions, while under oath during his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, stated that he had no contact with Russia. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has posited that Sessions committed perjury and should resign from his position.
Next, a report was published indicating Vice President Mike Pence used a private AOL email address to handle Homeland Security issues during his tenure as Governor of Indiana.
The significance of this stems mainly from the Trump campaign’s frequent discussion on the campaign trail of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the security concerns it raised. It also means that the emails within that AOL account are not searchable on state servers, effectively making his political dealings private from the state.
Finally, Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower, his skyscraper office building located in New York City, during the election. He made this accusation via Twitter while in his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s accusation seems to come in spite of the fact that a wiretap could have been ordered by the Justice Department as the result of a court finding probable cause. If that is the case, then it is possible that Trump was legitimately under investigation. Trump’s accusation also disregards the fact that a President cannot unilaterally order a wiretap.
It is worth noting that the day before Trump’s tweets, Breitbart News reported conservative radio host Mark Levin’s claim that Obama was perpetrating a “silent coup” of Trump during the campaign. This is part of a larger pattern of Trump’s Twitter largely echoing the reports of conservative news outlets regardless of their authenticity or source.
FBI Director James Comey has asked the Justice Department to reject Trump’s allegations of wiretapping. It is unprecedented for the head of the FBI to question the President in such a way.
In typical Trump fashion, his administration has doubled down on their position. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has stated that Trump does not accept Comey’s statement and that the wiretapping needs to be investigated by the House Intelligence Committee.