It is very rare that right wing pundit Erick Erickson and I agree on much of anything. Yet in an op-ed Erickson makes the case that it is crucial that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate Der Trumpenführer's ties to Russia and precisely what transpired in all of the communications between his campaign and Russian intelligence. Erickson doesn't know if Trump, et al, are guilty or not but argues that only a independent prosecutor can get to the bottom of things and set the stage for the nation to move forward on important issues. I have to agree. If Trump proves guilty, let things fall where they may. If not, at least the American public can move on without having doubts about a traitor in the White House. Personally, I suspect that Trump is guilty and needs to be exposed and dealt with extremely harshly. Ditto for his accomplices. Here are op-ed highlights:
The press has long reported that Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's one-time campaign manager, had ties to Russia. Rick Gates, who worked for Manafort at the Republican convention in Cleveland, was named as an "agent of a Ukrainian oligarch" in a 2011 lawsuit. Likewise, Carter Page, a Trump adviser, had ties to Russia.
The intelligence community, through a series of leaks, made clear that members of the Trump campaign had been in contact with Russian agents. Given the pre-existing ties, it begs the question if those contacts were about Trump and the presidential campaign or other matters.
Perhaps there is something to the allegations. Perhaps not. Perhaps, given holdovers from the Obama administration, some in the intelligence community have a vested interest in trying to sabotage Trump's agenda. A few reports in Washington suggest intelligence agents who supported former President Barack Obama's deal with Iran made it their mission to undermine Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser.
There is a lot of speculation, but only a few things are known for certain. We know about the Trump campaign staff ties to Russia. We know about the leaks from the intelligence community. We know there is thus far no evidence of collaboration. We know Democrats are convinced Trump urged Russian cooperation in stealing the election. We know Republicans are convinced members of the intelligence community resistant to change and reform are trying to undermine the president.
We know that Trump won the presidency by winning several states with less than one percent of the vote, which means Democrats have every incentive to raise doubts about the president. We know Trump, based on his own tweets, no longer trusts the intelligence community. We know that members of the intelligence community have previously leaked information to put both Obama and former President George W. Bush on defense.
Given this knowledge, we know this situation is going to breed further distrust. A president must be able to trust the intelligence community. The American people must be able to trust the president won his election without foreign assistance. Americans do not trust Congress, and no congressman has any incentive to get to the truth if it means he is unable to advance his own self-interest.
The logical course here is for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special prosecutor in a limited capacity to examine two questions. First, did the Trump campaign collaborate with Russian intelligence to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign? Second, is the intelligence community leaking information in order to undermine Trump?
Until these questions are answered, the partisan feuding and allegations are only going to get worse. The president's distrust of the intelligence community is going to get worse. That, in turn, will jeopardize the safety of the American people.
The American people deserve better than this. A special prosecutor with no partisan agenda would be the best means of obtaining the truth of the matter. Sessions, for the sake of both the American people's trust in the president and the president's trust in the intelligence community, should appoint a special prosecutor quickly.