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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

In March of 2017, President Donald Trump instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he should continue to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign, despite Sessions’ recusal on the advice of Justice Department lawyers, according to a new report from the New York Times. Trump reportedly sought to control the investigation that has since led to guilty pleas and indictments from several of his top aides.

“If you don’t think this is obstruction of justice, I can’t help you,” said Republican columnist Rick Wilson of the new report.

Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, and any other investigations touching on the campaign, because of his involvement as a surrogate for Trump. The Times notes that experts in conflict of interest regulations say there is no precedent for overturning or withdrawing a recusal in any similar case.

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“If Trump has nothing to hide, why does he act as if he has everything to hide?” asked New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

During the campaign, Trump and Sessions were close allies. Since the attorney general’s recusal, however, the relationship has soured.

Previous reporting found that Trump had attempted to fire Sessions, presumably so that he would be able to appoint a new attorney general to control the Russia probe. Trump also reportedly asked White House counsel Don McGahn to get Sessions to reverse his recusal himself from the investigation, but McGahn backed off when Sessions explained that the recusal was based on the recommendation of Justice Department lawyers.

The Times has previously reported that special counsel Robert Mueller, who currently is in charge of the investigation, wants to ask Trump about his attempts to interfere with Sessions’ recusal decision.

Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)