What Russia investigation? Trump uses national tragedies to shirk deadline, writer says
Being POTUS can't be easy, but attending to more than one issue at a time is a necessary skill. If you close your eyes, Mr. President, we can still see you.
President Donald Trump has been busy. Two weeks after the hurricane that devastated the U.S. territory Puerto Rico, POTUS finally visited and passed out supplies like paper towels. There was a mass shooting in Las Vegas —another violent tragedy that happens all too often in our country. One thing that Trump seems to have forgotten: the Russia investigation.
In a move punishing Russia for its role in the 2016 election, congressionally approved sanctions against Russia were passed in the summer and Trump signed the bill in August. He also released a statement denouncing the bill as being “seriously flawed” and containing “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” He added, “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars.”
As part of the provisions, the White House, thus Trump, was given a deadline of Oct. 1 to specify the focus of the sanctions, but recent events seem to have “distracted” the Trump administration.
“Congress gave Trump 60 days to spell out which entities belong to Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors,” Eric Boehlert wrote for Shareblue Media. “In recent weeks, Trump has spent his time fuming at black NFL players, the mayor of San Juan, the ‘ingrates’ of Puerto Rico, and, as always, the ‘fake media’ that refuses to give him the praise he thinks he deserves.
“What he did not do is fulfill his obligation set by Congress to issue guidance on Russians sanctions.”
Trump, who has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax, has faced questions about the matter since he took office in January.
Trump was told by former FBI director James Comey that a report compiled by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele contained salacious material about the businessman-turned-president.
"The committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it, who are your sources and sub-sources," Senate panel's chairman Richard Burr said.
Burr said the panel wanted to finish its investigation by the end of the year.
A spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller declined comment. The FBI also declined comment.
Russia has repeatedly denied any meddling in the election.
Although several news organizations, including Reuters, were briefed on Steele's dossier before the election in November, most decided not to report on the material because its inflammatory and sometimes salacious content could not be verified.
In a report published in January, four U.S. intelligence agencies said they took the dossier's allegations seriously.
Separately, three Russian businessmen, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan have sued Washington investigations firm Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson, with allegations that they were libeled in Steele's dossier.
A spokeswoman for Simpson and Fusion GPS declined to comment on the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington.
The lawsuit said that Steele's reports were "gravely damaging" to the businessmen because they accused them "of criminal conduct and alleged cooperation with the 'Kremlin' to influence the 2016 presidential election."
Reuters contributed to this report.