Posted on March 03 2017
President Donald Trump tweeted a photo of Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The pair is seen smiling and enjoying coffee and donuts in the image.
The President shared the photo on Friday in response to repeated calls from Democrats for investigation into alleged ties between Trump, his campaign staff, and the Russian government.
Putin and the Russian government engaged in hacking and propaganda operations in an effort to influence the results of the 2016 election according to the U.S. intelligence community, which has briefed both Presidents Trump and Obama, as well as Congress, on the matter.
Though no evidence linking Trump to Russian activity has yet emerged, opponents of the new administration have leveled a number of allegations against top capaign advisors and administration officials.
Last month, newly appointed NSA advisor Mike Flynn, a former military general, was forced to step down after congressional Democrats learned of a telephone call between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador in December 2016, after the election had concluded.
The red scare continued this week as Democrats accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of lying under oath about Russian contacts during his confirmation hearing. Asked by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) about a CNN story linking the Trump campaign to Russian agents -- a report that has since been discredited as false, or "fake news" -- Sessions responded that he was not aware of any interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"I'm not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians," Sessions told the Senate committee.
House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, joined Schumer and other Democrat leaders in calling for Sessions' resignation and a criminal investigation late Wednesday night and Thursday after two meetings between then-Senator Sessions and the Russian Ambassador were found on his official schedule. Sessions and his staff maintain that these meetings were part of Sessions' normal duties as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Attorney General faces no criminal charges at this time, and Sessions recused himself from any potential investigations related to matter. "I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States," Sessions told reporters.
The White House released a statement following Sessions' press conference on Thursday. "Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional," President Trump said in the statement, later tweeted and posted to Facebook as well.
"This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!"