Blowback for Trump

 31 Oct 2017 - 12:22

The Peninsula

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s assertions that his forces didn’t use chemical agents in the attacks on the town of Khan Sheikhun this month didn’t stand the test of reason from the beginning. But scientific proof has emerged now that he did use poisonous gas. French intelligence has identified the chemical ‘signature’ of the Syrian government at the site of the attack.

The elections that brought Donald J Trump to power last year will likely be remembered as the most eventful. Presidential historians and political scientists are already at it to decipher how the maverick tycoon queered the pitch for a candidate considered smartest at the hustings. Amid tomes about Hillary’s electoral debacle, and her publicly chronicled struggle to fight post-defeat blues, the glare of the election saga was never dimmed — not even by the high-level rantings of the president or the boisterous Republicans who proclaimed from the White House top about the harm wrought by the previous administration’s policies.

And now Trump’s election campaign is facing the legal heat, about nine months after he moved into the White House — bubbling, overconfident, and sometimes belligerent. That the firing of FBI Director James Comey whom Trump tried to influence in a probe linked to Russia would prove his undoing was quite certain, but that the investigation would creep up to him in this way is quite surprising.

The alleged Russian connection has been haunting Trump since he upset the apple cart for Democrats who were out to claim his scalp in an election largely influenced by the working class from the south of the United States. Three persons including Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort and business partner Rick Gates have been charged with conspiracy against the United States, money laundering and making false statements. They were the first indictments to be made public by special counsel Robert Mueller since he took over the Russia probe in May.

Trump and the White House yesterday denied collusion with the Kremlin after news broke of the charges brought in by Special Counsel Muller. President Donald Trump remained defiant and said the charges were from years ago. That Americans had chosen to allow the maverick Trump lead their country initially overrode concerns about the Kremlin’s  meddling in the vaunted US democratic exercise.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied that the indictments of the two former campaign officials in any way indicated that the US president was hand in glove with the Kremlin in getting his Democratic rival defeated in the race for the White House. Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president’s campaign or campaign activity, Sanders told a news briefing adding that they have been saying from day one there’s no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

Though Trump keeps deriding his rival as “crooked Hillary”, often trying to deflect the heat of the probe on her, he probably knows what is coming at him. Muller’s charge sheet that contains 12 counts is just the beginning of a process that is likely to turn the tables on Trump who may find it difficult to face the approaching onslaught.