From the get-go, Donald Trump’s presidency has been loaded up with scandals that have enraged his Democrat opponents and challenged the willingness of Beltway Republicans to stand by him. The growing pile of federal investigations and news reports reached a boiling point with Trump’s firing of James Comey. In case you can’t keep everything straight, here’s what’s happened so far and who in Trump’s circle is being investigated.
Paul Manafort: Trump’s former campaign chair is currently being investigated as part of the FBI’s look into potential connections between Trump’s campaign and Russia’s attempt to sway the presidential election. The Justice Department has subpoenaed Manafort’s bank records to look for potential payments that he might have received from Russia during the campaign.
Carter Page: The Washington Post reported in April that the FBI had obtained a warrant to monitor Trump’s former campaign adviser as part of their Russia investigation. A dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer and cited by House Dem Adam Schiff claimed that Page had met with Russian business executives linked to Putin during a visit to Moscow in July 2016.
Michael Flynn: A retired three-star general, Flynn was selected as Trump’s first national security adviser before he was fired in February. The dismissal came after it was discovered Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. The scandal surrounding Flynn deepened after the House Oversight Committee said they had reason to believe Flynn received payments from the Russian and Turkish governments.
Conflicts of Interest: Since winning the election, ethics experts have criticized Trump for failing to provide a sufficient plan for addressing conflicts of interest between his presidency and his many business interests, whom he has handed over to his sons, Donald and Eric. The White House also faced criticism when senior adviser Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka Trump’s merchandise on Fox News. The State Department also deleted a blog post promoting Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. Trump has at least one lawsuit claiming he has violated the Emoluments Clause, which forbids the president from receiving foreign money through his businesses, something POTUS’ critics say he can do by having foreign officials stay at his hotels.
Russia Oval Office Visit: The Washington Post reported that Trump disclosed a highly classified intelligence to Russian officials during a White House visit, handing over a source that provided the U.S. with information on ISIS. The disclosure has reportedly frustrated the intelligence community, with whom the president has established a tense relationship.
Jeff Sessions: After admitting he had not disclosed meetings with a Russian ambassador during the election to Congress, the former Alabama senator and current Attorney General recused himself from any investigations into Trump-Russia connections. After Comey’s firing, 11 Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, asked the Justice Dept. to investigate whether Sessions had violated his recusal pledge after Trump announced he had consulted Sessions on firing the FBI director.
James Comey: The former FBI Director Comey has claimed that Trump asked to end the bureau’s investigation into Michael Flynn in private meetings that have raised concerns about possible obstruction of justice — especially since the president’s team gave conflicting accounts of the reasoning for Comey’s dismissal in May.