Is Congress Seriously Probing the Trump-Russia Connection?

I
s the House really probing the interference of Russia in the 2016 election, or is it mere political theater? Lawmakers have supposedly begun to review classified information at CIA headquarters, but the Democrats among them are still calling for an independent panel and special prosecutor.

The ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee has declared that “…we cannot allow this to become another Benghazi committee.”

The Democrats are looking for a bipartisan probe that will rise above partisan fray, as for example, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the probe into the Wall Street’s role in the financial crisis. The trust in a bi-partisan probe was shaken when the White House proceeded to enlist the Republican chairs to push back on reports about Trump campaign officials’ contacts with Russia. One of the members of Trump’s transition team, David Nunes, has already declared ahead of time that he has seen no evidence of improper contacts between Trump associates and the Russians.

The Democrats are insisting that in order to work together, there must first be a thorough understanding of what the facts surrounding the investigation, getting the appropriate documentation, interviewing the people in the know.

The committee has already announced March 20 as the date of first hearings. FBI and NSA directors have been invited together with top Obama administration officials. Will they be public? That has already proven difficult as senior intelligence officials have been unable to answer some questions about the Russia probe publicly because of the highly classified details and the risk of revealing the secret ways the U.S. obtained the information. In any case, the finding ought to be public. Without some publicity the suspicion will grow that transparency has been compromised.

It remains to be seen how this tension between transparency, publicity, and need for classification, will be ultimately resolved. In any case most Democrats on the intelligence committee believe that this will be the most important issue they will ever investigate in their political career and they intend to do it right. Stay tuned!

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Emanuel L. Paparella, Ph.D.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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