For the second time in nearly as many weeks, Trump’s administration has been rocked by allegations of fraternisation with Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been caught in a lie by omission, after stating in his swearing-in ceremony that he had not met with Russians. In fact he met with ambassador Kislyak twice during the election.
Although Sessions states that he did not lie, as he met with the ambassador in his Senate capacity, rather than as a member of Trump’s campaign team, the damage control has not been successful.
The reason for this is that the United States is descending back into the red scare that characterised the administrations of Truman and his fellow Cold War presidents. The Republican party was alert to the point of paranoia to presence of Soviet sympathisers in and around the administration.
Today that same fear is manifesting itself in a much more tangible way. Even the faintest whisper of affiliation with Russia is enough to taint a career beyond salvation.
Given the allegations of Russia’s role in last year’s election, the dubious intentions of those who liaised with Kremlin officials should rightly be questioned given that US intelligence organisations have proven that Russia sought to undermine Clinton’s bid for the presidency, in support of Trump.
Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia that had left her on death’s door. She was a key player in covering up a paedophile ring operating out of a pizza restaurant in Washington. In contrast, Trump was lauded with the divine right of kings and supported by the Pope himself. We must ask how complicit Trump’s campaign was in the devisal and implementation of these tactics.
This in turn opens up the potential of a return to the politically relentless phenomenon of McCarthyism. Although both Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions have actually fraternised with Russia, the way in which they have been accused and pursued is reminiscent of the vitriol and pace with which politicians and their associates were accused of Society sympathising in the 1950s.
For these reasons, Sessions’ failure to disclose the meetings he had with Kislyak compound the Cold War-esque hysteria that appears to be clouding the House and Senate and threatens to seep into the Oval Office. It will be interesting to see if the president embraces scrutiny, or slams the door and battens down the hatches. That in itself will be as telling as the official investigation itself.
Sessions may be guilty of only a lie by omission rather than an overt denial, but the consequence is equally damaging given the hyper-sensitivity in Washington at the moment.
If Trump winning the presidency was akin to America tripping over a hurdle and breaking its leg, this post-inauguration period is the awkward moment where the cast is removed and we realise the leg might never be the same. Sessions’ is applying a pressure that cannot be withstood; the threat of a third red scare.
Charlotte Smith is a member of Bright Blue and a Researcher in the House of Commons. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily those of Bright Blue.