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OpinionEditorial

Obfuscation threatens Trump presidency

Comedy Central teased

Comedy Central teased "The President Show" by breaking into "The Daily Show" on Wednesday night with a jarring ad designed to look like a hacking. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is demanding immunity against criminal prosecution before he agrees to testify before congressional committees investigating Russia’s involvement with our presidential election and our president’s potential involvement with Russia.

Flynn is Washington’s latest dumpster fire, another sign that the stink from Russia engulfing the Trump administration will not go away anytime soon. Until Trump can remove suspicion of nefarious ties to Russia, he will never get around to the important business of operating the world’s most powerful nation. This scandal is sinking his agenda and diminishing the influence of the United States.

That Russia was working to influence the 2016 presidential election is not even in doubt, but there are more troubling issues. Did Trump’s campaign confidants coordinate those Russian attempts? On whose behalf were Flynn and Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, working when they were talking to the Russians?

In Washington the pattern is often that the cover-up ends up worse than the original sin. In that vein, the White House may have gone too far in trying to cover the president on the widely discredited claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones.

First, the White House tried to claim the British did it. Then there was Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, sharing information with the White House, because it might defuse the Obama wiretapping controversy, that he kept from his committee.

As a result of Trump’s hamfisted claims and obfuscations, we have lost sight of some important questions: Is there truth to the claim that U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring Russians improperly revealed communications by American citizens? Were the contacts Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak legitimate?

We need a government focused on governing. Trump must allow the investigation to move forward. Until the truth is revealed, Trump’s presidency will be in peril. As will Americans’ belief in the integrity of their government.

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