The 2016 election, in addition to stirring up controversy and a significant number of protests, has sparked a wave of conspiracy theories involving Russian interference in the results of the election. In light of recent discoveries by the FBI, these previously unfounded allegations have begun to involve Trump, Papadopoulos, Putin and Mueller in what could be an international scandal.
Since 2015, allegations have been leveled against Russian Federal Security Service accusing them of interfering in the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election and hacking into the network of the Democratic National Committee. In April 2016, Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate gained access to the DNC network as well to gain information on Clinton and her burgeoning campaign. Many other events regarding Russia and the election resulted in the FBI launching a counterintelligence operation in July 2017 to investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016.
In October, the US government publicly announced that they were confident that Russia orchestrated the cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee. Furthermore, CNN writes that, “investigators also found digital footprints of individuals tied to the Russian government who had been on intelligence agencies radar before”.
Despite the mounting evidence, Trump continuously denied any interference from Russia. In an article by the NY Times, Trump recently stated, “You can only ask so many times. I just asked him again. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.”
However the truth behind Trump’s statements is questionable considering that former campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, has recently pleaded guilty to meeting with Russian officials. In a case deciding whether or not Papadopoulos lied to the FBI about colluding with Kremlin-connected sources who had information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Papadopoulos confirmed his involvement. This shattered Trump’s claims that he had nothing to do with Russian officials or intelligence.
News of this possible scandal has pervaded local communities and schools across the nation. Joseph Jasperse, a freshman at Richard Montgomery stated, “The multiple layers of evidence that the FBI has provided along with Papadopoulos’ guilty plea has convinced me that Trump’s claims are false especially since Trump’s admittance to Russian association could deeply affect him and his career. That’s why I think he is in such strong denial and may not be willing to speak the truth.”
Jasperse’s distrust of Donald Trump reflects a larger issue with the U.S. president In 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated that roughly 24 percent of the adult population in the United States trusted the federal government to do what was right most or some of the time. 24 percent is dismally low, especially when the question only calls for the government to do things most of the time.
Along with decline of trust in government, a surface of the discovery that Russia in fact, had something to do with the presidential election could confirm one of Trump’s worst fears. Tampering in the election could ultimately lead to it being de legitimized, something that has potential to incite a worldwide crisis.
Article by Moco Student staff writer Faith Cheung of Richard Montgomery High School