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James Pindell | Ground Game

Trump’s only option to get ahead of Russia connection stories

President Donald J. TrumpErik S. Lesser/European Pressphoto Agency

It happened overnight. Stories in the Washington Post andNew York Times  once again raised questions about ties between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. And now there's a bipartisan call for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation involving the matter.

Going further, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Sessions to resign.

Now, if you've watched Trump for the last couple years, then you know it's highly unlikely that Sessions will resign.

The Washington Post reported Sessions met twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the campaign. This might not have been such a big deal -- except Sessions denied any knowledge of the campaign's contact with the Russian government during his recent Senate confirmation hearing.


Legal questions aside, the political reality for Trump should be abundantly clear: the only way he can get in front of his story is to call for a special prosecutor.

For months Trump has denied any Russian involvement in his 2016 campaign victory. But his denial, followed by a quick subject change, may no longer be a tenable position to take. News about his team's connections with Russia have continued to drip and drip, and it's now a political problem for the White House that harms its ability to drive the agenda.

Just consider what happened this week. On Tuesday, Trump drove the news cycle with his joint address to Congress and a report that he could be open to comprehensive immigration reform.

On Wednesday? His speech received strong reviews for its presidential tone and call for unity. Trump had reassured Republicans and apparently investors who pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average over a record level.

But now it's Thursday, and instead of building on that momentum, Trump is one again dealing with questions about Russia. The only way he can clear himself of these questions, however unfair as he sees them, is to have an independent in-depth review of all ties.


If he and his staff are exonerated, it will not only be helpful to his reelection campaign in 2020, but also to those of nervous Republicans on Capitol Hill in 2018.

And those GOP members? He really needs them on his side for the next couple years and beyond.

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