Opinion: On Accountability

Despite his departure from the Oval Office three months ago, Donald Trump and his inner circle are still making headlines today. The United States Treasury Department recently levied new sanctions on 32 Russian individuals and entities as a response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Among these announcements lay a previously undiscovered fact: Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate of Paul Manafort, former manager of the 2016 Trump campaign and convicted felon who was pardoned by Trump in the waning days of his presidency, provided Russian intelligence services with internal campaign data during their efforts to interfere in the election. Kilimnik has been recognized by the U.S. government as a Russian intelligence officer, according to a report from the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2020, and shared the data with Russian intelligence. This new statement from the government establishes a link that the Mueller report in 2019 did not.

Yet another episode in a saga that has yet to run its course; the new report from Treasury establishes a channel between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence entities that were seeking to interfere in the election. The data provided by Manafort would have allowed those actors to specifically detail their attempts at disinformation and social media manipulation to change the nature of the election results. For all of the protesting about “no collusion” from members of the Trump campaign, it does seem as though there may have been some under-the-table dealing. 

This is just another example of the illegal and unethical behavior by those that worked in and around the Trump campaign and administration that has been swept under the rug, forgotten about or simply excused, in this case through a pardon from then-President Donald Trump. As one of the most corrupt administrations in modern American history, those individuals who perpetrated these crimes should be held accountable. Indeed, all elected officials should. The United States seems to lack enough political will to bring perpetrators to justice unless it is so obvious that no one can look away. Reform in the area of government oversight is necessary and not simply in the realm of investigation, but enforcement as well. Yet another major example of this comes in the form of the attack on the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. Numerous members of Congress participated in the events leading up to the attempted insurrection, whether through giving speeches, providing assistance in the planning stage, or simply spreading the lie about election fraud for months prior. 

This country continues to lack accountability at levels of government, from the president all the way down to individual policemen. It is time for a better system of responsibility for all of them.


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