Within the blizzard of orders, actions and controversies produced during the first month of the Trump presidency, this troubling, unanswered question stands out to us.
What exactly is the relationship between President Trump and members of his administration and Vladimir Putin and Russia?
Only through hearings by a committee or committees of Congress do we believe Americans will find out what this is all about.
In a December 30 editorial, we called on then-President-elect Trump to support bipartisan congressional investigation into exactly what happened with respect to the charge of Russian involvement in the election for president. A CIA assessment concluded Russia employed computer hacking in an attempt to interfere with November's election.
In the wake of events and reports since then, we support a broader congressional probe within this area, encompassing investigation of alleged contacts between Trump associates (this includes former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn) and Russian officials before Trump's inauguration.
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Some within Congress have called for an independent investigation, patterned along the lines of the 9/11 commission. To this point, we believe congressional involvement can produce answers Americans deserve to have.
Whether a congressional probe is directed by a special House-Senate investigative committee or takes place within the oversight responsibilities of multiple House and Senate committees (several House and Senate committees have begun investigations) is up to Congress. Action by Congress should be expeditious, thorough, transparent and free of politics.
In the end, a congressional inquiry may reveal nothing nefarious, but enough suspicions and charges have been raised about Trump-Russia ties in recent months to warrant action.
We support improved relations between the U.S. and Russia, but not at the expense of security or other national interests.