Several months after his inauguration as the US president, allegations of Russian meddling to change the election result in favor of Donald Trump continue to weigh in on his presidency. The FBI, the Senate and the House Intelligence Committees are still investigating Russia's alleged interference in the US election and any possible ties between Trump’s associates and Moscow. Press TV has talked to Republican Virginia State Senator Richard Black, as well as research associate at MIT Security Studies Program Jim Walsh, to get their opinions on these accusations.
Richard Black believes that these allegations are an effort to “demonize” Russia and to “purge conservatives who desire to make peace" from the US administration, adding that they provide a “very convenient excuse” for the failure of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
There is no doubt, he said, that Russia was quite interested in the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election, but there is no evidence to suggest that Trump officials colluded with Moscow to sway the results.
According to the analyst, Russia did not hack the US election. Rather, it hacked into top secret emails and disclosed corruption.
He went on to say the American people should know about the “interworking” of their government; and therefore, it is not important how that information is revealed.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Black denounced the dismissal of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s, reasoning that it was his job to be in contact with Russia and all major players in the world.
“Flynn was a very important individual because for the first time, we had someone in that position whose desire was to achieve peace rather than to promote war on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar all over the Middle East. I think it was essential for neoconservatives to get him out of office, and to get someone in who would toe the party line and would continue this unending war against the Middle East,” he stated.
“There was no problem with people talking to Russians until after this election. And all of a sudden, they have demonized people simply for having conversations with people in other countries – countries with whom we have friendly relations, including Russia,” he said in conclusion.
Meanwhile, Jim Walsh, the other panelist attending the debate, opined that Russia had in fact tried to influence the US election outcome, but whether or not the Trump administration had any ties with Moscow was an open issue being investigated.
He also condemned US past involvements in other countries’ elections, asserting that no country has the right to undermine an election.
“The US clearly tried to interfere illegally in an Iranian election back in the 1950s. We did it in South America. During the Cold War, there was a lot of that stuff. The question is whether you are doing it legally or illegally and I would oppose all illegal interference in any country’s electoral process. That does not mean it is okay for Russia to try to intervene illegally in US election,” he said.
Walsh further maintained that the reason why Flynn was fired was because he lied about his connections to Russians.
He also dismissed as “absurd” the idea that Russia’s alleged hacking attempts had anything to do with Hillary Clinton, asserting that given the small margin, different factors could have tipped the election one way or another.
“It has never been my opinion that the Russians caused Trump to be elected,” the analyst stated.
Walsh concluded by saying that the United States and Russia should cooperate on areas of agreement in order to help tackle the problems, adding that in other areas where they disagree, the two countries should compete against each other which is “the nature of great power politics."