Trump under investigation

Did Moscow attempt to influence the US elections, and was Trump's campaign team involved? Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russian investigation, is now looking into whether the president himself obstructed justice. Trump has set his own trap, commentators write, and voice concern for the US political system.

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Stuttgarter Zeitung (DE) /

The godfather is trapped

Trump has committed one tactical mistake after another, the Stuttgarter Zeitung points out:

“All his efforts have only brought about the very investigation he was trying to prevent. Only a few weeks ago, then FBI chief James Comey assured the president he would not be investigated in the scandal over alleged illegal discussions with Russia. But that didn't stop Trump from threatening, dismissing and then once again threatening to humiliate Comey. But Trump's worst mistake was to believe he could treat the newly appointed special counsel investigating the Trump affair, Robert Mueller, the same way. ... If Trump now fires Mueller, he will prove just how much of a meddler he is. Impeachment proceedings would be the result. If he doesn't, embarrassing details may come to light. The godfather is trapped.”

Avvenire (IT) /

Hopeless polarisation

The affair over the Trump team's alleged ties to Russia once again highlights how divided US society is, Avvenire comments:

“We must remember, however, that this increasing polarisation didn't start with Trump. ... No doubt Obama's policies met with more consensus and approval than the programmes announced so far by Trump. Nevertheless the fact is that Obama's presidency was anything but unifying, either at home or abroad. ... The election of George W. Bush also divided the US. And even Bill Clinton, who was very popular, was subject to impeachment proceedings over the Lewinsky affair, although they failed to remove him from office. Since then the long, inexorable process that is seeing one part of America drift away from the other seems never-ending. In such a climate there is little hope for American democracy.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Nothing is confidential these days

The torrent of leaks in Washington is a worrying development, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung warns:

“Whether from the White House, judicial circles or the ranks of the opposition - hardly a day goes by without a scandal or pseudo-scandal about Trump being leaked to the media. In the eyes of the public this constant barrage of breaking news may be entertaining, but the Oval Office is not reality TV or a Netflix series. At least when it comes to the work of a special investigator, confidential information must be treated as such - otherwise he won't be able to go about his task undisturbed and then assess whether or not agreements existed between Trump's team and Russia and whether the president really did try to influence the course of justice. Even without leaks the public will learn the answers to these questions sooner or later.”