Spotlight: Scandal over Trump's alleged collusion with Russia far from being over

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-20 13:08:16|Editor: Zhou Xin
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WASHINGTON, July 20 (Xinhua) -- As the latest revelation on the alleged collusion of U.S. President Donald Trump with Russia adds to the media fire bedeviling his administration, the ongoing Russia scandal appears to be far from being over.

The White House confirmed on Tuesday that Trump had a second, previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Group of 20 (G20) major economies summit held on July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany.

"There was a couples-only social dinner at the G20," U.S. National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton told ABC news. "Toward the end, the president spoke to Putin at the dinner."

Multiple U.S. media, including the New York Times and CNN, cited a senior White House official as saying that the conversation lasted nearly an hour. Trump said Wednesday it was of a length of 15 minutes.

At a press conference during the G20 Hamburg summit, Putin denied Moscow's interference with the U.S. presidential election last year. "There is no reason to believe that Russia interfered in the U.S. election process," he said.

Recent fuels to media fire on the Russia scandal were also intensified last week when emails surfaced between Trump's son and a Russian lawyer who allegedly had access to compromising information on then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Critics said this is an evidence of collusion of the Trump campaign with Russia, although the lawyer denied having worked for the Russian government.

Democrats kept on accusing Russia of meddling in the U.S. election. "There's no escaping it: the Trump Campaign's inner circle met with an agent of hostile foreign power to influnce the outcome of an American election," said the House minority leader Nany Pelosi in a written statement after the email release. "The American people face a White House riddled with shadowy Russian connections and desperate to hide the truth."

Trump's opponents say it is illegal for campaign officials to receive anything of value from a foreign government or from someone representing a foreign government. Supporters have highlighted the transparency of Trump's son as running against any intention to hide evidence.

The ongoing Russia scandal has brought down support for Trump, even from his own party.

This week has seen the implosion of the president's plan to repeal and replace the current U.S. healthcare system -- known as Obamacare, former President Barack Obama's signature legislation -- when Senators from his own party refused to support the bill.

The failure marks a big blow for Trump six months after he took office. Trump has yet to pass any meaningful legislation on a host of issues to deliver his promises made during the election campaign.

Experts have earlier noted that the Russia scandal will lead to his own party to distance itself from White House and derail Trump's legislative agenda.

Darrel West, with the well-known Washington-based U.S. think tank Brookings Institution, said Republicans will distance themselves from Trump "in order to avoid fallout in the 2018 elections" for Congress.

The expert also said Republican lawmakers are getting tired of what he called the "ineptitude of the Trump operation. Every day spent talking about Russia is a day not devoted to healthcare reform, tax reform, and infrastructure repair."

Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, said "this scandal is a major distraction" for Trump administration.