Protester throws Russian flags at Donald Trump during visit to US Capitol
A protester has thrown Russian flags at Donald Trump during his visit to Capitol Hill to try and encourage party unity among Senate Republicans.
Mr Trump can be seen in a video walking down a long hall alongside Mitch McConnell, illuminated by the flashes from reporter cameras. Then, as the President rounds the corner toward the meeting, several Russian flags can be seen floating down to the ground.
“Trump is treason! Trump is treason!” a protester can be heard yelling.
The reporter who captured the spectacle on video wrote on Twitter that the assembled group was a press pool, making it likely that the protester was a journalist.
Mr Trump’s first year in office has been dogged by questions surrounding his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia, especially in light of reports that Russia actively sought to meddle in that democratic process.
Several individuals associated with Mr Trump’s campaign had contact with Russian sources during the 2016 campaign, and failed initially to disclose those contacts. That includes Mr Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who had extensive financial ties to Russian sources, as well as Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Mr Kushner was found to have attended a meeting with Donald Trump Jr with a Russia-connected lawyer, who they were promised had damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
Others with ties to Russian sources included Mr Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign form his White House post less than a month into Mr Trump’s presidency after it was discovered that Mr Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with Russians about sanctions.
Those questions about Mr Trump’s team’s potential involvement in Russian meddling in the 2016 election were exacerbated last year, when the President fired former FBI Director James Comey, and later indicated on national television that he was motivated to do so at least in part because of the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. That firing ultimately resulted in the appointment of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who has been overseeing the investigation ever since.
Congressional committees have also indicated that they’re looking into how extensive Russia’s interference in the US election was in 2016.