Mitch McConnell Says Russians Are ‘Not Our Friends,’ Announces Investigation

Saying “The Russians are not our friends,” Mitch McConnell, who once dismissed the threat of Russian hacking, has finally responded to pressure and announced that the Senate intelligence panel will conduct an investigation of Russia’s interference in the elections.

Reading from a prepared statement, he said:

“Obviously any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing and I strongly condemn any such efforts…I agree with Senator [Chuck] Schumer, Senator [John] McCain, Burr and others that this simply cannot be a partisan issue. Let me remind all of you that the Senate Intelligence Committee…is more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter. And Sen. Schumer will soon join us on the committee, and he can review this matter through the regular order.”

Watch courtesy of ABC News:

This means McConnell did not endorse John McCain’s proposal of a special select committee. “This simply cannot be a partisan issue,” he said, demonstrating that this particular “matter” is apparently less important to Republicans than a fake scandal about Benghazi.

Of course, Trump has not only dismissed the CIA, saying it “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey,” but his spokesperson, Jason Miller, told the Wall Street Journal‘s Shelby Holliday this morning in response to the news that,

“I think really clearly what this is an attempt to try to delegitimize President-Elect Trump’s win.”

In other words, no, Donald Trump is not likely to support the investigation, and what is really represents, of course, is an attempt to delegitimize the American democratic process, then taking the gift the Russians have given you and running with it before anybody can do anything about it.

We have already seen how John Bolton, a possible Trump pick for SecState, is claiming Russian hacking wasn’t Russian hacking at all but a false flag operation by the Obama administration.

Trump has made his disdain for the whole idea plain more than once, and it goes without saying he did not reject it without lying through his teeth:

McConnell did at least stand up for the CIA, saying in contradiction of Trump’s attacks,

“Last, I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people.”

“The Russians are not our friends,” he said, also stressing the importance of NATO and the US commitment to NATO, a public slap in the face to Donald Trump.

A Senate investigation is a good first step, and if McConnell has been lukewarm other Republicans, like McCain, have been more pointed in their criticism of Russia’s actions. Democrat Chuck Schumer issued a statement following McConnell’s press conference, saying,

“This issue should not and must not turn into a political football. It’s absolutely essential that this investigation be bipartisan, wide-ranging, and have access to all of the relevant intelligence so that we can find out how this happened, and how we can stop it from happening ever again.”

Of course, preventing a recurrence won’t be enough to prevent Trump. We will need the electors doing what the Founding Fathers created them for to accomplish that.