In a tone that would become familiar in the following months, Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) allowed Russia to interfere in the election to help Trump by expressing skepticism about the intelligence that Russia was meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Washington Post reported:
“The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’ ” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting.
Key Democrats were stunned by the GOP response and exasperated that the White House seemed willing to let Republican opposition block any pre-election move.
Sen. McConnell’s doubt of the intelligence is the same tactic that has been used by Trump and his administration since the Russia scandal heated up. The other problem is that the Obama White House let McConnell block them and did nothing. Looking back with 20/20 perspective, it is easy to say that Obama should have issued a warning about Russian election meddling without the Republicans on board, but his concern that the Russia issue would turn into a partisan one that could destroy the integrity of the election was legitimate.
What the now former president couldn’t have known was that he was facing a no-win situation. The integrity of this election was going be damaged no matter what because the Russians had already acted.
Mitch McConnell made sure that this election ended up damaged, and the process lost credibility by doubting the intelligence about Russian election interference.
Republicans sold out their country and democracy to win an election. Russia interfered with the election, and Sen. McConnell allowed them to get away with it because it helped him and his party.
The Russia scandal goes beyond Trump, and if Americans are going to prevent a future on our democracy, they must remove Russia enabling Republicans like Mitch McConnell from their positions of power.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association