In response to efforts by a bipartisan group of senators calling for a special investigation into the recent revelations regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the idea of forming a special select committee to investigate further.
McConnell, who was informed of the interference by Russian agents via the hacking of the Democratic Party emails and databases as far back in September, announced that the Senate Intelligence Committee is “more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter.”
McConnell himself sits on the panel as an ex officio member, and it is curious that he did not bring this serious breach of national security to the attention of the panel when he was briefed about it by U.S. intelligence long before Election Day. It has been reported by unidentified sources that McConnell even threatened the Obama administration, should the president choose to investigate the matter. Now, the Kentucky senator believes that a special committee is uncalled for.
At a press conference on Monday morning, McConnell said:
‘Obviously, any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts.
McConnell goes on to admit in the official statement that he had intelligence regarding the interference by Russia into the U.S. elections prior to the actual election.
‘Prior to the election, the director of national intelligence released a statement saying that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations…
‘I agree with senator Schumer, chairman McCain, Burr, and others this simply cannot be a partisan issue.’
McConnell neglects to mention that he, as Senate Majority Leader, was privy to this information back in September. He then goes on to undermine the intentions of Schumer, McCain, and Sen. Lindsey Graham in choosing a select committee to investigate further. He also has no qualms about mentioning that he is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which he recommends as the appropriate committee to conducting a review.
‘Let me remind all of you that the Senate Intelligence Committee, on which I and chairman of the Armed Service Committee sit as ex officio members, is more than capable of conducting complete review of this matter. And Senator Schumer will soon join us on the committee, and he can review this matter through the regular order. I have every confidence in Chairman Burr that he’ll review the matter in a responsible way.’
Perhaps, now that McConnell has been caught out, he’s decided to put his cards on the table. He was unwilling as a member of the committee to investigate before the election, but now that the election is over and his wife, Elaine Chao has been chosen as Donald Trump’s secretary of transportation, he believes that joining in the investigation would remove any suspicions of collusion or negligence on his part involving the Russian cyberattacks.
‘The Obama administration is also now launching review and when the office of the director of national intelligence completes its review, there will be additional information released to the public in a responsible manner…
‘The Obama administration for eight years attempted to reset relations with Russia and sat back while Russia expanded its sphere of influence, intervened in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, Syria, and attempted to bully the Baltic countries. It defies belief that somehow Republicans in the Senate are reluctant to either review Russian tactics or ignore them.’
What defies belief that McConnell can be so openly and unapologetically hypocritical. He was the first Republican in the Senate to ignore the Russian cyberattacks. Now that McConnell has what he wants — a Republican president and his wife in a high-level administrative post — he can afford to walk back his dismissal of the CIA’s earlier reports.
You can watch McConnell’s repulsively smug comments during the press conference in the video below.
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