With many high-ranking congressional Republicans calling for a full investigation into the CIA’s report of interference by the Russians into the 2016 presidential election, it has been revealed that one, Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, knew about the hacks long before the election.
During a preliminary secret briefing for congressional leaders in September, McConnell dismissed the findings and cast doubts about the accuracy of the data. As reported by the Business Insider, several unnamed officials stated that McConnell even went so far as to threaten to rebuke the Obama administration if it publicly challenged Russia over the cyberattacks.
Despite recommendations from his own country’s intelligence stating that Russia was interfering with the U.S. elections — well enough in advance of the election to counter the cyberattacks — McConnell dismissed them and refused to act, and was complicit in covering them up.
According to The Washington Post, the CIA performed and presented a secret investigation into the suspected interference of the 2016 U.S. presidential election by Russian hackers backed by Moscow. The difference between the CIA’s report in September and the one presented to Congress last week is that, although they were aware of the cyber espionage as far back as July, they have now concluded that the purpose of the hacks were to help Donald Trump win the presidency.
U.S. intelligence has identified the individuals who provided thousands of stolen Democratic Party emails, and uncovered their connections to the Russian government. The CIA secret assessment concluded that not only did the Russian cyberattacks shake the American people’s faith in the system, they intended to aid the Republican candidate in becoming the next U.S. president.
A senior U.S. intelligence official presented the findings to U.S. senators, saying:
‘It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That’s the consensus view.’
High-level senators were updated with the latest CIA assessment last week in a closed-door meeting. Officials requesting anonymity told the Washington Post that intelligence told the senators that it was “quite clear” that the Russian government’s intention was to see Donald Trump assume the presidency.
Last Friday, President Obama announced that he had ordered a “full review” of the Russian cyber-espionage and wants the full details before leaving the Oval Office in January.
McConnell has been open about his favoritism of the Republican president-elect, and had vowed to obstruct the Obama administration from the president’s early days in office. As reported in POLITICO, Donald Trump also recently hired McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, to be his secretary of transportation. Chao also worked under George W. Bush as his secretary of labor and deputy secretary of transportation.
McConnell seems to have no problem using his position as Senate Majority Leader to further his political ambitions. He also said that despite the implied conflict of interest, he would not absent himself from the vote on his wife’s appointment, according to the Washington Post.
‘Someone actually asked if I was going to recuse myself. Let me be quote clear: I will not be recusing myself.’
The Trump team also dismissed the updated findings on Friday, releasing a statement that read:
‘THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE THAT SAID SADDAM HUSSEIN HAD WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. THE ELECTION ENDED A LONG TIME AGO IN ONE OF THE BIGGEST ELECTORAL COLLEGE VICTORIES IN HISTORY. IT’S NOW TIME TO MOVE ON AND “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”‘
President-elect Trump has been dismissing the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies throughout his campaign and since winning the election on Nov. 8. He has been regularly skipping intelligence briefings, as well. President Obama has ordered his national security team to provide Trump and his cohort, Mike Pence, access to his daily briefings, but Trump has been ignoring the majority of the meetings and averaging only one per week since he became president-elect, According to MSNBC.
Mitch McConnell’s policy of personal power grab at the expense of Americans continues. Although he has given a slight head nod to the need to investigate further into the Russian hacks, he has also stated that the investigation should be done through regular channels; namely the Senate Intelligence Committee of which he is a member, raising more suspicions into the senator’s possible collusion into covering up the Russian interference in the U.S. Election.
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