Ever since the election of President Trump, and the suspicions that arose surrounding potential foul play by the Russians during the entire 2016 election cycle, lawmakers and analysts alike have been unable to come to any form of consensus.
On one end, there are an array of experts and analysts, many of whom are members of the US intelligence community, who claim that Russian interference unequivocally took place through propaganda distribution and online advertising, thus impacting the outcome of the elections. Opponents to this idea, many of whom are members of the GOP trying to save the reputation of their party, claim that there is no concrete evidence that Russia had any influence on the 2016 elections. However, reports emerged today from the Senate Intelligence Committee that are likely to put the argument to rest.
According to a Washington Post report:
‘The Senate Intelligence Committee has determined the U.S. intelligence community was correct in assessing Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the aim of helping then-candidate Donald Trump, contradicting findings House Republicans reached last month.
‘The Senate committee’s findings clash with the House GOP’s determination that the intelligence community did not follow its own best practices in concluding the Kremlin favored Trump in the election.’
A joint statement released on Wednesday by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), the Intelligence committee chairman, and Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the vice chair, outlined the committee’s alignment with the intelligence community in concluding that the Kremlin meddled in the elections, claiming that the effort was broad and sophisticated, and that the interference was a direct order by Vladimir Putin.
CONFIRMED: After a thorough review, Senate Intel has found no evidence to dispute the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia, on orders from Putin, carried out an unprecedented election interference effort to help the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign in 2016. https://t.co/OWshLwnQA0
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) May 16, 2018
It feels good to see the Senate Intelligence Committee has repudiated the politicized findings of its House GOP counterpart. But it feels even better to know there's an indispensable Congressional oversight body that can still operate on a bipartisan basis. https://t.co/MlQIZQ0SoI
— Ned Price (@nedprice) May 16, 2018
Whereas House Republicans have been attempting to discredit the Mueller investigation into possible collusion, and have heavily aligned themselves with their party president in Donald Trump, it is evident that today’s findings have created an even deeper rift in the already unstable Republican party. Whereas Donald Trump was able to use the House Intelligence Committee’s report last month to claim his own vindication and innocence from collusion, the president’s shield is now torn away with new, and more thorough, findings from the Senate.
THEY CONCUR: Senate Intelligence Committee agrees with intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump
This contradicts Republicans on House Intelligence Committee
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) May 16, 2018
The tension between Senate and House Republican’s can be summed up in the reaction by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, showing his frustration with the Senate committee’s conclusions. When asked about the inconsistency between the House’s findings and that of the Senate, Nunes simply responded by saying, “That’s nice,” refusing to comment any further on the clearly touchy subject.
— Andrew Janz (@JanzAndrew) May 16, 2018
The GOP is already facing a tough midterm election season later this year, especially with the surmounting controversy surrounding President Trump, and the Senate Republican’s departure from their counterparts in the House shows increasing instability and a lack of unification within the party. As the credibility of GOP lawmakers and the Republican party as a whole comes under scrutiny as a result of the failing Trump presidency, it is apparent that the Senate’s new report only adds fuel to the already burning fire, adding what looks to be another insurmountable obstacle for Republicans come fall.
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