Back in 2016, as U.S. intelligence officials informed the Obama administration of Russian interference in the presidential election, one particular player in Washington seemed to choose party over country when it came to warning the American people and taking swift action against the foreign intrusion.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stopped President Barack Obama from properly addressing the issue by “refusing to sign on to a bipartisan statement of condemnation,” Politico reported in 2018.
Former Vice President Joe Biden told the publication that at the time, he thought “the die had been cast … this was all about the political play.”
The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote last year that McConnell owes the American people transparency on the situation — an explanation for his actions beyond that given by his office at the time.
Politico reported: “McConnell’s office disputed this account, pointing to a letter signed by all four congressional leaders in September 2016 and sent to the president of the National Association of State Election Directors, urging cybersecurity precautions in light of reports of attempted hacking.”
“That missive, however, did not address Russia specifically, or the larger topic of influence beyond voting systems.”
Rubin noted that America could potentially have gotten to the bottom of the Russian scheme much sooner had Republicans cooperated and agreed to investigate.
But she posited that this might have been by design, writing, “perhaps that is exactly why they wouldn’t agree to a commission.”
McConnell has not been adequately pressed on the issue of his motivations for taking more decisive action, noting that the Republican “might have a perfectly valid reason for refusing to issue a specific warning.”
As for now, all signs point to McConnell playing politics during a presidential campaign, for reasons unknown, resulting in the election of Donald Trump — a leader Republicans have allowed to trample democratic norms and debase the office of president.