Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer, and Jack Reed released a joint statement on Sunday morning calling for investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, action that should “alarm every American.”
Said the Senators, in part:
“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks…This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”
Read the full statement below:
Joint statement with Senators McCain, Schumer, and Reed on reports Russia interfered with the 2016 Election. pic.twitter.com/K4IXbbUADm
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 11, 2016
It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the U.S. has an illegitimate president-elect installed with the assistance of an enemy state, aided by leading figures in the GOP. It’s beyond outrageous and leaders of conscience from all parties must not let it stand.
If you haven’t been following developments since the announcement by U.S. intelligence agencies that they have “high confidence” that Russia meddled in the elections to install Donald Trump as president, have a look at this New York magazine piece by Jonathan Chait to catch up:
We now know with near-certainty that Russia did this with the goal of electing Trump president. During the campaign, this reality was not quite certain enough to be reported as fact. Trump, of course, insisted there was no evidence Russia even had a hand in the attacks, let alone with the goal of helping him. (It “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”) Elements of the left decried suspicions of Russia’s role as “neo-McCarthyism.” The Nation editorialized, “ liberal-media elites have joined with the Clinton campaign in promoting the narrative of a devious Russian cyber-attack.” Others on the left insisted that the substance of the stolen emails command far more importance than their provenance, which in any case was disputed and unknowable. On October 31, the New York Times reported that the attack was probably “aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.”
Friday, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had concluded well before November that Russia specifically sought to elect Trump. The CIA’s analysis is obviously not infallible, but it fits with a wide array of other evidence. Russia had a clear motive: chilly relations with the Democratic administration that had orchestrated sanctions against it, close ties with Donald Trump and several of his advisers, and a series of pro-Russian positions from Trump on such issues as Crimea, NATO, and Vladimir Putin’s human rights abuses. Russia also hacked the Republican National Committee but declined to release any of the contents. The disruption was intentionally one-sided. The CIA’s conclusion merely lends incrementally more confidence to a deduction that was already fairly obvious.
What is more interesting in the Post story is the response of various officials to the revelations. The Obama administration declined to publicize, wary of being seen as intervening on Clinton’s behalf. Instead, it devised a fallback plan. Concerned that Russia might attempt to hack into electronic voting machines, it gathered a bipartisan group of lawmakers to hear the CIA’s report, in the hopes that they would present a united front warning Russia not to disrupt the election. According to the Post, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” Other Republicans refused to join the effort for reasons that can only be understood as a desire to protect the Republican ticket from any insinuation, however well-founded, that Russia was helping it.
The Trump team’s response:
Adds Karoli Kuns at Crooks and Liars:
Russia did what Russia does. We’ve seen them do it around the world. The single issue here — the ONLY issue — is what McConnell, Chaffetz, Comey et al chose not to do.
There is no argument for war against Russia. There is, however, a serious argument for why Constitutional officers — men who swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — chose instead to undermine it by allowing Russia to do what they did unchecked.
In Comey’s case, it goes one step farther because Comey actually deflected attention away from Russian interference in order to refocus media on emails, which measurably impacted the outcome.
Is there an argument to be made that our fourth estate failed us in this regard? Maybe. But there were many who were sounding alarms. It was a constant theme here in the months ahead of the election, but mainstream outlets were also reporting it. Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek, David Corn at Mother Jones, and more. Hillary Clinton herself used her debate platform to bring attention to it, but most pundits ignored it in favor of other, less important non-issues.
Here she is, saying it in front of everyone who viewed that debate.
Hillary dropped this exact same info about Russia in front of 66 million viewers in October. But I guess no one listened because… emails pic.twitter.com/HCe7oqfknv
— Ess (@ScottyLiterati) December 10, 2016
Not to mention that Exxon Mobil CEO and Putin buddy of two decades Rex Tillerson is about to be offered the job of Secretary of State.
If Trump appoints unqualified Rex Tillerson as Sec of State rather than Romney, we have 2 ask if Russia has its own man in the White House.
— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) December 10, 2016
In the 1990s, Tillerson oversaw an Exxon project on Russia’s Sakhalin island and developed a working relationship with Putin. In 2011, Exxon signed an agreement with the state-controlled oil company, Rosneft, to work jointly on oil exploration and development in the Arctic and Siberia.
After inking the deal in New York, Tillerson and Rosneft chairman and Putin confidant Igor Sechin dined on caviar at the luxury Manhattan restaurant Per Se, according to one account. The next day, they gave oil analysts black pens with the date of the agreement engraved in gold.
Two years later, the Kremlin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, an honor reserved for foreigners.
“I don’t know the man much at all, but let’s put it this way: If you received an award from the Kremlin, [an] Order of Friendship, then we’re gonna have some talkin’,” Graham said. “We’ll have some questions. I don’t want to prejudge the guy, but that’s a bit unnerving.”
Ex-CIA operative Robert Baer is calling for a new election, as should all of us: