Out of all the “bombshell” reports that have been released over the last 2-½ years since the conclusion of the 2016 presidential election, there have been plenty that fizzled and plenty that didn’t get near the attention that they should have.
Probably the best example of the latter kind — not “why aren’t more people angry about this,” but why isn’t it being discussed much? — is the fact that prior to Trump taking office, before Mueller was appointed, before Flynn got caught lying to the FBI, the American intelligence community had already determined that Russia had definitively interfered in the election. But that wasn’t actually the “bombshell” in the report that came out in the Washington Post at the time.
The real shocker was that the CIA assessment determined that not only did Russia interfere, but that they did it specifically with a mind to helping Trump get elected — not just to mess with our democracy or make Americans doubt the validity of our elections, but specifically to help Donald Trump become President.
But at the risk of sounding like one of those late-night infomercial guys who keeps throwing in extras if you call within the next 30 seconds, this is the part where we say, “But wait! There’s more!”
Even the revelation that Russia wanted Trump in the White House and, depending on their level of involvement, probably succeeded in getting him there — even THAT isn’t the “bombshell” to take away from the Post‘s article.
It’s that it was known by our government, and nothing was done to question the outcome of the election or prevent it from taking place under inauspicious circumstances or even to warn Americans about how they were being manipulated.
In fact, when you hear Trump complain that “Obama knew and did nothing about Russian interference,” he’s actually partially right. He’s just not telling the whole truth. Obama knew and tried to do something about it — he spoke directly to Putin to warn him about interfering, he had his CIA director warn Russian intelligence to stop their efforts, he directed US intelligence to make a statement on the outcome of the election, and he even imposed sanctions on Russia for what they had done.
But whether he could have done more or not, it would have looked like nothing at all if not pure partisan politics without some joint statement that included Republicans — and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, refused to allow that to happen.
A bipartisan statement was prepared, in fact, that condemned the Kremlin’s interference in the election, but McConnell refused to sign it. When an article in Politico called McConnell out over that, his office pointed to some other statement that Mitch did sign — which said nothing about Russia in it. But Mitch’s intentions were already known. How can we know that?
From that bombshell WaPo story:
The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.
According to several officials, 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.
Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow’s hands.”
Senator McConnell didn’t just refuse to sign the statement — he refused to believe America’s intelligence community. And without trying to sound overly dramatic, Mitch threatened to smear the Obama White House as partisan cheaters if they told the public about the Russian interference.
I really feel like that can’t be overstated: Mitch McConnell prevented America from knowing about a coordinated foreign attack on our democracy until it was too late to do anything about it.
Is it treason? I would call it that.
Featured image is a screen capture.