Mitch McConnell Gave Russia the Green Light, Refused to Sign On to Protecting Election

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 10, 2016

By Mark Sumner

US President-elect Donald Trump gives the thumbs up after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 10, 2016. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

With Russia identified as the agent behind DNC email break-in, the prime suspect in carrying out thefts of private emails from Democratic insiders, and actively trying to do more, President Obama put out a call for a bipartisan agreement to protect the election from Russian hacking.

In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.

And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”

Democrats were quick to sign on.

The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously.

But there were at least two Republicans who wouldn’t agree. Chief among them, the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate.

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.

Why would a US Senator refuse to join in an agreement to secure an American election? Because McConnell had something to gain.

Mitch McConnell followed exactly the same line as Donald Trump, proclaiming the evidence insufficient and claiming that even talking about the involvement of a foreign power that had broken into the email server of an American political party and distributed select pieces of that email for political purposes was “partisan.”

What did McConnell get for toeing the Trump line?

After the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, as his nominee for transportation secretary.

If Mitch McConnell was covering for Trump because he already had a deal in place, then the Trump campaign was not just aware of the issue, but recognized it as a problem that had to stay buried. Russia has acknowledged that all during this period, Russian agents were in contact with the Trump campaign.

The Russian government maintained contacts with members of Donald J. Trump’s “immediate entourage” during the American presidential campaign, one of Russia’s top diplomats said Thursday.

Trump may not just have been the beneficiary of the Russian involvement, he may well have played an active role.

What did Mitch McConnell know, and when was the deal struck?