In an effort to cast doubt on someone other than himself in RussiaGate, _____ keeps asking the question ... if President Obama knew that Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 election, why didn’t he say something sooner? Good question, I guess ... so let’s see what the answer might be:
One, President Obama was trying to do the right thing and ...
Two, the Republicans stopped that from happening.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified last week that the Russian activity in the election went beyond just hacking emails, beyond distributing those emails through Wikileaks, and beyond creating a stream of fake-news stories for alt-right websites and wackjobs on social media.
Russia took unprecedented “active measures” to penetrate state databases and alter or delete voter rolls, and many, including Johnson, viewed that as a kind of declaration of war by Russia.
Last August, the hacking information was sent from the CIA to the White House with “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to four people—President Barack Obama and three senior aides—and be returned to the CIA once read.
In fact, the material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even the Brief’s restricted distribution was too broad; to further guard against leaks, subsequent meetings followed the same protocols as the planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.
It was that sensitive. But, it was still early in the hacking story and the White House couldn’t tell the full extent of the Russian attack, and couldn’t tell who in this country might be cooperating with the Russians, but, the intelligence made one thing clear: Putin’s specific instructions on the objective of the operation were to defeat or at least damage Hillary Clinton, and help elect Donald ______.
Obama didn’t do that; he followed the law, protecting the nation, and trying to ensure his actions didn’t make the situation worse. He did the right thing but then ... The GOP.
Obama instructed aides to seek bipartisan support from members of Congress on a statement condemning Moscow and urging states to accept federal help. But that never happened; some GOP leaders in Congress put off even meeting with intelligence officials, delaying the process by weeks perhaps because they saw this as their shot to take the White House, our elections be damned.
Jeh Johnson then attempted to designate election infrastructure as “critical” in order to give it the same protection provided defense contractors, but Brian Kemp, the GOP secretary of state of Georgia, used Johnson’s call to denounce the proposal as an assault on state’s rights:
“I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration.”
To this day Kemp remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 election.
In short: Republicans were—and are—more concerned with hurting Obama, and Hillary, and taking the White House, than they were in stopping Russia.
So, let’s be queer: it’s not just _____ who colluded with Russia to steal an election, it’s the entire Republican Party who sat their fat asses on their fat hands and did nothing while a foreign country stole an election out from under We The People; and it wasn’t just random state level officials like Brian Kemp, it was also Congressional leaders.
After meeting with the intelligence community for a briefing the Democrats wanted to release the information to the public but the Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system. Or, you know, allow Hillary to win. Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Chinless Owl”* McConnell actually voiced skepticism that the intelligence supported the White House’s claims because, you know, Obama.
So, there you have it: the information came out, and was investigated, but the GOP tried to block it from being revealed to the public because they put the party, and their own personal interests, over country.
Chew on that.
*Special thanks to The Prairie Home Companion show on Sunday for giving me another apt description of McConnell besides McTurtle.