Senate Democrats are defying Republicans on the Russian hacking scandal, and have gone ahead with an in-your-face move to address the problem. Sens. Ben Cardin (MD), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Tom Carper (DE) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) just introduced a resolution to create an independent panel to investigate the allegations, which goes totally against Mitch McConnell’s stated desire to simply have committees handle it.
This panel would have about 18 months to investigate and then present its findings to Congress. That info would identify the people responsible for the hacks and include a recommendation for how to respond. Sen. Leahy said:
“We need an accounting — a serious, independent and bipartisan investigation of attempted Russian interference in the American presidential election. This is larger than any one candidate or any one election.”
Of course, Mitch McConnell thinks the Senate Intelligence Committee should handle such an investigation. He even announced back in December that the Intelligence Committee would be looking into the Russian hacks.
However, McConnell also has no problem at all looking into how Obama responded to the Russian hacks. While he hasn’t announced an independent panel on that front, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will start looking into Obama’s new sanctions against Russia and probably other responses.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that they’ll be looking at the broader issue of Russian hacking, but here’s a question: Would they look into the presidential response if Trump had announced new sanctions in response to Russia’s meddling?
Chances are, they wouldn’t. Congressional Republicans have already shown how they’re working to ingratiate themselves to Trump. While there’s always a chance they’d defy him on something like that, it seems more likely that they’d champion Trump as a true patriot who won’t allow foreign powers to dictate what happens here.
If we can spend millions on independent panels investigating the giant nothing-burgers of both Benghazi and Hillary’s email server, surely we can have an independent panel look into something on which our entire intelligence community agrees happened. Republicans will give Democrats a hard time for this, but at least Democrats are trying to do something real. All the GOP response to the idea of an independent panel shows is that taking Democrats like Hillary down over non-issues is far more important than doing something about Russia meddling in our affairs.
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