After news reports surfaced Friday of a secret CIA presentation to Congress regarding the extent to which Russia supposedly influenced the 2016 election, a group of four U.S. Senators – two Republicans and two Democrats – released a statement calling for a bipartisan investigation into Moscow’s meddling.
Republicans John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) joined Democrats Chuck Schumer (NY) and Jack Reed (RI) for a statement on Sunday.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property,” the senators explained. “Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.”
The senators called for Democrats and Republicans to “work together” to “examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.”
“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they warned. “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.”
A partisan issue, it has already become. And McCain and Graham aren’t allaying any concerns one might have about that, either. If anything, voters are beginning to wonder if this dynamic duo will ever side with Republicans or are they dead set on opposing the party every time they get a chance. With friends like these…
That’s not to say that Congress shouldn’t be doing everything possible to stop foreign attackers from influencing our elections. And they’ll undoubtedly have President Trump’s full attention on that issue.
But you can’t say this isn’t a partisan issue. The CIA has not even made a public statement accusing Russia of intervening on Trump’s behalf. These are secondhand allegations that are disputed inside the intelligence community. The FBI, for instance, is not nearly so confident in Russia’s motivations. Trump and other foreign policy experts have questioned whether Russia is as deeply involved in the recent DNC hacks as Democrats believe.
But partisanship aside, there are forces within both parties who would love to find an excuse to keep Trump from taking the Oath on January 20th. If they can make this Russian stuff seem like something bigger than emails and fake news and turn public opinion against the president-elect, they will.
Their evidence had better be damned good.