With President Trump now trying to place the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections on the Obama administration, former members of the last Democratic White House are emerging to set the story straight.
Denis McDonough, one of Obama’s former Chiefs of Staff, appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press today to explain the real reason that America’s initial response to intelligence reports of Russian meddling during the campaign was “dramatically watered down.”
McDonough explained to host Chuck Todd that Obama invited leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss the best way to respond to the cyber warfare. Then Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) joined House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the briefing that presented the intelligence community’s findings.
The former Chief of Staff confirmed a statement made by former Vice-President Joe Biden placing the blame for a pitifully weak response to the Russians squarely on the shoulders of Senator McConnell.
“Mitch McConnell wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment that we would say, essentially, Russia is doing this — stop,” Biden said in a video that Todd played for McDonough.
It was the Senate majority leader’s lack of cooperation that prevented Obama, Biden, and the rest of the Democrats who were privy to the top-secret intelligence from speaking out publicly against the Russians before the elections.
With McConnell’s refusal to cooperate and his threat to paint any action against Russia by the Obama administration as politically motivated, it was only after the elections that Obama announced sanctions against Russia for their behavior. By then it was too late to prevent the worst results of the electoral interference from coming to pass.
With Robert Mueller and his team now investigating the flow of money from Russia and the United Arab Emirates to the 2016 election campaign, perhaps we will soon find out exactly why Senator McConnell was so dead set against revealing the efforts by the Kremlin to help the Trump campaign and punishing Putin and his oligarch cronies for their actions, considered by many in the intelligence world as a clear act of cyber warfare.
If Mueller can trace the flow of dollars from overseas accounts to Republican coffers, a clear act of treason was committed, and this narrative places McConnell and Ryan directly in the center of it with the Trump campaign team.
You can watch the interview with Denis McDonough in this video clip from NBC’s Meet The Press:
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 4, 2018