It’s not just the Russians. Republicans also worked to throw the presidential election by using frame-ups, leaks, and intimidation.
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian involvement in the United State presidential campaign blazes forward.
New bombshell revelations about Russia are being reported by the media on a near-daily basis from the Mueller investigation and other independent sources. But what is not being reported much anymore is the efforts made by leading Republicans to throw the election.
Whether or not Republicans outside the Trump campaign colluded with Russia has yet to be determined. However, as New Republic reported earlier this year “Republicans are as tainted by the Russia scandal as Trump.”
After giving an overview of some of the scandals surrounding Trump, New Republic turned its attention to a 2016 “conversation among House Republican leaders in which Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was funneling money to then-candidate Donald Trump. Speaker Paul Ryan then swore the group to secrecy.”
Kevin McCarthy: There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump…[laughter]…swear to God.
Paul Ryan: This is an off the record…[laughter]…no leaks…[laughter]…alright?!
New Republic goes on to report that: “the conversation between the leaders was, at bottom, a long lament about Russian subversion of democracies, followed by a recognition that Trump was already benefiting from it.” Additionally,
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to politicize any effort on the part of the government to reveal that Russian intelligence was intervening in the election to help Trump. “According to several officials,” the Post reported, “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.”
Despite Ryan’s clear awareness of the truth, we can infer that he sided with McConnell, tacitly or otherwise, because the Obama administration backed down in the face of McConnell’s threat. An official government assessment that Russia was helping Trump in the election didn’t reach the public until after the election, as Trump was transitioning to the presidency.
And then there is the infamous Republican led Benghazi
investigation witch hunt, which was summarized in a May 8, 2016 press release by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Benghazi.
Cummings “Top Ten Low-Lights from the Benghazi Committee” revealed Republican efforts to frame Hillary Clinton, to intimidate witnesses and others, and their pattern of leaking information in an attempt to harm Clinton’s polling numbers.
As Cummings wrote in his preface to his Top Ten Low Lights:
“Republicans have now spent more than two years and nearly $7 million of taxpayer funds for the illegitimate purpose of bringing down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers… The Select Committee has discovered no new evidence that contradicts the core findings of the previous bipartisan and independent investigations.
“Republicans are desperate to hide the truth, so they are selectively leaking misleading information to fit a partisan political narrative…
“Two years ago, I decided to participate in this investigation because we needed someone in the room to defend the truth. Two years and millions of dollars later, Republicans have lost any semblance of credibility as they continue to drag this out as close as they can to the election….”
Below are a few of the more damning revelations presented by Cummings:
(1) June 16, 2015: Chairman Gowdy deposes Sidney Blumenthal after unilaterally—without any vote or debate by the Select Committee—sending armed Marshals to serve a subpoena on his wife at their home, despite the fact that Blumenthal would have appeared voluntarily. Gowdy and other Republicans ask questions that are completely unrelated to Benghazi, including more than 160 questions about Blumenthal’s relationship and communications with the Clintons, more than 50 questions about the Clinton Foundation, and more than 45 questions about David Brock, Media Matters, and affiliated entities. Gowdy later admits he “never expected Witness Blumenthal to be able to answer questions about the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.”
(3) September 29, 2015: House Majority Leader—and Chairman Gowdy’s close friend—Kevin McCarthy admits that Republicans established the Select Committee to drive down Secretary Clinton’s poll numbers: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”
(5) October 14, 2015: Republican House Member Richard Hanna admits publicly that the Select Committee is “designed to go after” Clinton: “This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton.”
(6) October 18, 2015: Gowdy accuses Clinton of sending an email containing the name of a classified CIA source, and his staff then accidentally leaks the name of that individual. The CIA quickly debunks Gowdy’s allegation.
(7) October 19, 2015: The Washington Post reports on links between Gowdy and Stop Hillary PAC, which describes itself as “created for one reason only—to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes President of the United States.”
(8) October 22, 2015: Gowdy holds a marathon, 11-hour hearing with Secretary Clinton that is widely condemned by even conservatives commentators as a “carnival road show,” “overkill,” a “PR disaster for the GOP,” a “big fat flop,” and “a very bad day for Trey Gowdy and the Republicans.” Gowdy concedes that the hearing revealed nothing new: “In terms of her testimony? I don’t know that she testified that much differently today than she has the previous time she testified.”
(10) April 29, 2016: The Pentagon takes the highly unusual step of sending a letter to Gowdy exposing the latest GOP abuses, including dragging out the investigation, requesting duplicative and unnecessary witnesses, and asking witnesses to “speculate or engage in discussing on the record hypotheticals.”