Let the howls of protestation, regarding everything from swamp things to “RiNO” begin.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took part in a classified briefing on Thursday, in regards to the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
President Trump and a cast of loyalists in Congress have pushed to see special counsel Robert Mueller wrap up the investigation that has just hit the one year mark. Thursday’s briefing was for the purpose of examining those things that have been uncovered in the past year, as well as the direction forward.
McConnell’s opinion may not be very popular (it rarely is).
The Russia probe needs to continue. The inspector general investigation needs to move forward, as well.
“The two investigations going on that I think will give us the answers to the questions that you raise — the [inspector general] investigation in the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation,” McConnell said. “I support both of them, and I don’t really have anything to add to this subject based upon the Gang of Eight briefing that we had today, which was classified.”
That’s walking the fine, middle line, perfectly.
Therein lies the rub.
McConnell spoke with NPR immediately following a classified intelligence briefing from law enforcement and intelligence officials. The Gang of Eight — a bipartisan group of the four top congressional leaders and the four bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees — met with representatives from the Department of Justice and the FBI to discuss materials regarding a confidential FBI source who met with Trump campaign officials.
In this hyper-partisan new America, there is no more offensive word (to either side) than “bipartisan.”
Senator McConnell could be completely right – and I’m inclined to believe he is, at least on this particular topic – but that won’t stop Republicans and Democrats alike for criticizing his words.
In recent days, President Trump has ramped up his attacks on not just the Russia probe, but the intelligence community that he accuses of spying on him – a charge with no basis that he won’t let go.
The president has accused the investigation of being a partisan “witch hunt” and the investigators of being “conflicted.” There is a hashtag devoted to what the president and his allies are calling “SPYGATE” that the president himself is using. Trump boasted that it “could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!”
It could be, but the scandal isn’t on the side you’re thinking.
Lawmakers are about to leave for the long Memorial Day recess. How the troubles in the D.C. swamp affect their receptions in their home towns remains to be seen.
What McConnell would like to see the president do is close down his Twitter account for a couple of weeks and focus more attention on helping out those Republican candidate up for tough reelection battles.
Good luck with that.
If there’s nothing else we’ve learned about how Trump operates, it’s that his personal issues come first. Everything else is treated like an afterthought.
The Russia probe will eventually come to a close, but until it does, Trump and his loyalists need to step back and let it happen.