What has the GOP lead Congress and the Trump administration done about Russian interference in the US elections of 2016 to prepare for the 2018 Midterm elections?
The Trump Administration has held no meetings regarding Russian interference in the US elections. Trump himself still has not publicly stated he even believes it’s an issue.
“Trump has never convened a Cabinet-level meeting on Russian interference or what to do about it, administration officials said. Although the issue has been discussed at lower levels at the National Security Council, one former high-ranking Trump administration official said there is an unspoken understanding within the NSC that to raise the matter is to acknowledge its validity, which the president would see as an affront.”
Trump’s only involvement in examining what had occurred in the 2016 election was to set-up the now disbanded Election Integrity Commission to scrutinize the very electorate that was affected by Russian interference and not the Russians themselves. Trump’s primary interest appeared to lay in the belief that he could prove he had won the popular vote and not just an electoral college victory. The commission’s leadership in Kris Kobach, and subsequent pick to lead the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, highlights a much more sinister desire in this administration to suppress votes and disenfranchise undesirable voters, who have the misfortune of being afflicted with liberal ideas, and thereby manipulate proceeding elections in a way the Russians could only dream of.
In response to Russia’s interference in the US Elections, Congress did pass a bill to punish Russia through further sanctions. The bill was signed by Trump on August 2, 2017, with a date of enforcement set to be no later than October 1, 2017. The sanctions still have not been put into place by this administration three months after it’s enforcement date.
Here are the Congressional Committees that ostensibly were, or currently are, investigating Russian interference:
Senate Judiciary Committee under Chuck Grassley (R). Began investigating Russian Interference in February, 2017. This began in their subcommittee on Crime and Terror with Lindsey Graham leading.
“Our goal is simple — to the fullest extent possible we want to shine a light on Russian activities to undermine democracy,” committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a joint written statement in February.
In June, 2017, the entire committee agreed to expand the investigation, including Trump golfing buddy Graham, as to whether or not the Trump administration was involved in colluding with the Russians to affect the election.
“The leaders of the Senate judiciary committee have reached an agreement about the scope of an investigation into political interference at the FBI, with the possibility that the inquiry could explore whether President Donald Trump acted improperly during his interactions with fired FBI Director James Comey.”
The only conclusion this committee has come to, under it’s GOP leadership, is that Christopher Steele, one of the initial sources for bringing to our Country’s attention that the Russians were meddling in our election, should be under investigation himself.
“The move by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) marks a major escalation in conservatives’ challenges to the FBI’s credibility as the agency investigates whether any Trump associates committed crimes. Another Republican, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), joined in the letter to the Justice Department.
Their letter makes what is called a criminal referral to the Justice Department, suggesting it investigate the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, for possibly lying to the FBI. It is a crime to lie to FBI agents about a material fact relevant to an ongoing investigation.”
The House Oversight Committee, under the leadership of Jason Chaffetz(R), began in late March it’s investigation of Michael Flynn’s involvement with Russian interference and whether or not he was being paid by the Russians. At one point, the Oversight Committee sent a letter requesting the Trump Organization’s financial involvement with Russia.
The investigation has since fallen apart. Chaffetz held a town meeting and discovered his constituents were less than happy with his apparent foot-dragging in the investigation and was chided to “do his job”. Suddenly, Chaffetz decided he didn’t want to be in Congress any longer and his foot hurt real bad! from all the dragging and he really just needed to be home with his family, so…he quit Congress. Nothing fishy here at all.
After Chaffetz’s bizarre departure, Trey Gowdy(R) became chairman of The House oversight Committee. Gowdy has no interest in examining Russian interference. No interest in following up on Michael Flynn or The Trump Organization’s financial entanglements with Russia. No interest whatsoever.
Instead, Gowdy, who spent two and a half years investigating Hillary Clinton and Benghazi with no conclusion, would prefer to investigate the FBI’s alleged Hillary Clinton bias.
“Republican Trey Gowdy, whose investigation into the terror attack on an American consular building was seen even by some Republicans as an effort to hurt Hillary Clinton’s election chances, is now demanding that three FBI officials testify before his Oversight Committee to discuss the bureau’s decision to not charge the former Secretary of State for mishandling classified information and use of a private email server.
Specifically, Gowdy and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday to make available FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Chief of Staff Jim Rybicki and FBI counsel Lisa Page—all of whom figure prominently in Republican complaints that the FBI was biased in favor of Clinton during the 2016 campaign.”
House Intelligence Committee under Devin Nunes(R)? was set up on March 1, 2017 to answer these questions as outlined by Nunes and Adam Schiff(D):
“What Russian cyber activity and other active measures were directed against the United States and its allies?
“Did the Russian active measures include links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. Persons?
“What was the U.S. Government’s response to these Russian active measures and what do we need to do to protect ourselves and our allies in the future?
“What possible leaks of classified information took place related to the Intelligence Community Assessment of these matters?”
Before the end of it’s first month of investigating, Nunes secretly meet with Trump at the White House purportedly to inform the President of some information that Nunes had gotten from the White House itself. A meeting that has never made sense and after which Nunes recused himself from the Committee’s investigation and then later declared he had never recused himself.
The Republicans of the House Intelligence Committee have since: attempted to hurry through the investigation, have not subpoenaed relevant witnesses, and have secretly met among themselves to discuss ways in which they could undermine both the DOJ and the FBI via the Steele Dossier.
At this time, the only aspect remotely related to Russian interference in our election, that the House Intelligence Committee appears to be interested in examining, is the company which originally contracted to create the Steele Dossier, Fusion GPS, their sources, and bank records.
Senate Intelligence Committee under leadership of Richard Burr (R) began it’s investigation of Russian Meddling in the US elections on January 10, 2016. This Committee has a wide-ranging probe including Russian interference, Michael Flynn, Trump Camapaign collusion, firing of James Comey, etc.
The committee has concluded there was widespread Russian interference in the election.
“The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday largely endorsed the findings of the intelligence community that Russia sought to sway the 2016 U.S. elections through a hacking and influence campaign, and they called for a “more aggressive, whole-of-government approach” to ensure future elections are not similarly compromised.”
They have, in the course of their investigation, reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to ask them to help States secure their election systems and have, to an extent, quantified the types of interference the Russians had used in the election. This committee’s efforts have been described as “frustratingly slow” and “not close to ending” by senior minority member Mark Warner.
At this time there are no counter-measures in place, no particular guidance from the federal government, and no plans concerning the 2018 election. States warned of the possibility of cyber intrusions have responded with statements that they themselves were not breached. Despite the fact that there was no apparent attempt at breach just an analysis by Russians as to how the systems might be breached.
Three of the Four Congressional Committees that were set up to examine Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections are not even investigating Russian interference. They are instead investigating the sources by which we came to understand that the US elections had been compromised or anything and anyone involved with Hillary Clinton.
The Administration itself is concerned only with Donald Trump’s “feelings” about the 2016 election or ways in which they may manipulate the 2018 & 2020 election to a GOP advantage.
I have very little faith that we are or will be prepared to safeguard our election systems for the midterm 2018 elections. Our government is not planning to proactively protect our voting systems, but instead is attacking those that brought it to our attention in the first place or attempting to find ways to rig it for themselves.