Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank said in an op-ed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding after the Republican blocked two election security measures proposed by Democrats this week.
In the very opening line of his opinion piece, Dana accuses the GOP leader of being “a Russian asset,” saying that it doesn’t mean McConnell is “a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation.”
“Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves,” the columnist writes.
He then goes on to say McConnell was “unpatriotic,” accusing him of doing Putin’s bidding “more than any other American.”
Milbank further points to the fact that only hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress and warned of Russia’s continuous efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, both in 2016 and in next year’s presidential election, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, requested on the Senate floor unanimous consent to “pass legislation requiring presidential campaigns to report to the FBI any offers of assistance from agents of foreign governments.”
However, Milbank adds, Senator Cindy Hyde Smith, representing “her leader’s interests” objected both to that bill and to a separate one brought to the floor by Senator Richard Blumenthal. The next day, McConnell himself rejected a bill brought by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that had previously cleared the House, saying that “It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia.”
The bill would have directed $600 million in election assistance to states and require backup paper ballots.
Milbank further writes that McConnell also objected to a bipartisan bill requiring Facebook, Google and other Internet companies to disclose purchasers of political ads, to identify foreign influence, a bill to ease cooperation between state election officials and federal intelligence agencies and a bill that would impose sanctions on any entity that attacks a U.S. election.
“But one man blocks it all — while offering no alternative of his own,” Milbank writes. “Presumably he thinks whatever influence Russia exerts over U.S. elections will benefit him (he’s up for reelection in 2020) and his party.”