After 7 hours of landmark testimony from former special counsel chief Robert Mueller on Wednesday, lawmakers were left with little to do but reflect on the state of American small-d democracy. Do we still know what it is? Are we protecting it vigorously enough?
At one point in the hearings, Mueller, tired and exasperated from having conspiracy theories hurled at him by Trump-adoring Republicans whose party the former FBI Director surely barely recognizes anymore despite being registered one for his entire life, was asked if election interference was “the new normal.” The 74-year-old decorated war hero told the committee he faced that he was “afraid” that might be the case going forward.
The man we thought might save America is reduced to hope that Congress and the American people will remedy that which he was prevented from doing.
Now, while the Speaker of the House did come out afterward and say in a joint presser with Reps Schiff and Cummings that we were in a period of evidentiary discovery and that she sought to present sufficient evidence at any eventual impeachment hearings that the Senate would look like villains if they didn’t vote to convict — which would be required to successfully remove Trump from office — today’s news leaves us with little hope that those same Republicans are capable of feeling any shame whatsoever.
In his capacity as Senate Majority Leader today, Mitch McConnell personally put a stop to two separate bills introduced by Democrats that sought to stem or eliminate election meddling by foreign powers — the primary focus and finding of Mueller’s two-year-long investigation.
Senator Chuck Schumer introduced one that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission, already passed by the House — Mitch knocked that down for having too few Republican votes in favor of it.
Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced another bill, this one that would require candidates, campaign officials, and family members to notify the FBI of offers from foreign governments to assist the candidate in getting elected or offers to provide the candidate with damaging information about an opponent. Mitch also quashed that bill.
Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan … is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent.”
That was McConnell, before adding that it would give Democrats a “political benefit” to pass such laws.
We’re not sure what benefit it would give Democrats unless it is the case that Republicans intend to rely on election interference.
Featured image via screen capture
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