Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used forceful, angry, and personal terms to lash out at what he called “baseless smears” from left-wing media and vowed not to be “intimidated,” in the wake of a Washington Post op-ed that declared McConnell a “Russian asset.” Good for him. I’m not a big fan of McConnell’s by any means but it’s nice to see a Republican actually push back against these attacks.
The op-ed that ticked McConnell off was written by Dana Milbank at the Washington Post. He called Dana one of several “hyperventilating hacks” who conveniently had ignored former President Obama’s “feckless” Russia policies. I love that reply. He’s exactly right here. Obama was the one, along with Hillary Clinton, that actually colluded with the Russians… not President Trump.
From Fox News:
“Milbank had argued that McConnell’s opposition to several election-security bills proposed by Democrats effectively made him an unwitting Russian agent, and other pundits quickly echoed Milbank’s argument. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, host Joe Scarborough repeatedly called McConnell “Moscow Mitch,” saying he was “aiding and abetting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to “subvert” American elections — and even alleging a Russia-linked investment in Kentucky could be playing a part.
“I don’t normally take the time to respond to critics in the media when they have no clue what they’re talking about,” McConnell said. “But, this modern-day McCarthyism is toxic, and damaging, because of the way it warps our entire public discourse.
“Facts matter,” McConnell said sternly. “Details matter. History matters, and if our nation is losing our ability to debate public policy without screaming about treason, that really matters. In the middle of the 20th century, the original McCarthyism hurt America’s strength and diminished our standing in the Cold War by dividing us against ourselves.”
Here's Mitch McConnell using "modern day McCarthyism" and complaining about alleged liberal efforts to "gaslight" about his record on Russia in the same video clip pic.twitter.com/QSueNwKauG
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 29, 2019
“In response, Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at The Washington Post, told Fox News: “Dana Milbank’s column was a legitimate exercise in commentary, making the argument that Sen. McConnell’s blocking of elections-security legislation will harm the United States and work to Russia’s advantage. Of course, it’s equally legitimate for Mr. McConnell to express a contrary view, but the Milbank argument has nothing to do with McCarthyism.”
“McConnell, however, said the “outrage-industrial complex” had ignored his legitimate and principled objections to Democrats’ proposed election-security bills. For example, McConnell noted that the New York Times editorial board this weekend wrote that he “has long opposed federal involvement in election management” and as far back as 2002, “repeatedly spoke out against a one-size-fits-all approach in favor of leaving election matters up to the states.”
“One of the Democrats’ proposals would have mandated the use of paper ballots federally, and included funding for the federal Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184, with only one Republican vote — and McConnell killed Democrats’ efforts to pass it in the Senate via unanimous consent, knowing it had no chance of actually passing, in what he himself described as a “partisan” move.
Have not seen McConnell this angry in public in some time – now on floor defending his decision to block election security bills last week when Ds tried to bring it up by UC
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) July 29, 2019
“Republicans have said Democrats unnecessarily were seeking election-security funding that already was allocated for that purpose.
“First Amendment concerns have also been raised about another bill proposed by Democrats, which would require campaigns to disclose all contacts with foreign individuals to the FBI. That, too, would be an unprecedented federal overreach into state-level elections, McConnell said.
“Still, he made clear he didn’t think Democrats actually cared about his reasoning.
“This modern-day McCarthyism was pushed by big-time outlets,” McConnell said. “The smear that I am ‘a Russian asset’ ran in the opinion pages of the Washington Post. The accusation that I am ‘un-American’ was broadcast on MSNBC. This is the state of left-wing politics in 2019.”
“He added: “These people have worn out the volume knobs so badly that they have nothing left but the most unhinged smears,” McConnell said. “Welcome to modern-day McCarthyism. McCarthy-like tactics out in the open for everyone to see.”‘
After Mitch McConnell claims criticism of his blocking election security bills is "modern-day McCarthyism," Shep Smith says "facts do matter" and that the Senate hasn't brought forth "one standalone bill" to stop Russian election interference.
"Democracy is at stake," he adds. pic.twitter.com/zY1j6KbVmw
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 29, 2019
I get McConnell’s drift here but I might point out that screaming ‘McCarthyism’ is the wrong tact. I’m actually a fan of Joe McCarthy – he should have finished what he started in his hunt for communists in our government and Hollywood. A more appropriate attack here would be to call the left-wing media and the Democrats out for the communists they actually are.
McConnell pointed out that in the 1980s he stood with then-President Ronald Reagan on missile defense and his Soviet policy. He also said he was “honored” to “watch Communism crumble,” before later “sounding the alarm” when then-President Bill Clinton was “too soft on Russia.”
“I used hearings to grill Democratic officials who were soft on President [Boris] Yeltsin and optimistic about President-elect Putin,” McConnell said, noting that many Democrats were less skeptical about Putin.
“And, of course, I helped lead the charge against the Obama administration’s completely feckless Russia policies. President Obama mocked his 2012 opponent for taking Russia too seriously. His administration sought a naive reset with the Kremlin and for eight years I helped lead the charge against that weakness.”
“In 2010, I stood with [Arizona GOP Sens.] John McCain and John Kyl to oppose the new START treaty, a watered-down placeholder for the sort of tough stance we knew was necessary,” McConnell added. “As Vladimir Putin was building up his nuclear arsenal, we even had to push President Obama to commit to deploying capable missile defenses to Europe.”
“In 2012, I firmly supported sweeping legislation to authorize heavy sanctions following the killing of Sergei Magnitsky in a Russian prison. The Obama administration flinched and tried to tiptoe around our legislation to avoid messing up their charm offensive, but we backed them into a corner and the president signed the bill into law.”
— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) July 27, 2019
McConnell summed it up thusly: “Let me make this crystal clear for the hyperventilating hacks who haven’t actually followed this issue. Every single member of the Senate agrees that Russia meddling was real and is real. We all agree that the federal government, state government and the private sector all have obligations to take this threat seriously and bolster our defenses. Claims to the contrary — that anybody here denies what Russians did on President Obama’s watch — are just lies, not partisan distortion, not clever spin, just total fabrications.”
Mitch McConnell literally torched WaPo, Milbank, and the Democrats over this egregious labeling of him as a Russian asset and he called them out for the liars they are. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him this angry and righteously so. I would love to see more Republicans stand up like this and let ‘er rip against the left.
"He is aiding & abetting Putin’s ongoing attempts to subvert U.S. democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI…All Republicans are saying Russia is trying to subvert U.S. democracy & Moscow Mitch won’t even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American.–@JoeNBC pic.twitter.com/vV1TekFgHF
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) July 26, 2019