Democrats are becoming increasingly curious and alarmed as to why President Donald Trump and his administration have such a lackadaisical attitude toward Russian attempts to interfere with U.S. elections.
Politico said Saturday night that of all the things that Trump has railed against in speeches and on Twitter — the media, the “career bureaucrats in Washington,” the nation’s intelligence agencies and the multiple federal investigations closing in on the White House — he has never once expressed concern or even curiosity about Russia’s attempts to meddle with the 2016 election.
“The silence from the White House is deafening,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “President Trump has yet to publicly express any concern or condemnation regarding these hostile acts by a principal adversary of the United States.”
Trump named Vice President Mike Pence as the leader of a commission to study “vote fraud” in the U.S. — which the president alleges is the only reason Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton beat him by 3 million in the popular vote — which experts agree is passingly rare and has a negligible effect on vote outcomes.
Whereas, the Intercept and other well-documented sources have stated that there is ample evidence that the Russian government mounted a multi-level assault on the 2016 election through social media disinformation campaigns, message reinforcement using legions of internet “bots,” hacking of computer servers belonging to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and direct hacks on the electoral systems of 39 of the 50 states.
Trump and his surrogates have expressed no alarm over these attacks by a hostile power nor made any move to address and stop the interference, in spite of ousted FBI Director James Comey’s warning that the Russians will “be back” the next time Americans go to vote.
“There doesn’t seem to be a recognition of the seriousness of this threat” from Russia, said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) during a meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. “We have to hear from the administration how they’re going to take that on.”
Some Democrats have said that the silence from the White House is a prologue to the storm that is to come as more is revealed about the forces acting on the 2016 election.
“I can’t say too much, but I can tell you this,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) to Politico. “You have only seen the tip of the iceberg.”
During his explosive testimony before Congress, Comey said that never once did Trump ask him about ways to stop attempts by Russia to meddle with U.S. elections, in spite of numerous one-on-one conversations about the issue.
Ohio Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) said that Democrats are strongly behind the sanctions on Russia proposed by Congress and that they are authoring legislation that will force politicians to disclose the sources of their funding.
“There are few safeguards in place to prevent foreign actors from funneling money into our elections through faceless shell companies,” he said.
Comey warned lawmakers not to be complacent in the face of the threat, even if they are Republicans who were helped into office by the tainted 2016 election.
“They’re going to come for whatever party they choose to try and work on behalf of, and they’re not devoted to either, in my experience,” Comey said. “They’re just about their own advantage.”