Investigations into Russia’s attack on our democracy by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate are more important than ever, now that the House Intelligence Committee has abdicated its responsibility.
Americans must know the truth about how much Russia’s attack on their democracy benefited President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
By abruptly ending its investigation into the matter on Monday without a convincing answer to this question, the House Intelligence Committee failed America and diminished its credibility with a disappointingly partisan flourish.
The Republican-controlled committee rejected the intelligence community’s finding that Trump benefited from the meddling. It affirmed Russia attacked political institutions and sowed discord but disputed intelligence experts who said this favored Trump.
As if mocking Americans’ ability to see through this hatchet job, Trump and Russia promptly used the committee’s decision to assert their innocence and question the need for further scrutiny.
Some on the far right said it’s now time to throttle Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s independent investigation. Actually the committee’s weak showing makes the work of Mueller, and separate investigation in the Senate, more important than ever. They are the last hope to mend this tear in our flag.
The House Committee’s conclusion lacks authority because of its lack of bipartisanship, incompleteness (concluding before Mueller) and contradiction with objective findings. Its work is also suspect after Chairman Devin Nunes recent attempt to torpedo Russia investigations with his ballyhooed memo.
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, an Olympia Democrat and committee member, said that nobody paying attention to the investigation would suggest the work is finished.
Heck noted that with Mueller’s work ongoing, more than 100 criminal charges have been filed so far against 19 people, including four Trump campaign members.
Contrary to statements from the committee, this is all very much like a spy novel.
The committee’s decision comes as Russia is accused of poisoning a former spy in Britain, an accusation the White House initially soft-pedaled. Shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Russia for the attack, Trump announced his firing.
Congress must not be sidetracked. An orchestrated assault on U.S. election integrity deserves at least as much scrutiny as Congress gave an attack on the Benghazi diplomatic outpost when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.
Irreproachable, apolitical investigations are essential.
Unless, that is, representatives are more interested in supporting political cronies than the integrity of America’s democracy.