McConnell takes wait-and-see approach to intel nominee

Saturday, 03 Aug, 2019

Trump on Sunday announced his DNI, Dan Coats, was resigning, although some believe Coats was forced out. Officially, Coats is resigning - but no one really doubts that he has been pushed out by the president. President Trump asked Coats to give a public statement, refuting any connection of Russian interference and the president's campaign.

Long on the receiving end of McConnell's pointed attacks, the Democrats relished a chance to go on the offensive against the six-term senator, who's up for reelection next year and has aligned himself closely with President Donald Trump. But it is Coats' proposed replacement that takes this story beyond frustrating and straight to outrageous. Or as Trump claimed via tweet: "they helped get me elected". They say Ratcliffe, a vocal skeptic of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, has shown himself too partisan for a position that is created to objectively oversee the nation's intelligence agencies.

But McConnell's critics revived their attacks last week, after special counsel Robert Mueller confirmed his report on Russian interference in the presidential election for the first time before Congress. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY asked McConnell for a unanimous request to pass a bill that would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to improve election security and require the use of backup paper ballots.

Ratcliffe was one of the president's fiercest defenders during the Mueller hearings last week. Fueled by his consistent downplaying of the Trump-Russia scandal and the special counsel's investigation, the nickname took off.

But the biggest threat election security legislation poses is its ability to delegitimize the Trump presidency.

"A leader who won't protect our country from attack is no patriot", he wrote.

Also last week, special counsel Robert Mueller warned of ongoing Russian threats to election security, and the Senate Intelligence Committee reported that attempts to meddle in the 2016 elections was more far-reaching than previously known. Wray emphasized that the US has not done enough to deter Russian interference.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - whose support is critical to Ratcliffe's confirmation - was somewhat circumspect on Tuesday when asked if the three-term lawmaker was qualified to oversee the 17 USA civilian and military intelligence agencies, whose combined annual budgets total more than $60 billion.

"Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who has been working with Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told reporters Thursday that with the 2020 primaries and caucuses just around the corner, security enhancements would be meant for the next midterms".

Wait, it gets worse.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday knocked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying he was a victim of "modern-day McCarthyism" after critics called him "Moscow Mitch" for blocking election security bills.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has eliminated the last vestiges of the filibuster for appointees and has rubber-stamped a slew of corrupt, incompetent and unfit nominees - many of them executive branch picks who already washed out and partisan judges with scant experience.

McConnell dismissed the bills as "partisan" and their authors as promoters of a "conspiracy theory". "Nothing", said Senator Charles Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate.