Politics

In Blistering Attack, Mitch McConnell Fires Back on ‘Russian Asset’ Accusation

'The Obama administration flinched and tried to tiptoe around our legislation to avoid messing up their charm offensive,' said the Kentucky Republican

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) let loose this week to defend himself against a barrage of attacks from the Left after a Washington Post op-ed declared McConnell to be a “Russian asset.”

Fox News reported that McConnell blasted the op-ed’s author, Dana Milbank, whom he described as one of many “hyperventilating hacks” who conveniently ignored former President Barack Obama’s “feckless” Russia policies.

Milbank claimed this in the op-ed: He said that since McConnell opposes many election-security bills proposed by Democrats, that basically makes him an unwitting Russian agent.

The mainstream media then took this and ran with it, with MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s branding McConnell “Moscow Mitch,” and adding that he was “aiding and abetting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to “subvert” American elections.

Scarborough even went so far as to claim that a Russia-linked investment in Kentucky could be playing a part in his opposition to the bills.

“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 in response.

“But this modern-day McCarthyism is toxic, and damaging, because of the way it warps our entire public discourse.”

“Facts matter,” he continued. “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.”

McConnell went on to defend himself with his record, saying that he stood with then-President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s on missile defense and his Soviet policy. He added that 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, pointing out that many Democrats were less skeptical about Putin.

McConnell then mentioned Putin’s aggression in Crimea under Obama.

“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.”

McConnell then mentioned Putin’s aggression in Crimea under Obama.

“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 said.

“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.”

When McConnell got to his conclusion, he did not mince words.

“Let me make this crystal clear for the hyperventilating hacks who haven’t actually followed this issue,” he said. “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.”

This piece originally appeared in the Objectivist and is used by permission.

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