Schumer Raises Question of Whether McConnell is Willing to Let Russians Help Trump’s 2020 Campaign

By Staff | May 10, 2019 | 11:58am EDT
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( - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday about the report produced by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and raised the question of whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) was holding back on pursuing election reforms because he believes Russia will try to help President Donald Trump get reelected and he is willing to let that happen.

“I hope the reason that Leader McConnell is resisting a strengthening and securing [of] our elections, I hope the reason is not because he believes Russia will help President Trump and he’s willing to let that go forward. I hope that is not true,” said Schumer.

Here is the full text and video of the part of Schumer’s Senate floor speech on Wednesday that focused on McConnell and the Mueller Report:

We all know that Leader McConnell would like to move on from the Mueller report. We know that he and many Senate Republicans are ready to say ‘case closed.’ We all know that whether he has been bamboozled by, afraid of, worried about, or simply enamored with President Trump, Leader McConnell would prefer to sweep the entire report under the rug.

“So, yesterday, Leader McConnell's speech here on the Senate floor struck me as an impassioned bit of wishful thinking that I believe the leader will regret in later days that he gave.

“I am sure President Nixon wished that the investigations into Watergate would simply go away, just as I am sure President Trump wants Mueller's investigations to fade into the background, but in the first case--President Nixon--we had courageous Republicans who put the rule of law above simple fealty to a President, and they resisted.

“Unfortunately, thus far, Leader McConnell has shown none of that nobility and strength. He is simply going along with President Trump.

“Just for a moment, though, let us set aside the discussion about the President's repeated attempts to obstruct the Federal investigation.

“Let's just talk about the conclusions Mueller came to about election interference in 2016, separate from his views of the investigation of Trump.

“Does Leader McConnell agree that election security is a serious and ongoing challenge? Does Leader McConnell agree with FBI Director Wray that ‘2018 was a dress rehearsal’ for foreign influence campaigns against the United States? Does the leader agree with our intelligence and law enforcement officials who are warning us right now that foreign capitals--Russia above all, but perhaps Iran and China and Turkey--are gearing up to try to interfere with our elections in 2020?

“This is the wellspring of our democracy. Russia may temporarily want to choose one candidate over another--as they chose Trump in 2016 and may well again--but their ultimate goal is to sow such dissension, worry, and lack of faith in our democracy that it could crumble. If everyone believes that foreigners are influencing our elections and the outcome isn't just, that is a terrible--terrible--step downward for America that none of us wants to take.

“So, then why doesn't Leader McConnell at least do something about election security, independent of President Trump--although, those investigations and hearings should go on and will. If so, if Leader McConnell believes this foreign interference in our elections is a serious problem, then he has an obligation to separate himself from his desire to shield the President from accountability and to act on this national imperative to defend our democracy from insidious and foreign attack.

“Whatever Leader McConnell believes about the President's behavior and for whatever reason, there is no reason for Leader McConnell to resist bipartisan bills like the Secure Elections Act that would harden election infrastructure. There is no reason for Leader McConnell to oppose additional funding in the appropriations process for States to safeguard their election hardware. For God's sake, there is no good reason for Leader McConnell to resist or delay scheduling an all-Senators briefing on election threats in 2020. The only reason to do that would be false.

“I hope the reason that Leader McConnell is resisting a strengthening and securing our elections, I hope the reason is not because he believes Russia will help President Trump and he’s willing to let that go forward. I hope that is not true.

“But there is no good reason on God's green Earth why we shouldn't be making our elections more secure, even though we may have different views about the Mueller report.

“So, I urge my friend the Republican leader: Disentangle yourself from the self-serving desire to sweep the Mueller report and all of its findings under the rug. Recognize that it is indisputable that Russian interference is a great threat to our elections, that the Mueller report helped corroborate and document that, and work with us. For the sake of America, Leader McConnell, work with us to protect our country from foreign interference in our elections in the future. Do not—you cannot; you must not--sit on the sidelines.”

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