Tag Archives: election interference

DNI takes ironic action

Surely, I am not the only observer who sees the irony in Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s decision to forgo direct briefings to Congress on foreign government election interference.

Ratcliffe, who formerly represented a Northeast Texas congressional district once served by the late, great Rep. Sam Rayburn, has declared that from now on all briefings will be submitted to Congress in written form. Ratcliffe said he wants to prevent leaks. Hah! As if they won’t occur anyway?

There will be no interaction between the DNI and House Intelligence Committee members, most of whom I should add are Democrats.

Why the irony? Well, when Ratcliffe served in Congress he was none too bashful about grilling those who appeared before the Intel panel, particularly those who were critical of Donald Trump, for whom Ratcliffe often carried a lot of water in defense of his policies.

Now that he’s a member of the executive branch of government, Ratcliffe is trying to shield information about Russian interference in our 2020 election, or so it appears.

This is absurd. It’s ridiculous. It’s also stupid.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a statement that said, in part, according to National Public Radio:

“This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” Pelosi and Schiff said in the statement.

“This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian. And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be,” they said.

Americans deserve to know the whole truth in real time and they need the DNI to provide the public with the knowledge they must have about the security and sanctity of our cherished right of citizenship: our ability to elect a president without foreign hostile government interference.

Russia, Ukraine … which one attacked us in 2016?

Donald John Trump’s defense team today introduced, albeit gently, the notion that Ukraine might have joined its mortal enemy Russia in attacking our 2016 presidential election.

Trump is on trial for his job in the U.S. Senate. The House of Reps’ managers gave it their best shot in their opening argument. Now it’s Trump’s turn.

So what did the legal eagles representing the current president offer? They suggested that Ukraine might have attacked the U.S. election in 2016. But wait!

Russia and Ukraine are at war. Russia re-annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Russia-backed rebels are fighting Ukraine government forces. Thousands of people have been killed.

An alleged Ukrainian attack on our election, of course, is a Russian propaganda talking point, which Republicans in the Senate and House have been parroting. Moreover, U.S. intelligence experts have concluded unanimously that Russia acted alone in attacking our system in 2016, even though Donald Trump keeps denying their findings and disparaging their expertise.

I have to ask: Does it make any semblance of sense for Ukraine and Russia to — and pardon the expression — “collude” to interfere together to influence the outcome of a U.S. presidential election?

My head is spinning.

Yes, Sen. Cornyn, we need a law

I believe I will disagree with John Cornyn, the senior Republican U.S. senator from Texas.

He said the nation doesn’t need a law that requires political candidates to report foreign interference in our elections to the FBI. Cornyn said it should be understood that politicians should report foreign interference to authorities. Cornyn said he would do so if such an attack occurred in an election in which he would be involved. Good for him. I’m glad he would do the right thing.

However, we have a president of the United States who now admits to flouting normal procedure at every turn. Donald Trump told ABC News that if a foreign country — such as “Norway,” as Trump said — had information a political opponent, he would “look at it.”

The Senate sought to enact legislation that would have required candidates to report such interference to authorities, but it was blocked by freshman Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

Cornyn doesn’t see a problem with Blackburn blocking the bill. According to the Texas Tribune: “The simple answer is call the FBI and let them investigate it,” Cornyn said. “We don’t need to pass a law to do that.”

In a perfect political world, by all means you don’t need such a law. However, this old world of ours is far from perfect, as the election of Donald Trump has demonstrated with remarkable clarity. Trump has denied any Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now he says he would allow it in future elections and he “might” notify the FBI.

Cornyn says we don’t need a law to prevent such a thing?

I believe we do need a law, Sen. Cornyn.