Mitch McConnell didn't bat an eye when he was asked about the controversial letter he and 46 of his colleagues sent to Iran this week. Never mind the huge amount of criticism the letter has received with everyone from retired generals, The NY Daily News, and talking heads in the media taking them to task for interfering in the nuclear negotiations, or that some of the Senators who signed the letter are now expressing regret, or the fact that well over 200,000 Americans have now signed a petition demanding that there be treason charges against the Senators.
Instead of admitting they made a mistake, McConnell responded to CNN's Dana Bash by playing a game of "both sides do it" where the examples he gave were in no way the same as Republicans doing their best to sabotage ongoing negotiations and to get us into a war with Iran, and as Jason Easley discussed today, were full of lies as well: Mitch McConnell Acts Like A Criminal By Offering Lie Filled Alibi For Iran Letter On CNN:
Mitch McConnell offered up a lie filled defense of the act of sabotage that he committed against President Obama, but no amount of lies can quell the growing rage of millions of Americans. [...]
I think this is a good case of selective outrage. I remember reading about Sen. Robert Byrd when he was the Senate Majority Leader flying to Moscow during the negotiations over the Salt II treaty explaining to the Russians the Senate’s role in treaty ratification, and John Kerry when he was a senator flew to Managua there and met with a communist dictator, Daniel Ortega, and accused the Reagan administration of engaging in terrorism. So look, members of Congress expressing themselves about important matters, not only at home, but around the world is not unprecedented. So the main point here that I think everybody needs to understand is the president is about to make a very bad deal. He clearly doesn’t want Congress involved in it at all, and we’re worried about it. We don’t think he ought to make a bad deal with one of the worst regimes in the world.”
Later, the Senate Majority Leader defended signing the letter, “I signed the letter. I don’t think it was a mistake. It was no more unusual than Robert Byrd going to Moscow or John Kerry going to Managua. I thought it was entirely appropriate. It explained that the process is going to include Congress at some point.”
Media reports from the 1980s don’t back up McConnell’s historical claims.
Here is how the Chicago Tribune described Byrd’s Moscow trip, ” Eight U.S. senators arrived in Moscow on Saturday to “lay any groundwork“ for improved superpower relations, relations that one of their Soviet greeters called “very bad.“ Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.), the Senate Democratic leader, said the delegation he heads is here “to promote the cause of peace and contribute to a better understanding“ between Moscow and Washington….But he said the Senate wants to work with President Reagan “and we want to try to be helpful in reaching arms-control agreements that will. . . promote peace between these two great countries.“ He said he will deliver a letter from Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday. The senators, he said, want to help the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting, set for November in Geneva, “in every way we can.`”
The congressional delegation that went to Moscow was bipartisan. Senate Republicans also went on the trip. The trip to Moscow wasn’t designed to sabotage a president. The Senators delivered a letter from President Reagan to Soviet leaders.
The Senators were trying to help the White House, not sabotage a president.
On the Kerry example, the Boston Globe reported, Within weeks of taking office in 1985, he was off to Nicaragua, accompanied by reporters on a 36-hour, self-appointed fact-finding mission with another freshman, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Congressional Democrats had accused the White House of exaggerating the communist threat posed by the Sandinista regime. So the two senators were publicly castigated when — just days after meeting with Daniel Ortega and other leaders of the regime — the Sandinistas climbed aboard a plane to Moscow to cement their Soviet ties.”
The Kerry trip was more controversial, but it different from what the 47 Republicans did because Kerry was engaged in a self-appointed fact-finding mission. He wasn’t speaking for the Senate or threatening to undermine the president. Read on...
Of course none of McConnell's assertions were challenged by Dana Bash, who seemed much more concerned about the political implications of their actions rather than whether McConnell was telling the truth, or just how dangerous the game they're playing is if it means getting us into another war in the Middle East.