December 12, 2016

This morning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shrugged off calls for a Select Committee to investigate intelligence agencies' meddling in the election while reassuring everyone that he was sure North Carolina Senator Burr would convene an investigation via regular order.

Calling the allegations of Russian meddling “disturbing,” McConnell said the intelligence panel should take the lead, dismissing calls by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others for a special select committee to review the matter.

He said the Intelligence Committee is “more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter.”

“We’re going to follow the regular order. It’s an important subject and we intend to review it on a bipartisan basis,” he said.

This is not sufficient. Rewind with me back to 2013, when Ginni Thomas' Groundswell cabal was hitting up Darrell Issa in midnight meetings to appoint a Select Committee to investigate Hillary Clinton and Benghazi for political gain. They had very specific reasons for wanting a committee, and they put it on the record.

Frank Gaffney was quite specific about the strategic reasons for doing this. It was to be "an unleashing of the Oversight Committee to do this as an existing standing committee with, you know, subpoena powers..."

Select committees get far more power to subpoena documents and records than "regular order" committees. Given FBI complicity with election-tilting, it is critical that any bipartisan investigative committee be unbound from the partisan horse-trading in the Senate in order to give it any credibility whatsoever.

In fact, I would argue that we need a Warren Commission-type investigation with a special prosecutor, given the gravity of the charges.

David Frum has five questions which the investigation must answer:

  • Exactly which institutions did the Russians hack?
  • When did the hacks occur?
  • Was there coordination?
  • Are there financial ties?
  • Where else has Russia intervened?

This is a good start, but it isn't enough.

We need a full investigation into the hacks detected on state voter registration databases, a forensic examination of malfunctioning voting machines in Michigan, an in-depth investigation into the activities of Cambridge Analytica vis a vis their electoral activities and data-gathering, a deep dive into possible FBI corruption, and a very close look at non-profit organizations which acted with political motives.

Finally, they must be unafraid to ask and investigate the question of what Republicans and Donald Trump knew, and when they knew it. That means, by the way, looking carefully at Steve Bannon, who was part of the group who planned the select committee against Hillary Clinton.

This cannot be a narrow investigation. Investigators must be unafraid to reach into the deepest recesses of the activity in this election in order to prevent the next one from being subverted.

This cannot be investigated by the very same people who knew and covered it up, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's ridiculous for him to harumph now and say we cannot have Russians meddling when he was fully aware before the fact and went with a cover-up in order to win at all costs.

At this point, we have an illegitimate President-elect. We, the people, deserve to have answers as to why and how that happened, and it must be investigated without interference by political actors who have a vested interest in keeping the truth from us.

Remember, Republicans actively participated in keeping the information from the American public ahead of the elections, preferring instead to deny information which was being leaked.

Republicans intentionally aided and abetted foreign aggression against American democracy.

I'm going to say that as loud and as many times as I have to in order to be heard. Subversion of our democracy is not acceptable. That cost is too high.

Note: Greg Sargent says we can expect these investigations to be tightly controlled as they roll through the committees. I agree. That is why it is insufficient. We need an actual real investigation.

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