The Mueller report, even with all its redactions, shows an erratic, deeply corrupt, highly disqualified Donald Trump, and a team around him intent on saving him from himself—and their own asses—by refusing to go along with his illegal demands. (At least when it came to the Russia probe; they were more than happy to go along with putting babies in cages and banning Muslims from entry to the U.S.) But what it also reveals is a Republican Party that is rotten to the very core, one that didn’t just look the other way when confronted with evidence that a foreign adversary helped install Trump in the White House, but in effect assisted Russia’s interference, and the subsequent cover-up efforts.
We’ve known for quite some time that the majority leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, was aware in the summer of 2016 that Russia was working to help his party’s nominee be elected, that nominee being Trump. McConnell, who had previously said about Trump that “it’s pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about the issues,” and that “I object to a whole series of things that he’s said—vehemently object to them,” and that Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country was “inconsistent with American values,” went on to actively suppress the information that Russia was interfering to elect Trump. Why? That was revealed in an interview he gave when it was clear Trump was getting the nomination. “I want to win the election, and I have to say Donald Trump has done a good job so far of winning elections,” McConnell said. “I hope he can win one more.”
It wasn’t just McConnell, of course. There’s the now infamous conversation between then-House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Kevin McCarthy in June 2016, when McCarthy “joked” that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” At the time, Ryan may or may not have known about Russia’s election interference, but he certainly knew about it later, since he was briefed at the same time McConnell was in the late summer of 2016, when the entire Gang of Eight—congressional leadership and the chairs and ranking members of the intelligence committees—was briefed.
That group included Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. And lookie what Mueller uncovered about him: He was leaking information he received from the FBI to the White House. Specifically, the Gang of Eight was briefed on March 9, 2017, by then-FBI Director James Comey about the status of the investigation, including “an identification of the principal U.S. subjects of the investigation.” A week later, Burr spilled the beans to the White House. On March 16, 2017, the report says, the White House counsel’s office was briefed by Burr on “4-5 targets” of the FBI’s investigation. That’s according to notes taken by then-White House counsel Don McGahn’s chief of staff, Annie Donaldson.
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