Schumer Accuses McConnell of “Aiding and Abetting” the Russians

The Republican Senate has blocked election security legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during the press conference in the Capitol on the formation of the Senate Democrats' Special Committee On Climate Change on March 27, 2019. Bill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of “aiding and abetting” Russian interference in US elections by failing to address election security concerns, despite warnings from the intelligence community that Russia may once again attempt to interfere in the 2020 campaign.

“The Russians want us to lose faith in democracy and feel that elections aren’t on the level, no matter what party’s in charge,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “Mitch McConnell is aiding and abetting it by refusing to do anything.”

“It may be that Trump wants the Russians to participate and he’s telling McConnell to do nothing,” Schumer added. He also suggested McConnell could be trying to cover up for his own failures, noting reports that in advance of the 2016 vote, McConnell refused to sign onto a bipartisan statement from congressional leaders pointing the finger at Russia, prompting the Obama administration to water its own warnings. “Russian interference, or any foreign government interference in our election erodes at the root of our democracy and could actually topple the mighty oak that has been our republic for 200 years. And they are doing absolutely nothing,” Schumer said. 

Schumer’s comments come after McConnell gave a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday morning declaring “case closed” on investigations into the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is complete. McConnell also praised the Trump administration, claiming they had tackled election security and made “Russia pay” for its 2016 interference, while criticizing the Obama administration for not having taken the threat seriously. His assertions stood in stark contrast to recent reporting that President  Donald Trump himself does not like to discuss Russian interference, a reticence that is likely hindering the government’s ability to fight such meddling in 2020. Last year, Mother Jones reported that Democrats on Capitol Hill were frustrated that their Republican colleagues were not moving forward with election security legislation, presumably because Trump saw it as a criticism of his legitimacy.

In a his own speech on the Senate floor after McConnell’s, Schumer challenged his counterpart to do more on election security, starting by facilitating related briefings for senators.

“Even as minimal a request as I made to the leader—an all-Senators, classified briefing from our defense and intelligence leaders so that the Senate understands what we need to do to protect America in 2020 and beyond,” he said, “I’ve been asking for two weeks. We still haven’t gotten action.”

 

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

AN IMPORTANT UPDATE

We’re falling behind our online fundraising goals and we can’t sustain coming up short on donations month after month. Perhaps you’ve heard? It is impossibly hard in the news business right now, with layoffs intensifying and fancy new startups and funding going kaput.

The crisis facing journalism and democracy isn’t going away anytime soon. And neither is Mother Jones, our readers, or our unique way of doing in-depth reporting that exists to bring about change.

Which is exactly why, despite the challenges we face, we just took a big gulp and joined forces with The Center for Investigative Reporting, a team of ace journalists who create the amazing podcast and public radio show Reveal.

If you can part with even just a few bucks, please help us pick up the pace of donations. We simply can’t afford to keep falling behind on our fundraising targets month after month.

Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery said it well to our team recently, and that team 100 percent includes readers like you who make it all possible: “This is a year to prove that we can pull off this merger, grow our audiences and impact, attract more funding and keep growing. More broadly, it’s a year when the very future of both journalism and democracy is on the line. We have to go for every important story, every reader/listener/viewer, and leave it all on the field. I’m very proud of all the hard work that’s gotten us to this moment, and confident that we can meet it.”

Let’s do this. If you can right now, please support Mother Jones and investigative journalism with an urgently needed donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate