James Comey: Republicans, not Obama, have ‘everlasting shame’ for Russian interference response – Washington Examiner
Former FBI Director James Comey said on Thursday that Republicans, not former President Barack Obama, are to blame for not notifying the American public that the Russians were interfering in the 2016 election.
During a CNN town hall, Comey was asked to respond to President Trump’s recent tweet in which he said Obama “did nothing!” about Russian interference after he was informed about it.
“That’s a hard question. President Obama faced a very difficult choice,” Comey said. “The number one goal for the Russians is to damage our democracy and undermine faith in our electoral process. If he makes an announcement that the Russians are coming for the election, has he just accomplished their goal for them? And is he giving Donald Trump an excuse to say Obama fixed the election?
“So I get why he struggled with it,” Comey added. “He did a very sensible thing. He tried to get the bipartisan leaders of Congress to jointly tell the American people this is going on, and in my view, to their everlasting shame, the Republicans refused.”
As former Vice President Joe Biden would tell it, Obama decided against telling the public about Russian interference after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. refused to sign onto a bipartisan statement condemning the Kremlin. McConnell “wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment saying, essentially, ‘Russia’s doing this. Stop,’” Biden said early last year.
McConnell’s team has pushed back, referring to a letter signed by congressional leadership in September 2016 that was sent to the National Association of State Election Directors. That letter, according to Politico, called for bolstering cybersecurity protections in light of reports of hacking, but did not address Russia specifically.