Minnesota Democrats, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Betty McCollum, ally with Republican Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsay Graham (SC) in applauding sanctions against Russia for alleged US election interference; push for stronger sanctions to be imposed.
St. Paul, MN – Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) last week on a trip to the eastern European Baltic nations of Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania. Reuters reported:
McCain and other senators assured the former Soviet-dominated countries that the United States would support them, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s praise of Putin and expressions of doubts about NATO.
“We will strongly urge our colleagues toward more meaningful and stronger sanctions against Russia because of their attack on the United States of America,” McCain told reporters in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi.
Radio Liberty interview with McCain, Klobuchar and Graham.
The attack on the US referred to by McCain is the Obama administration’s assertion that the Russian government engaged in election interference during the 2016 Presidential election campaign through cyber-attacks and/or hacking.
Obama responded to a CIA report in October 2016 claiming that a series of emails released primarily through the website WikiLeaks were a result of Russian hacking and intended to be used to harm the election bid of democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.
It is a narrative pursued by the administration and anti-Trump groups despite the repeated assurances by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that the emails did not come from Russia or “any state” government. In an interview with Sean Hannity aired on FoxNews Jan. 3, 2017 (full video), Assange again repeated that the source of the DNC, Clinton and Podesta emails was not associated with Russia, and that “any 14 year old hacker” could have accessed the information released by WikiLeaks last fall.
When asked by Sean Hannity if Assange could tell the American people that he did not get the leaked emails from Russia, Assange repeated, “Our sources are not a state party.”
Disregarding Assange’s statements about the source of the leaked emails, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia on Dec. 29, 2016, including expelling 35 Russian diplomats suspected as being spies and shutting down two Russian facilities in the US. Moves to increase the number of US troops deployed along the Russian border have also occurred. The Sun UK reports:
The US and its Nato allies will send battalions of up to 1,200 to each of the three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and Poland by spring this year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to the US sanctions was unexpected. Rather than to expel American diplomats in retaliation, Putin refused to take Obama’s bait, instead stating: “Reserving the right to retaliate, we will not resort to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy and further steps toward the restoration of Russian-US relations will be built on the basis of the policy carried out by the administration of President Donald Trump.” ~ Sputniknews.com
Putin went on to wish the American people a prosperous new year and congratulate Donald Trump on his successful 2016 presidential campaign. Trump responded via Twitter to Putin’s refusal to retaliate:
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Trump’s praise for Putin has been criticized by Democrat and Republicans, including Minnesota Representative Betty McCollum.
Rep. Betty McCollum weighed in on imposing consequences on Russia for its alleged interference with America’s elections. In a Facebook post on Dec. 29, 2016, McCollum cheered the Obama administration’s actions against Russia and demanded that the incoming Trump administration investigate the alleged Russian hacking of America’s elections.
The democrats’ push to scapegoat Russia as America’s worst enemy is ironic given that in 2012 President Obama scoffed during a debate with Mitt Romney that Russia was dangerous, saying, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because…the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
In Tuesday’s interview with Sean Hannity, Assange asserted that the administration’s motive behind the accusations of election tampering by Russia and the Russian sanctions were to “delegitimize” the Trump presidency.
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