Cory Gardner, Donald Trump.
As Politico’s Burgess Everett reports, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, fresh from concern trolling about nonexistent “riots” after Donald Trump’s Electoral College formality yesterday, might be acting out of something like genuine concern over reports of Russian state-sponsored intervention in the 2016 elections.
Or, as readers can decide for themselves, maybe not:
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told POLITICO he would introduce a bill that, if passed, would mandate a new select Senate committee on cybersecurity. The move could intensify pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who so far has resisted appointing a select committee on cybersecurity. He insists the chamber’s traditional committees, led by the intelligence panel, should handle the issue.
Gardner’s move came a day after GOP Sens. McCain (R-Ariz.) and Graham (R-S.C.), along with incoming Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), called for a special panel in a bipartisan letter to McConnell. It’s unclear, however, how extensive GOP support will be for a select committee, since any Republicans who get behind the proposal will be implicitly siding with the Democratic Senate leader instead of their own…
On the one hand, Gardner is making noise about an issue that, on balance, most Republicans would prefer to let expire on its own as quickly as possible. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is on record opposing Gardner’s proposal for a new cybersecurity committee, and other GOP committee leaders in the Senate are reluctant to cede any of their own power to some new committee.
But there’s a larger problem with Gardner’s bill to create a new cybersecurity committee in the Senate to investigate attacks like the apparent Russian intelligence operation to disrupt the 2016 election in support of Donald Trump.
Is Gardner setting up a way to bury any specific investigation of what happened in 2016?
Gardner, who is close with McConnell, took pains to cast his proposal as far broader than the Russian hacking of U.S. election officials. [Pols emphasis] His hope is to introduce the bill with bipartisan cosponsors early next year.
“From North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures to Iran’s attack on a New York dam, it’s evident that we are facing a growing cybersecurity challenge. The nature and complexity of recent cyber-attacks require a whole of government approach to cyberspace and the development of federal policy to mitigate the threat and protect everything from personal information to the security of our critical infrastructure,” Gardner said in a statement.
The fact is, we are probably never going to get a “Benghazi Committee” to look into what happened in the 2016 elections out of a Republican-controlled Congress. The difference in the response to this potentially very large scandal and the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya from the Republican-controlled Congress obviously does not make them look good, but it is what it is.
What’s important for Colorado to understand is that Gardner’s committee may do more to obfuscate the truth about this specific incident than to uncover it. It might not, and if an impartial and comprehensive investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 elections actually happens as a result of something Sen. Gardner does, we’ll be the first to apologize. But Gardner’s vague expressions of concern over Russian hacking during this election have never once mentioned what the intelligence points to above all.
That is, the motive.