July 19, 2018

The Least We Can Do

Senators Coons and Flake demonstrate how much we’ve lowered the bar

by Chris Thomas

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Photo by Jomar

Unless you’ve been erecting a giant Jeff Goldblum statue in London or passing out deodorant on the Vienna metro you probably noticed that President Trump shocked the world this week when he took Vladimir Putin’s word, over that of his own intelligence agencies, on the matter of Russian cyber-attacks on the 2016 election.

The President’s public, televised betrayal of his country sparked more than the usual amount of outrage and exactly the usual amount of action from the Republican establishment, which, thus far, has failed to meet the possibility of a Siberian Candidate President with anything more than stern looks and empty statements.

So the news media pricked up their ears when Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) joined Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) in issuing a statement and introducing a Senate Resolution which does the following:

  1. Commends the Mueller probe
  2. Agrees with the intelligence community’s assessment on Russian election interference
  3. Reaffirms that Russia should be held accountable for said interference
  4. Calls for hearings on the Helsinki summit
  5. Calls for implementation of the sanctions Congress passed with a veto-proof majority earlier this year.

It didn’t pass.

The resolution, which Flake and Coons tried to fast-track by unanimous consent, was squashed by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) who insisted that Senate committees “ought to be permitted to call the witnesses and ask the hard questions and develop the record before we go on record as to a resolution like this.”

This is how low the bar is in the U.S. Senate right now. Senators Flake and Coons made news for and Senator Cornyn derailed a non-binding resolution which doesn’t even condemn the President’s statements in Helsinki. The Flake-Coons resolution is quite literally the least the Senate could possibly do given the events of the last few days and even that is too much for the Senate leadership to stomach.

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A small victory

While the Senate couldn’t manage to find the moral courage to condemn President Trump’s subservience to Putin, they did manage to pass another non-binding resolution asserting that the United States “should refuse to make available any current or former diplomat, civil servant, political appointee, law enforcement official or member of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin”

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