Over the weekend the leading topic of discussion was an allegation made by the CIA that the Russian government had interfered in the election with the intention of electing Donald Trump. As is so often the case, whenever a headline is to be made by giving the Democrats a hand, John McCain was standing by:
GOP Sen. John McCain called for forming a select committee on Sunday to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“I would like, in an ideal world, to have a select committee,” the Arizona Republican told John Dickerson on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
But McCain acknowledged that garnering enough support to create a select committee — the same type of committee that investigated, among other things, Watergate and the Benghazi attacks — would take time. In the meantime, McCain said, he would ask Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to chair a subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services to investigate the Russian interference, “along with a really smart Democrat.”
“We’ll go to work on it,” McCain said. “We’ll go to work immediately.”
Sometimes you have to wonder what, if anything, goes on inside of McCain’s head. McCain opposed select committees on Benghazi and to look into IRS intimidation of conservative groups and the $1.7 billion cash ransom Obama paid for US hostages held by Iran. But… whatever.
Mitch McConnell had now officially killed this bright idea:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said recent findings by the CIA that the Russian government tied to influence the U.S. presidential election should be investigated by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Calling the allegations of Russian meddling “disturbing,” McConnell said the intelligence panel should take the lead, dismissing calls by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others for a special select committee to review the matter.
He said the Intelligence Committee is “more than capable of conducting a complete review of this matter.”
“We’re going to follow the regular order. It’s an important subject and we intend to review it on a bipartisan basis,” he said.
McConnell noted that he sits on the panel as an ex officio member and that incoming Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) will soon join it in the same capacity.
He also said that McCain will be conducting his own review of cybersecurity threats facing the nation as chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
I think McConnell keeping this in regular order is the best solution if the investigation is going to completed expeditiously. By giving it to an existing committee with existing staff and methods of working together several weeks are saved plus the committee staff can begin prep work over the holidays. The assignment could just as easily gone to Senator Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee but the fact that the Senate majority and minority leaders sit as “ex officio” members of the intelligence committee suggests that this investigation found a home at the Intelligence Committee because McConnell is taking the allegations very seriously.