Donald Trump has been acting suspiciously friendly toward Russian President Vladimir Putin ever since the earliest days of his 2016 campaign. It remains a distinct possibility to this day that a sitting American president is a Russian asset. (And yes, I know many people will question my measured use of the word “possibility.”)
At the same time, for the past two years, the U.S. legislative branch has been led by two Republicans who have both made questionable, if not suspicious, choices in relation to Russia. Chief among those choices was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision in the fall of 2016 to put the kibosh on then-President Obama’s effort to issue a bipartisan warning to the American people about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election. McConnell has also been accused of “watering down” a bipartisan statement about election interference that was sent to state elections officials in September 2016.
During his term as House speaker, Paul Ryan also drew headlines and made decisions that left many Americans questioning his patriotism. Not only did a leaked transcript of dialogue between him and fellow GOP leaders suggest that Trump was on Putin’s payroll, but Ryan consistently backed the efforts of GOP lawmakers like Devin Nunes and Mark Meadows to sabotage the investigation into Trump-Russia.
Regardless of whether McConnell’s and Ryan’s actions were purely a matter of putting party over country or something more sinister, Americans can rest easier now knowing that at least one person running a major body of the U.S. government definitively won’t be making decisions that are somehow influenced by Putin.