Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) are firing back at Democrats’ remarks amid concerns about the possibility of election interference being an issue for the upcoming general election.
The Republican lawmakers released a joint statement on Sunday in support of Bill Evanina — who serves as the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC).
Democratic leaders insisted Evanina “does not go nearly far enough in arming the American people with the knowledge they need about how foreign powers are seeking to influence our political process,” according to their statement released on Friday.
However, McConnell and Rubio argue otherwise.
“We are disappointed by the statement from Senator [Chuck] Schumer, Senator [Mark] Warner, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, and Representative [Adam] Schiff about Bill Evanina,” Rubio and McConnell said in of Democrats’ remarks.
They added, “Evanina is a career law enforcement and intelligence professional with extensive experience in counterintelligence. His reputation as a straight-shooter immune from politics is well-deserved.”
The Republican lawmakers went on to further condemn the statement by the Democratic Congress members, which they described as a “manufactured complaint,” that raises questions about Evanina’s character.
“We believe the statement baselessly impugns his character and politicizes intelligence matters,” the statement read. “Their manufactured complaint undercuts Director Evanina’s nonpartisan public outreach to increase Americans’ awareness of foreign influence campaigns right at the beginning of his efforts.”
The joint statement comes just days after Democrats’ sounded off with their concerns on Friday. In their statement, Democratic leaders noted the timing of previous Russian election interference “in favor of President Donald Trump” which began “almost exactly four years ago.”
“Almost exactly four years ago, we first observed the Russians engaging in covert actions designed to influence the presidential race in favor of Donald Trump and to sow discord in the United States. Now, the Russians are once again trying to influence the election and divide Americans, and these efforts must be deterred, disrupted and exposed.”
Shortly after their statement was released, Rubio sounded off about election concerns on Twitter. The Florida senator noted the possibility of “threats to the election” as he accused Democratic leaders of “continued politicization of intelligence.”
He tweeted, “The reason Democrat leaders know about threats to our election is because the Trump Admin has informed them.
“Their continued politicization of intelligence matters hurts our nations ability to collect intelligence [and] helps foreign adversaries sow distrust in our institutions,” Rubio added.
The reason Democrat leaders know about threats to our election is because the Trump Admin has informed them— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 25, 2020
Their continued politicization of intelligence matters hurts our nations ability to collect intelligence & helps foreign adversaries sow distrust in our institutions
Despite ongoing complaints about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the possibility of interference in the upcoming election, Trump and Republican leaders have denied the allegations, deeming Democrats’ concerns a “hoax.”
The president has defended his stance on a number of occasions, insisting the previous investigation was nothing more than a “witch hunt.”