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McConnell denies he slowed Obama's 2016 Russia response

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed back at Democratic charges that they single-handedly diluted a bipartisan push in September 2016 for states to shield their election systems from Russian disruption.

McConnell addressed the challenge 48 hours after Denis McDonough, who served as then-President Barack Obama’s chief of staff back then, charged that your GOP leader slow-walked bipartisan negotiations on what congressional leaders should weigh in within the threat of Moscow’s cyber-meddling in the 2016 election.

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McConnell told reporters that she had no regrets concerning the amount of the warning that state election officials received with regards to the threat of Russian interference in 2016.

"I’m perfectly comfortable with the steps that had been taken back then," he said.

McDonough offered a far different perspective on Sunday, telling "Match the Press" the fact that joint statement congressional leaders issued weeks prior to the election "took control of three weeks" to craft. "It turned out dramatically watered down," McDonough said, attributing your energy solely to McConnell.

Former Second in command Joe Biden in January created a similar accusation about McConnell’s role in January, nevertheless McConnell "wanted no portion of developing a bipartisan commitment that individuals would say essentially, ‘Russia’s repeating this. Stop.’… I thought this was all about the political play."

Seeming to understand Biden’s remarks, the Kentucky Republican on Tuesday described McDonough’s comments as "the usual thing they are saying for weeks."

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart pointed to a July op-ed by McDonough that described the Obama administration’s demand a bipartisan statement against election meddling as "ultimately successful."

Obama’s aides had "asked for a letter about election security – not Russia," Stewart said by email, adding that McDonough’s op-ed relates his ask for "DEMOCRATS to refrain from doing a public statement about Russia throughout this same stretch of time. Provide a rest."

McDonough wrote inside the Post that he "asked two Democrats to withhold a public statement within the matter mainly avoiding politicizing the issue," just "because i was extremely concerned the fact that perception of partisan motives would undermine Americans’ confidence from the vote and work out state authorities more reluctant to cooperate."

While Democrats go on to hammer the Trump administration for not doing more to punish Russia due to the documented meddling in the 2016 election to help Trump’s election, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Senate Military Committee members on Tuesday that new sanctions targeting Russian involvement in cyber-meddling could well be "around the corner," perhaps within days.

Nolan McCaskill led to this report.

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