Raja's Op-Ed: John McCain Is Right: We Need An Independent Investigation Of Russian Interference
As revelations of Russian interference in our democracy continue to emerge, the need for a full and transparent investigation by an independent commission has never been more clear. Though the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have begun related inquiries, neither will fully investigate the activities of the Kremlin or its agents. The inherent politicization of these committees and Congress has made it functionally impossible for any congressional body to render the non-partisan, irrefutable answers the American people are owed and deserve, so we must have an independent commission to address these fundamental issues.
Unfortunately, recent actions have shown that standing Congressional committees are incapable of conducting an impartial investigation. Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes’ decision to publicly inform the White House of new, sensitive information is particularly troubling and casts a shadow on any future actions the Committee may take.
As a member of the Oversight Committee, which would also have jurisdiction over these issues, I echo Senator John McCain’s call that Congress “no longer has the credibility handle this alone.” Now is the time for select committee or independent commission to fully investigate the ties between Russia and the White House and Russia’s broader interference in our democracy. No members of the administration have testified publicly as to their contacts with Russian agents, what secret deals may have been cut, and who made these decisions. The American people need to know if public servants are operating in the best interests of the United States or the Kremlin.
As we await a full investigation, the revelations of Russian interference in our democracy grow only more numerous and disturbing. This week we learned that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was paid millions of dollars by Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian Putin allies to advance the Kremlin’s foreign policy goals. Before that, it was revealed that the Trump campaign authorized a foreign policy adviser’s business trip to Moscow over the summer. These revelations followed false testimony by Attorney General Sessions to the Senate regarding his contact with the Russian ambassador and followed the President’s first National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, resigning after misleading federal agents over his own contact with Russian agents. The record of Russian interference and potential collusion grows, but the investigation has not begun.
The possibility that members of the Trump team coordinated and colluded with agents of the Kremlin on Russia’s interference in our elections is a profound and disturbing one, but it is pivotal that we approach this issue with the seriousness it deserves. A matter of such national security consequence demands an investigation and bipartisanship. It is essential that any investigation be conducted in a bipartisan manner without political interference from any side.