Wis. Legislators react to Trump’s refusal to rebuke Putin on election interference
By Joe Bachman
HELSINKI, Finland — Local and state Wisconsin legislators reacted to the unprecedented move by President Trump to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence regarding 2016 election meddling.
At the time of this publication, Special Investigator Robert Mueller has either indicted or secured guilty pleas of 32 individuals and three Russian companies for involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections. These include four former Trump campaign advisers, 26 Russian nationals, and out of these individuals, three former Trump aides have already plead guilty.
This is in addition to the findings of the FBI, CIA, and the Department of Justice, that actors on behalf of the Russian government meddled in our free and democratic presidential elections in 2016.
Early Monday afternoon, President Trump refused to take the side of U.S. intelligence agencies, asserting his belief in Putin that they were not involved at all.
“…I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be…” said Trump during his joint press-conference with Putin.
Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI 1st District) said the following in a statement:
“There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world…”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had words of her own via Twitter:
“Putin directed an attack on our American democracy & Russia interfered with our elections President Trump needs to stop treating Putin like a friend and start holding him accountable Instead of standing with Putin, the President should stand up for America and our democracy”
On the local side, Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) also released a statement to Stevens Point News regarding the meeting.
“The U.S. intelligence community has made clear in no uncertain terms that Russia interfered in our elections through cyber-attacks and social media and continues their attempts to undermine our democracy. For our president to not only fail to recognize this, but to defend Russian interests is morally wrong, confounding, and disgraceful. This is not about party — this is about our country, its freedom, and its national security.”
Sen. Ron Johnson released the following statement regarding U.S.-Russia relationships, though notably nothing about Trump’s comments towards Russian accountability for 2016 meddling.
“Our deteriorating relationship with Russia has but one cause: Russia’s bad behavior. The list is long: the invasion of Georgia and eastern Ukraine, the illegal ‘annexation’ of Crimea, political assassinations, the downing of MH17, Russia’s complicity in the slaughter in Syria, and Russian meddling in our elections and the politics of other nations, to name just a few. As much as I would prefer a better relationship with Russia, it can only happen as the result of improved Russian behavior. U.S. foreign policy should be uniformly directed to achieve that objective. I urge President Trump to forcefully and repeatedly demand that the Putin regime dramatically improve its behavior.”
Gov. Scott Walker has not released statements and could not be reached at the time of this publication.
America is at an unprecedented crossroads.
As a local publication, it is our duty to respect the first amendment in two ways: First is to as accurately as we can, report local and national news to the best of our ability. Second, is to allow for the free speech of those who want to use their voice to speak out.
Today is one of these days, where many have spoken.
We has been flooded with emails and calls to speak out against what will be seen as an unprecedented moment in American history. While it is important to not let personal opinion seep into bias, I will respect the wishes of many who do want to speak out at this time in our history.
Whichever side you take on this matter, whether it is choosing to believe the president’s judgement on his dismissal of our own intelligence agencies, or whether you believe our intelligence agencies, I will urge on behalf of many local residents that everyone to contact their local, state, and national representatives.
Do not forget that you have a voice.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senator Ron Johnson
Senator Patrick Testin
Rep. Katrina Shankland
Speaker Paul Ryan
Rep. Ron Kind
Rep. Sean Duffy