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Scarborough calls McConnell 'Moscow Mitch,' says lack of action on Russian meddling is 'un-American'

The Hill logo The Hill 7/26/2019 Morgan Gstalter
Mitch McConnell wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Scarborough calls McConnell 'Moscow Mitch,' says lack of action on Russian meddling is 'un-American' © Getty Images Scarborough calls McConnell 'Moscow Mitch,' says lack of action on Russian meddling is 'un-American'

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling him "Moscow Mitch" over his inaction on legislation to address Russian election interference.

Scarborough made the comments about the Kentucky Republican during a segment on "Morning Joe" after McConnell blocked two election security measures. The hashtag #MoscowMitch quickly began trending on Twitter following his comments.

Scarborough, a former GOP lawmaker, called McConnell's actions "un-American."

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"How can Moscow Mitch so willingly turn a blind eye not only this year to what his Republican chairman of the Intel Committee is saying, to what Robert Mueller is saying, to what the FBI director is saying, to what the DNI [director of national intelligence] is saying, to what the CIA is saying, to what the United States military intel community is saying," Scarborough asked.

"How can Moscow Mitch keep denying that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin continues to try to subvert American democracy?"

Scarborough accused McConnell of "aiding and abetting Vladimir Putin's ongoing attempts to subvert American democracy" and said it was "un-American" for McConnell to block the Senate from taking up election security legislation.

The nickname took off on social media, with more than 65,000 tweets mentioning the nickname on social media as of Friday morning.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday tried to get consent to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184, with one Republican voting for it.

But McConnell objected to the bill and accused Schumer of pushing "partisan legislation."

Under the Senate's rules, any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object.

The Senate majority leader then objected when Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments.

McConnell's block came after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about continued Russian interference in U.S. elections during his Wednesday congressional hearings.

"We are expecting them to do it again during the next campaign," Mueller said.

Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday also released its long-awaited bipartisan report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Among the key findings of the report, the committee writes that "the Russian government directed extensive activity, beginning in at least 2014 and carrying into at least 2017, against U.S. election infrastructure at the state and local level."

The report also assessed that all 50 states were targeted in 2016 in some way.

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