President Barack Obama launched a wide ranging set of retaliatory measures against Vladimir Putin and Russia today for having meddled in the presidential election. Those measures include everything from economic sanctions aimed at crushing the Russian economy, to unceremoniously kicking dozens of Russian diplomats out of the United States. In a remarkable display of bipartisanship, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham released a joint statement strongly endorsing Obama’s anti-Russia moves. And this may be just the beginning of that cooperation.
McCain and Graham didn’t merely sign off on President Obama’s moves against Russia today. In their brief statement, the two popular Republican Senators vowed to take things even further in the next legislative session. This marks a key measure of support for Obama’s anti-Russia effort, because McCain and Graham will still be in office long after Obama departs. While they may not have much political ground in common in general, they appear to be equally incensed that Russia rigged the election in favor of Donald Trump.
Obama has essentially handed the anti-Trump coalition in the Senate a weapon to use against him. Republican leaders like McCain and Graham can team up with Democratic Senate leaders to push for bipartisan legislation aimed at Vladimir Putin. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who appears to be the only powerful ally Trump has in the Senate when it comes to Russia, may end up backed into a corner to where he can’t stand in the way of the bipartisan effort to go after Putin. The goal would ostensibly be to strangle the Russian economy to the point that the Russians themselves push Putin out of power.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report