Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran is not OK with Russia meddling in our elections. We shouldn’t even have to point that out, of course, as Moran is an American and a member of what used to be Ronald Reagan's GOP.
It’s only because President Donald Trump continues to suggest that he does not take Russia’s serious incursions at all seriously that the willingness of a Republican lawmaker to defend our democracy is worth noting and even applauding.
Just this week, Trump tweeted, “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!” That last sentence captures our view perfectly.
As part of a delegation of American lawmakers in Moscow over the Fourth of July, Moran hopes to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about staying out of our future elections: “Everything I know from the investigations indicate that Russia interfered with elections in the United States," he said. "I also believe that they interfered with elections in France and Germany."
The Kansan isn't sure he'll get in to see the former KGB chief. And Putin may well be too busy persecuting dissenters and journalists, in a country that ranks 180th out of 199 countries in press freedom, behind such paradises of free speech as Venezuela and Sudan. But if he does, here's what he'll tell Putin, ahead of the autocrat's meeting with Trump in Helsinki on July 16.
First, that “interference in our elections is unacceptable.”
And even more importantly, that it's not only up to Putin's fan — the president — to decide how to react.
It's Congress that authorized sanctions and Congress that will remove them only if the ongoing interference ends.
The senator also said this week that Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia must be allowed to run its course: "The outcome needs to be something where we can have faith that the truth has been determined.''
Again, that should go without saying, as should our ongoing commitment to NATO, which the president reportedly told other G7 leaders "is as bad as NAFTA."
Moran persists in a more traditional, less anarchic approach: “We have soldiers from Fort Riley who have been in Europe, most recently Poland, demonstrating our commitment to our NATO allies."
And yes, we're gladder than we should have to be that he said so.