During Corey Lewandowski's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Shirley Jackson Lee objected to being referred to, along with her Democrat colleagues, as useful idiots by Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado.
Buck started his five minutes by referring to an Alliance for Securing Democracy report, which indicates that Russia interfered with elections in more than a dozen countries, including Belarus, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States. But he went further, suggesting that Democrats, by holding the hearing, are playing into the hands of Russia in their efforts to undermine American interests.
For the past three years, Democrats have focused on undermining America’s president, instead of working with Pres. Trump and Republicans in congress to harden our election defenses, he said.
“It’s clear that Putin attacked America with the goal of dividing the American people and today’s hearing is being held for the sole purpose of attacking America’s president, which will weaken our country on the international stage.”
Buck said it is a tactic similar to what was used by Lenin: After overthrowing a Russian czar, Vladimir Lenin and the communists utilized Western journalists as propaganda tools.
“A New York Times journalist defended the Bolsheviks, advocating against American intervention,” he said. “(Lenin) used the term useful idiots to describe how leftist leaning, communist sympathizing people could be used to help the Russians.”
“Do you (Lewandowski) believe that Vladimir Putin is sitting in his office right now in the Kremlin laughing at what those on the other side of the aisle are doing, believing that those on the other side of the aisle are useful idiots helping. . . . “
At this point, Lee objected to being referred to as a useful idiot:
“I have a point of order. According to the rules, and the rules of this committee and the house rules, we cannot attribute derogatory names to our colleagues or motives to our colleagues, and I believe the gentleman said those on the other side of the aisle are idiots. This is a very sacred and somber responsibility. I’ve taken an oath of office, my good friend, just like you did. I’m concerned about the constitution just as you are. And I would not engage in any behavior that could be described as idiot. Never in my life have we every discussed behaving as idiots. Mr. Chairman, that’s an inappropriate terminology and description of the members of this house or Republicans or Democrats, no matter what they are.”
But Lee’s appeal fell on deaf ears: Chairman Jerrold Nadler did not think the label was worth clearing from Rep. Lee:
“I will. I will overrule the point of order. The rules of decorum refer to motive, calling someone an idiot is not flattering but it does not go to motie, and I believe we should have the most robust debate, I believe we should respect each other, but I don’t think we should - but, I don’t think that goes to motive and I’m going to overrule the point of order, the gentleman will proceed.”
Buck said Russia and the Soviet Union has been using this tactic of disruption for more than a century.
“What was Putin’s ultimate goal? A former FBI agent said it is to attack and undermine democracy,” Buck said. “He said the goal is to leave voters feeling as if, quote, either the institutions are corrupt or you can’t trust the vote.”
Buck said the strategy is the kind of classic disinformation campaign the KGB runs, “and as we all know, Vladimir Putin was a former leader of the KGB.”
“They specifically targeted the Scottish independence vote, the Brexit vote, and Angela Merkel,” he said. “Despite knowledge of these kinds of election threats, the Obama administration sat idly by. Instead of warning the Trump campaign, the DOJ and FBI used secret surveillance to spy members of the Trump campaign, all while allowing election interference to occur.”
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