The following op-ed appeared in the March 25th edition of the Wall Street Journal.
Democrats talk tough about getting to the bottom of election meddling and standing up to Russia, but their actions reveal they’re interested only in “getting” Donald Trump. Republicans have long seen Russia as a threat, and we—including the president—have acted to counter its aggression.
We learned Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concluded that neither Mr. Trump nor any member of his campaign conspired or colluded with Russia to influence the results of the 2016 election. That’s great news for Mr. Trump and his team—and for all Americans. Our leader was not installed by Vladimir Putin.
Democrats and some media figures aren’t satisfied. They want to continue probing and keep this conspiracy theory alive. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has floated the idea of subpoenaing Mr. Mueller and investigating his investigation. ABC News’s Matthew Dowd likened Mr. Mueller to “Johnny Appleseed,” planting trees that will one day bear “fruit.” I’m new to Congress, but to me this seems partisan.
Mr. Mueller did indict 13 Russian nationals for offenses related to election meddling. We know Moscow spent money on Facebook ads designed to exploit America’s divisions, targeting voters on both sides of the aisle. And Mr. Trump and the Republicans have responded. Under legislation enacted by a Republican Congress, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs and intelligence agencies.
Beyond the meddling, Mr. Trump has slammed Russia with bold moves designed to weaken Mr. Putin on the world’s stage. This administration imposed sanctions on Russia for violating nonproliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran, Syria and North Korea. The Trump administration also issued more sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and its continuing occupation of Crimea. In 2017, the administration expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers and ordered multiple Russian consulates to close after Russia used a military-grade chemical weapon in the U.K. Mr. Trump even blocked Mr. Putin’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Russia if it goes ahead.
These tough actions have had an effect. Between January and July 2018, the Russian ruble declined 9% against the U.S. dollar. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry expects its economy to grow only 1.3% in 2019. The U.S. economy grew 2.9% in 2018 and is headed for another strong year.
In 2017, Mr. Trump supplied Ukraine with weapons so it could defend itself against Russian attacks. Remember, it was President Obama who stood idly as Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has also engaged in hard-fought battles with Russian mercenaries in Syria.
In a sense, Russia succeeded in its mission to stoke division and fear within America. Some top Democrats have played right into Moscow’s hands by pursuing endless partisan investigations. If Democrats care about thwarting Russian meddling and aggression, they will disavow their conspiracy theory that our president is Mr. Putin’s puppet, and stop wasting taxpayer money peddling disproved collusion narratives. Instead, they can support this administration’s efforts to stand tall against the consistent threat Russia poses to America’s national security.