I have covered several Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill for the Montgomery County Sentinel. That is what I do. However the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on social media influence in the 2016 U.S. election held on November 1st was like no other.
The usual Congressional hearings I have attended are like the hearing during which former CIA Director John Brennan testified before the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Russian influence in our 2016 presidential election. During that hearing it was difficult to tell if the Republican members and the Democrat members were there for the same purpose. While the Democrat questions dealt with Russian interaction with the Trump campaign, the Republican questions dealt primarily with Hillary Clinton's emails.
No such variation in questioning during the social media hearing on November 1st. During this hearing, to my surprise, both Republicans and Democrats were for the most part on the same page. Quite simply, their questions focused on the extent of the Russian use of social media to attempt to influence the outcome of the election, what is being done to prevent any recurrence of that improper use of social media AND why was nothing done earlier!
I will readily admit that I was never under the impression that Donald Trump personally coordinated with Russian counterparts to influence the 2016 presidential election and hand him the White House. However, I am convinced of the following three key points: (1) it is likely that certain members of the Trump campaign did, indeed, do just that, (2) Trump does have definite financial ties to Russian entities that go back decades and are problematic for various reasons, and (3) to prevent both items one and two above from being exposed for all to see, Trump did attempt to impede and obstruct the investigations underway to determine the levels of Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Further, by doing so he continually obstructs a critical step in preventing the recurrence of this influence in future elections.