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Obama chief: McConnell wanted "watered down" Russia response

McDonough on Meet the Press in 2016. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Denis McDonough, Barack Obama's former chief of staff, told Chuck Todd in a "Meet the Press" interview that Mitch McConnell blocked a more robust response to Russian meddling in the lead up to the 2016 election:

"It took over three weeks to get that statement worked out. It was dramatically watered down," he said, adding that he knew it had been watered down at the request of McConnell.

The backdrop: The exchange was prompted by a claim from Joe Biden that McConnell was focused on "the political play" and "wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment that we would say essentially, 'Russia's doing this, stop.'"

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