Some Republicans tout the benefits of an attack on U.S. election

A person man uses a laptop. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa/AP)
A person man uses a laptop.
At his year-end press conference on Friday, President Obama addressed the controversy surrounding Russia's alleged espionage operation targeting the American presidential election, at least in part to help put Donald Trump in the White House. Obama made his case that this "shouldn't be a partisan issue," adding, "I don't think any American wants" foreign influence in our election process.There are at least some Republicans in Congress who may take issue with the sentiment.

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said Thursday that it was "terrific" that voters got more truthful information about Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, regardless of whether the hackers were Russian."The hackers, whether or not they're Russian hackers, I don't know," the California congressman said. "I know the CIA and the FBI disagree as to who the hackers are. But whether they're Russian hackers or any other hackers, the only information that we were getting from hackers was accurate information, was truthful. And that's not gonna turn the tide. If the American people have been given more truthful information, that's terrific."

Rohrabacher, by the way, has been characterized as "Putin's favorite congressman."Soon after, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), one of Trump's most persistent champions, argued that there are "people who are lying and are deceitful" -- he was apparently referring to Democrats, not Donald Trump -- and that the stolen emails "point out the truth."Collins added that "all countries" launch cyber-attacks, and if Russia's interference in the American political process "had an impact, then so be it."It's a curious response to the scandal, even by GOP standards. It's a bit like responding to Watergate by saying, "Let's not dwell on Nixon's unprecedented abuses of power; what really matters is what Nixon's White House dug up on its enemies, even if the information was obtained illegally."Making the argument even more bizarre, the materials allegedly stolen by Russian officials turned out to be surprisingly dull. There were some mild embarrassments that came to light, but none of the emails pointed to corruption, deceptions, or any actual wrongdoing on the part of Democratic officials or the Clinton campaign.To hear Rohrabacher and Collins tell it, what matters are the Clinton-related revelations, not Russia's attack on American democracy. But for those who care about the details, the truth remains that the Clinton-related revelations were boring and inconsequential.Apologists for this scandal will have to do better if they want their talking points to be taken seriously.