According to this Washington Post report, the CIA has concluded that Russia hacked the 2016 presidential contest, not just to “undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system,” but “to help Donald Trump win the presidency.”
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
None of this comes as much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention, of course. And the Chimps aren’t claiming that Russian intervention threw the election to Trump, because that can’t be proved. No, what caught the Chimps’ eye was the reaction to all of this from the party that fancies itself the One True Protector of Our National Security,™ the GOP.
Rather than address the claim on its merits, Trump’s transition team chose to point and laugh at the CIA under the auspices of its last Republican caretaker, George W. Bush. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”
Here’s Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Chair of the House Intelligence Committee. “I’ll be the first one to come out and point at Russia if there’s clear evidence, but there is no clear evidence — even now. There’s a lot of innuendo, lots of circumstantial evidence, that’s it.” Did we mention that Rep. Nunes is a member of Trump’s transition team?
The Obama Administration considered coming forward with this evidence in September, but the President was concerned that if he did so, he would open himself to a charge of “using intelligence for political purposes.”
Instead, officials devised a plan to seek bipartisan support from top lawmakers and set up a secret meeting with the Gang of 12 — a group that includes House and Senate leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers’ committees on intelligence and homeland security.
Obama dispatched Monaco, FBI Director James B. Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make the pitch for a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” against Russian interference in the election, according to a senior administration official.
The GOP response? You might want to shut off your irony meters for this. “According to several officials, [Senator Mitch] McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” We can be sure, of course, that McConnell’s response wasn’t itself an act of partisan politics, because McConnell had nothing to gain from a Trump electoral win. Unless, that is, you count the later appointment of his wife, Elaine Chao, as Trump’s Secretary of Transportation.
That this marks a genuinely dangerous turn in our electoral politics should go without saying. In addition, the Chimps think this situation is ripe for their patented Shoe on the Other Foot® test. Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if, after a Clinton victory, Democrats had responded to credible evidence of partisan Russian interference with collective yawns, threats, and denials? Republicans would have convened hearings that would last into the next millenium, while calling for their supporters to take to the streets with torches and pitchforks. So much, we suppose, for putting country before party. From now on, any time a Republican tries to steer the narrative toward ‘GOP as party of national security,’ the Chimps intend to meet that effort with howls of derision. Verily we say unto them, it is patent bullshit.
One last point, which might, at first glance, seem unrelated to the post. Yesterday at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump took the opportunity to brag about how the African-American community “came through big league” for him in the election. Needless to say, the numbers show that Trump never lies: blacks turned out in YUUUGE numbers for Trump (8%) over Hillary Clinton (89%). And what, you might ask, about all the black voters who didn’t turn out to vote
because of widespread GOP voter suppression for one reason or another? According to Trump “that was almost as good” as a vote for him.
The moral of the story? It’s OK with the GOP if blacks don’t vote, as long as Vladimir Putin does.