Russia, Trump and the Election

Ulp:

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

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.”

The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

The key allegation here is that Russia hacked both the DNC and RNC but chose only to leak the DNC e-mails to make Clinton look bad. Trump, of course, is denying this was the case.

A natural caveat: these are anonymous sources within the CIA. We don’t necessarily know that the report is accurate. I think a Congressional investigation is necessary before we draw any big conclusions. And I do think this should be investigated. The results of the Wisconsin recount put to bed the conspiracy theory that Putin hacked the actual election results. But the allegation that a foreign power is using hacking and selective leaks of information to influence our election is a serious one.

The key problem at this stage is that the Democrats are seeing this in strictly partisan terms which, unsurprisingly, makes it a partisan issue. LGF, having completed its decent into madness, is one of several sites demanding that the Electoral College refuse to elect Trump based on this. That is, they are demanding that the College — which last week they denounced as an undemocratic artifact of slavery — overturn an election based on anonymous report from the CIA that Russia favored the winning candidate. That we respond to a foreign attempt to destabilize our political system by really destabilizing the political system.

It’s hard to describe how insane that is. Even if these allegations are true, they do not make Trump an illegitimate President. We have had foreign powers trying to influence our politics forever, through economic and political pressure. The Soviets were masters at this, covertly funding “peace” movements and nuclear disarmament movements. In fact, KGB documents alleged that Ted Kennedy — folk hero of the Democrats — ASKED the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election.

Whatever role the Russians played in this, they did not make Clinton one of the most dishonest and distrusted people to run for President. They didn’t make her lie about everything from Bosnian snipers to pneumonia. They didn’t make her bungle healthcare reform in the 90’s. They didn’t make her ignore Wisconsin and Michigan. They didn’t make her lose the trust of black voters. She did that all on her own.

Now if the investigation were to discover that Trump knew of Russia’s intervention and worked with them, that’s a different kettle of fish. That would be an impeachable offense. But that’s a very high bar to clear.

As it happens, I am concerned about Trump’s pro-Russia stance (his rumored State Department head is the CEO of Exxon and, like Trump, has numerous business ties to Russia). I am sure that Putin did favor him. We need to look into this (and into Trump’s business ties to Russia). But let’s not start the revolution just yet.

  1. IMO, Trump won legitimately, and this is a last desperate act by the Democrats. Trump won by the largest margin of any Republican candidate since 1988, and he won a significant portion of the black vote, which is something that Democrats are really unhappy about. I’m sure Putin is happy Trump won, and if he did hack into the campaign, then it should be investigated. But in the end, the only one who kept Hillary from winning was Hillary herself. What the Democrats should be worried about is any investigation revealing the cheating and fraud on their part.

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  2. The key allegation here is that Russia hacked both the DNC and RNC but chose only to leak the DNC e-mails to make Clinton look bad.

    Is this fact or just speculation? We only know what wikileaks made public, not what the Russians gave to wikileaks, is it possible that the Russians gave incriminating hacked intel on both parties and wikileaks was playing politics, not the Russians?

    The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.

    How generous. I think occam’s razor is more accurate, it is the practice of Obama to retreat, not confront, to put head in sand and hope that things blow over, this has been his pattern in the past and this is why nothing was done about the hacking.

    Another consideration, the CIA has a history of getting it wrong (WMD’s in Iraq, 9/11, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Iran, Indian nuclear tests, on and on). Yes sinister oppressive regimes have been hacking us for years, multiple presidents, with nary a wimper in response, all Americans should be outraged. The Chinese have been stealing our intellectual property for decades, and this is certainly not Russia’s first foray into cyber espionage. You would think that the nation that practically invented the internet, computers, and all things digital could come up with some security software that would prevent this kind of stuff. You would also expect some outrage and a proportional response to these types of breaches, how disappointing.

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  3. When Romney warned people Russia was dangerous and that the amateurs in DC where playing a losing game, he got accused of using the “red scare” tactic for political gain. After all, Her Majesty Shillary – she whom when asked what to do about the conflict in Syria said she would put a no-fly zone up in an area contested by Russian aircraft and air defenses was not called out for risking WW3 by starting a direct confrontation with a heavily nuclear armed country – had just reset the game with them using of all things a Staples “That was easy” button. Now, if the left wants you to believe that the Russians hacking the DNC servers and releasing the fact they are a bunch of corrupt and evil fucks, is meddling with the election. What irony. Everyone forget Hillary made it easy for them to hack the DNC and the country, but we are still being told that was not a crime?

    The left can’t admit they got it wrong, their ideology sucks ballz and people have figured that out, and have turned their backs on them, based on the results of this election. Oh no. The Russians helped evil racist Nazi Trump steal it!. That and Americans are all evil racists, misogynists, and homophones. Hence the idiotic piece by a NYT reporter claiming the CIA confirmed the Russians did it (not that the current incarnation of the CIA is to be trusted like every arm of the lefty infested government we have). Pardon me for having more trust in “The Enquirer” or “Mad Magazine” than the NYT on 999 out of 1000 subjects. After the display of condescending bias this election cycle I feel perfectly vindicated to make this claim.

    I hope that this remains the exact extent of the left’s analysis of why they lost an election that the inner circle of credentialed elite was sure was in the bag for them, and that they double down on more of the same (which they are doing to my unending delight). Nothing will help marginalize the left more than them being honest about what they believe, want to do, and actually do. This shit might do well with the usual reprobate leftist moron, but more and more people are catching on that the left is dangerous.

    BWT, if you can’t understand why the left is freaking out so bad, remember that they spent the last 8 years weaponzing government and specifically the office of the presidency, and now they worry Trump will do to them what they hoped Hillary would do to the rest of us. It’s projection by lowlifes.

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  4. they spent the last 8 years weaponzing government and specifically the office of the presidency,

    Funny, that you didn’t seem to be nearly as worried when the previous incumbent spent the previous eight years “weaponizing” the presidency, undermining international law, and expanding the power of the executive to unprecedented proportions. This allowed the current incumbent very solid foundations on which to build.

    Trump has shown no really understanding of the Constitution in his public comments, so I am not really sure how the next eight years will turn out, fwiw. It could be a good thing that he hasn’t read it, or it could be a bad thing. Very very  bad.

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  5. Who gives a fuck about international law? I sure as hell don’t. The extent international law has on the US is restricted to TREATIES that actually go thru the approval process. The US shouldn’t give a rats ass about “international law” as all it is is a tool for shithole countries to try and steal things they didn’t earn themselves.

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  6. Trump has shown no really understanding of the Constitution in his public comments

    Do you have any idea (apparently not since you go here repeatedly) the irony of this observation, given what Obama has done to the Constitution. Has there ever been a more reckless, lawless, disregard for Constitutional authority and limitations? 5th grade civics students in middle school have a better understanding of what a president can and can’t do (legally), yet, Trump is the one too dumb to understand the preeminent legal document of the land. And yet, you are NOT an Obama stooge, right.

    so I am not really sure how the next eight years will turn out, fwiw.

    Well, the good news is that you are at least retreating from your doomsday scenarios of the past (hey, no lynchings reported so far, 6 weeks in, how lucky we have been)

    I heard Trump twice this week couch his responses to questions in terms of him making progress in the time span of 8 years, like he automatically gets a second term, now I see you giving him 8 years. I bristle at such notions. As far as I’m concerned, Trump gets his one shot, 4 years. No swamp is so big that it can’t be drained in 4 years, if he can’t get it done, then out he goes. Obama pulled this shit 2 years into his term, namely that the problems are so massive that it will take 8 years to get anything done, sorry, it was crap when Obama says it and it is crap when Trump says it.

     

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  7. Interesting how the FBI sees no involvement, but the CIA does. My understanding is that the FBI goes by the standard of what is provable in court while the CIA goes by the standard of “behavior” and makes inferences based on said behavior. That’s why the CIA often gets things wrong because it is their focus to “predict.” Not that this is bad, we do need to be proactive – but you also get cases such as WMDs in Iraq etc that were a clear overreach but that the government used to take action (not just the evil Bush but also the democrat and republican establishment). So, I’d be careful with using the CIA. Hell, I’d be careful with the FBI as well. They’ve all become politicized to our detriment.

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  8. Has there ever been a more reckless, lawless, disregard for Constitutional authority and limitations? 5th grade civics students in middle school have a better understanding of what a president can and can’t do (legally), yet, Trump is the one too dumb to understand the preeminent legal document of the land.

    I refer you to Article 12 of the constitution, and I rest my case.

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  9. OK, I’ll play your game;

    So Trump, speaking off the cuff, manages to confuse Articles with Amendments, but the brilliant Constitutional scholar does not know how many states we have.

    None of this, BTW, detracts from the points I made about Obama’s difficulties with the concept of separation of powers.

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  10. This isn’t a competition and I am not actually going to defend Obama on what it has done with the constitution. I haven’t. But as I have said many times before, the trashing of the constitution began under the Bush administration, continued under Obama, and based on Trump’s statements on everything from libel laws and free speech to creating lists of Muslims, may well get worse under the next administration. When asked about eminent domain, he said that he thought it was a wonderful thing. He proposed killing the  members of terrorists. He says that justices “sign” bills. He plainly doesn’t understand separation of powers in his statements on appointments and use of the DOJ. And if he continues to run his businesses behind the scenes, it is highly likely to get him into trouble.

    It is very clear that Trump has not read or understood the constitution. He makes up policy on the fly and if he pushes it, he likely to spend his entire period of office fighting in the courts on multiple fronts.

    Why does everything have to be left vs. right? Support for the constitution and the rule of law should be something that everyone should agree on.

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  11. Trashing the Constitution did not start with Bush, sorry, it just seems odd that you are worried about Trump doing the very thing that Obama has built a legacy on. But yes, all those things (things I wrote about this past year, BTW, as very troubling to me) you mentioned about Trump are true. He said some absolutely crazy things. All the more reason why we need someone grounded and voiced in the Constitution at Justice, someone who will push back on overreach, something Lynch and Holder did not do.

    His business dealings are NOT a Constitutional breach, the Emoluments Clause does not apply to the president, or so it has been interpreted with no clear cut ruling by SCOTUS. I agree that the optics are not good, but I do not expect Trump to liquidate all of his holdings. I am OK with his kids running the business. Yes, the MSM will be howling at every move, tough shit. Until they can produce a clear cut quid pro quo, leave him alone.

    Support for the constitution and the rule of law should be something that everyone should agree on

    Sure, the problem has been that the real defenders of the Constitution has for a very long time resided on one side of the aisle. I would love for the left to start couching their arguments through the prism of the Constitution, that would be a nice change.

     

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  12. Bringing it back to the Russia question – actually there are a number of questions in my mind.

    1.       Did Russia influence the election? We don’t know for sure, but it does look like they at least tried to. We don’t know for 100% that Russia leaked to wikileaks, and we don’t know how much it had an actual effect. It certainly didn’t help team Clinton, but then again a lot of things didn’t. My side shouldn’t be talking about this costing the election.

    2.       Did they specifically try and help Trump – again, we don’t know for sure. The evidence is circumstantial at best. Also there’s no claim that Trump was involved at all.

    3.       Is it possible that this happened? Absolutely. That’s why an investigation is 100% needed.

    4.       What does this mean going forward? What does it mean when the 45th President of the US has (even suspected) ties to Russia. Several of his picks favour a more pro-Russian, anti Sanction relationship with Russia. Now this may be nothing to do with Putin, but the suspicion is there, and that weakens the US position internationally. Trump might fully believe that NATO is worthless, but he can’t make that argument now without the spectre of Russian influence hanging over the decision. Ditto Ukraine. Syria. Every decision is going to be second guessed.

     

    Either Trump stitched up Clinton, or Putin stitched up Trump…..

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  13. His business dealings are NOT a Constitutional breach, the Emoluments Clause does not apply to the president, or so it has been interpreted with no clear cut ruling by SCOTUS.

    That may or not be the case:

    Even if Trump does that [Chinese walls], serious Emolument Clause issues will remain, especially those surrounding favorable treatment that a presidentially owned business may not have sought out but which may nonetheless constitute “presents.” Congress should expect to ramp up the expertise it can apply to these problems, and (absent divestiture) assign ongoing committee responsibility to tracking them.

    And even though the constitutional issues are far from certain, and as Randall Elision says, “we are flying blind.”  There may also be issues related to other federal laws. If not handled properly at the outset, at the very least, it opens Trump to a potentially very distracting series of lawsuits that will undermine his ability to do his job.

     

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  14. Either Trump stitched up Clinton, or Putin stitched up Trump…..

    Trump also possibly stitched up Taiwan yesterday, by making it a bargaining chip in negotiations over a free-trade deal with China…

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  15.  but it does look like they at least tried to

    Maybe, another more probable possibility was that they were trying to collect dirt on the more likely winner, Clinton, for future bribery or extortion.

    I also find it hilarious, and this is not directed at you Cress, that the bumbling stumbling CIA, the group that missed the Crimean take over, that missed the Ukraine incursion, and missed the Russia’s Syrian campaign, now all of the sudden they can interpret with “high probability” that Russia tried to get Trump elected.

    It is also interesting that supposedly the Russians hacked the DNC, but was unsuccessful in hacking into the RNC. And no mention of them getting Podesta’s emails, those more politically damaging for Hillary.

    We have known about Russian cyber shenanigans since early spring, with Obama doing his usual, doing nothing and ignoring it. By all means, we should hold hearings and investigate, but until Brennan puts out some hard evidence, he should just STFU.

     Several of his picks favour a more pro-Russian, anti Sanction relationship with Russia

    Who do you mean specifically, I’m drawing a blank, or are you already giving Tillerson the job?

     

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  16. Maybe, another more probable possibility was that they were trying to collect dirt on the more likely winner, Clinton, for future bribery or extortion.

    Surely they’d have kept that information to themselves rather than released it then.

    We have known about Russian cyber shenanigans since early spring, with Obama doing his usual, doing nothing and ignoring it.

    This may be the ‘two bubbles’ at work, but on the left we’re hearing about Obama and the dems wanting to do something about it, but it being blocked by the Republicans (Obama didn’t want to do anything without bipartisan support) – all could be bullshit, but that’s the story the left is pedalling.

    Who do you mean specifically, I’m drawing a blank, or are you already giving Tillerson the job?

    Sorry – I should have said ‘potential picks’. but yeah, Tillerson.

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  17. Surely they’d have kept that information to themselves rather than released it then.

    As mentioned in an earlier comment, we don’t know what information they did keep to themselves, or the extent of the information turned over to wikileaks, all we know now (could change over night) is what wikileaks  ultimately decided to make public.

    Re: Tillerson, I hope he does not get the job, eminently qualified but way too cozy with Putin and the Russians.

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  18. Did Russia influence the election? We don’t know for sure, but it does look like they at least tried to. 

    If what they had done was expose private emails from, lets say, the Exxon CEO about how he KNEW AGW was real but lied, the left would be in love with them (like they usually are when they did or do anti-American things). Let’s say for a second they are the ones that released the emails, and I doubt that is the case because everything tells me the Russians would have preferred Hillary because they had so much dirt on her that they owned her, why aren’t we giving them medals for it? After all, what they did was counter the usual collusion and lying by the MSM and the DNC and provide voters with important facts.

    See the real issue here is that the democrats are pissed someone actually showed how corrupt and evil they are. They rigged their primaries, colluded with the media to bury stories that showed Hillary for the crook she is and gave air time to any idiot that made accusations that moved the left’s narrative about Trump (where are all these hos that came out to say all that nasty shit about Trump these days?), lie about everything, planned to piss all over the constitution, are downright despicable as a party, wanted to continue with the weaponization of our executive under Hillary, and hoped she would actually help them silence and destroy the other side. This, last part BTW, is why the left is so scared of Trump right now: they worry he will do to them what they wanted Hillary to do to the left’s political enemies. It’s projection as usual.

    Me, I think whomever leaked the facts that finally confirmed that the DNC is a crime syndicate actually did America a favor. A huge one. They need to be honored and given a medal. I doubt it was the Russians, and the facts show that this story is just more fake news. What we have here is the left’s new strategy now that they know they have lost and cant steal the election either via a recount effort or coercion of electors, they are basically trying to deligitimize Trump. I love the fact that the tables have been turned on these crooks and that they are not only left having to eat their own fucking nasty words, but continue to dig the hole they are in.

    The lefty echo chamber might react like they want people to, but the rest of us have it validated, yet again, why it was an awesome thing that Hillary didn’t win. Al Gore gave us a glimpse of why we all dodged a bullet with him. Now the democrats are giving us a glimpse of why none of them should be near power anymore.

    P-R-I-C-E-L-E-S-S!

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  19. Looks like he did it after all;

    Regardless of the wisdom of the pick, he’s silly to have done that before the Electoral College meets next Monday. It just reinforces the media focus on his Russia ties, Congress isn’t happy, and it will increase pressure on the electors to do something else. Not that I think Trump will lose in the vote – but the more votes against him, the more it will undermine any legitimacy that he still has.

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