A report on a secret intelligence meeting given by the CIA to members of Congress has set off a nuclear bomb in the middle of the post-election transition. According to intelligence officials, it is highly likely that the Russian government was, in fact, responsible for the email hacks that badly hurt Hillary Clinton and handed Trump a treasure trove of cheap attacks.
“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,” the Post reports. “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.”
Wikileaks accidentally seemed to confirm that this was the case just hours prior to the bombshell report by freaking out; lashing out at Obama for conspiring against the organization even though they hadn’t been mentioned (yet).
The muckrakers doth protest too much.
But buried in many of the ledes here is the fact that Russia, with the help of Wikileaks, also likely hacked the RNC emails.
Russian hackers had dirt on the Republican National Committee but never released it, according to a new report. A senior administration official said, “We now have high confidence that they hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republicans, according to the New York Times. Officials said the hacks into the Republican committee took place in the spring, at the same time emails from the Democratic National Committee were stolen by hackers thought to be connected to Russian intelligence. It’s unclear what kind of information was stolen from the RNC, and how much of it, just as the motive is unknown.
Which Russia might have held onto for several reasons. First, it helps their stooge get elected. By selectively releasing only documents that hurt Hillary Clinton, the U.S. media and Trump were able to focus solely on her. As we saw, the media ping-ponged from one email to the next as Wikileaks dripped them out day by day all the way up until the election. Meanwhile, emails that could hurt Republicans were kept locked away. Hmm.
But a more troubling implication is that these emails could still be used someday. Waste not, want not. Once Trump was elected, the idea that there were damning documents hanging out in Russian hands makes any negotiation with Putin fraught with risk. If Trump were to stand up to Putin, say by opposing Russia’s creeping domination of its neighbors, the Russian government could humiliate him.
And Trump is uniquely susceptible to extortion because his narcissism puts his ego above all matters of national interest. Just the threat of humiliation would be enough to make Trump think twice before opposing Russia.
On top of that, the emails Russia has on the RNC are, let’s face it, probably orders of magnitude worse than anything found in Clinton’s emails. The campaign was run by a collection of hucksters, opportunists and assholes. Much of Trump’s campaign was suppressing a right-wing civil war. The sheer violence with which Trump lashed out at his opponents means that anything contained within the RNC’s email is probably loony toons crazy.
All of which the RNC knows. And all of which could jeopardize their plans to enact a series of Republican policies while they enjoy their moment in the sun. Meaning Russia is perfectly placed to leverage those emails at any cost.
We are presented with the possibility that our incoming president is being blackmailed – even implicitly – by a hostile Russian government. Until this is disproven, there is a case to be made for the fact that Trump is unfit to govern. With much of the evidence pointing at Russia and Wikileaks, the burden of proof rests with Trump to demonstrate he’s not being used by the Kremlin. Instead, he’s actually attacked the CIA for bringing up the issue. Trump doth protest too much too.
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