Friday, January 06, 2017

Trouble for Trump: Strong Bipartisan Affirmation of Findings on Russian Hacking

Like another former Republican blogger that I know and follow, my suspicion is that the reason that Donald Trump is striving to blow of the intelligence community's finds on Russian hacking efforts to swing the 2016 election is because he and/or his campaign not only knew about the hacking efforts by collaborated with them.  How else to explain Trump's embrace of Julian Assange - a man in hiding in a foreign embassy in London rather than face rape charges in his own country - and rejection of the combined findings of the CIA, FBI, NSA and other agencies? Oh, and as for Trump's claim these agencies were wrong about WMD's in Iraq, the error was not on the part of the agencies in question but rather the lies initiated by Dick Cheney, a liar and authoritarian after Trump's own heart.  Trump's real fear I suspect is that there will yet be information that links his campaign to the Russian actions.  Can we then say the word treason?  A piece in the New York Times looks at yesterday's U.S. Senate hearings.  Here are highlights:
A united front of top intelligence officials and senators from both parties on Thursday forcefully reaffirmed the conclusion that the Russian government used hacking and leaks to try to influence the presidential election, directly rebuffing President-elect Donald J. Trump’s repeated questioning of Russia’s role.
They suggested that the doubts Mr. Trump has expressed on Twitter about the agencies’ competence and impartiality were undermining their morale.
“There’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement,” James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, said at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Russian hacks. He added that “our assessment now is even more resolute” that the Russians carried out the attack on the election.
The Senate hearing was the prelude to an extraordinary meeting scheduled for Friday, when Mr. Clapper and other intelligence chiefs will repeat for Mr. Trump the same detailed, highly classified briefing on the Russian attack that President Obama received on Thursday. In effect, they will be telling the president-elect that the spy agencies believe he won with an assist from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Then Mr. Trump will have to say whether he accepts the agencies’ basic findings on Russia’s role or holds to his previous contention that inept, politicized American spies have gotten the perpetrator of the hacking wrong. That would throw the intelligence agencies into a crisis of credibility and status with few, if any, precedents.
Early next week, the public will get its fullest information to date on the evidence the agencies have to support their contention that Mr. Putin’s government used the hacked emails to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Mr. Trump’s. Mr. Clapper said he would “push the envelope” to include as much detail as possible in the unclassified version of the intelligence agencies’ report on the Russian operation.
The hacking, he added, was only one part of that operation, which also included the dissemination of “classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”
The Senate hearing on Thursday, devoted to foreign cyberthreats, was unusual as much for its context as its content — a public, bipartisan display of support for the intelligence community that seemed aimed, at times, at an audience of one.
Though Mr. Clapper and most Republican senators were careful to avoid antagonizing the president-elect directly, the hearing spoke to the rift Mr. Trump has threatened to create between the incoming administration and the intelligence officials assigned to inform it.
Mr. McCain and his colleagues seemed to undercut Mr. Trump’s past messages of support for Russia, and for Mr. Assange of WikiLeaks.  “Do you think there’s any credibility we should attach to this individual?” Mr. McCain asked.  “Not in my view,” Mr. Clapper said. Another witness at the hearing, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command, said he agreed.
Senator Joe Donnelly, Democrat of Indiana, told Mr. Clapper that in the conflict between the intelligence agencies and Mr. Assange over Russian responsibility for the attack, “We’re on your side every time.” He asked Mr. Clapper to convey his level of confidence in attributing the election attack to Russia, rather than “someone in his basement.”  It’s, uh, very high,” the laconic intelligence director replied.
At one point, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, wondered aloud “who benefits from a president-elect trashing the intelligence community.”
No Republican lawmakers embraced Mr. Trump’s remarks casting doubt on the intelligence conclusions, though some were more conspicuous than others in their efforts to distance themselves.
[Lindsey] Graham issued a warning for fellow Republicans who might be inclined to brush off any attack on an opposing party. “Could it be Republicans next election?” he asked. “It’s not like we’re so much better at cybersecurity than Democrats.”
The thing to remember about Donald Trump is that he cares nothing about anyone but himself and his inflated view of himself.  He doesn't give a rat's ass about average Americans and those who voted for him thinking that he does were played as utter fools. The man is a clear and present danger to America and the world and needs to be exposed and driven or removed from office as soon as possible.  

1 comment:

Candide said...

The press needs to focus on one thing and one thing only: What did tRump know and when did he know it. The theft of the American presidency by a hostile foreign power is the biggest story of the century. They focused like a laser on the issue in Nixon's day, and they need to do it again.