Among the thousands of lies that issue from Donald Trump's lips is that claims that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to aid him is a hoax. A myth created by the "deep state" he fantasizes about but which does not exist. Now, the U.S. Senate Intelligence, chaired by a Republican and with a Republican majority has issued its long awaited report and confirmed what the intelligence agencies concluded long ago: Russia interfered in the election with the direct goal of aiding in Trump's election. Sane, thinking Americans already grasp this fact, but don't hold your breath waiting for the Trump base to ever accept that they were played by Putin. That would run counter to their mental capabilities and against their deep seated bigotries that Trump and Putin skillfully played. The Washington Post looks at the Intelligence Committee findings. Here are highlights:
THE SENATE Intelligence Committee has released a bipartisan report with a stark bottom line: What
PresidentTrump calls the “Russia hoax” isn’t a hoax at all.
The fourth and latest installment in lawmakers’ review of Moscow’s meddling examines a January 2017 assessment by the nation’s spy agencies that Mr. Trump has repeatedly attempted to discredit — and confirms it, unanimously. Russia sought to subvert Americans’ belief in our democracy, bring down Hillary Clinton and bolster her rival. That these legislators from both sides of the aisle are willing to say as much after three years of thorough investigation is an encouraging sign of some independent thinking still left in government. It’s also a reminder of the peril this independence is in today.
The committee members conclude that the intelligence community produced a “coherent and well-constructed . . . basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election” despite a tight time frame.
The Senate Intelligence Committee deserves accolades for its clear-eyed examination of a subject that shouldn’t be political but has become polarizing thanks to the president’s provocations. Yet lawmakers wouldn’t have had a report to analyze at all if it weren’t for an intelligence community willing to dig up inconvenient truths. This is the community Mr. Trump is slowly destroying, most recently by firing his director of national intelligence and nominating an unqualified loyalist to fill the slot, as well as by dismissing Inspector General Michael Atkinson for lawfully alerting Congress about a whistleblower complaint.
The most recent Russia report is a reminder of the need to protect our elections against a repeat performance, whether by disrupting online influence campaigns, securing critical infrastructure or requiring paper trails and risk-limiting audits at the ballot box. But it’s also a reminder of the need to protect the intelligence community from co-option by a leader hostile to any truths that threaten his power.