Friday was pretty big in terms of the ongoing story about Russia’s interference in our election. After briefing both Trump and President Obama, The Department of National Intelligence released a declassified version of the official report “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.” Below are the main points worth noting, as previously reported in The Washington Post, on NPR, and NBC:
- The report specifically names Vladimir Putin as having ordered and directed the campaign. This goes farther than any previously released information.
- Russian interference in the 2016 election was primarily an influence campaign, using social media (read psychological operations) and fake news (disinformation) “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process…” (emphasis added)
- The campaign was further intended to “denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.” Further, when it appeared that Hillary Clinton would win, the effort shifted to “undermining her future presidency.”
- There was a clear effort by “Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances.”
- The reason Trump was favored by the Putin is that Trump would be more favorable to Russia’s efforts in fighting terrorism. (In other words, he’ll let war crimes go unchecked.)
- In addition to hacking both the DNC and the RNC, the computer systems of both State and local election boards were targeted and accessed, although “the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.”
- “All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence,” the report said (an occurrence almost as rare as full bipartisanship in the House).
The report also says that it did not assess the effect that the Russian campaign had on our election. This is what Trump ran with, of course. He is too petty or too complicit to admit that Russia’s efforts had any effect. But whatever he heard in the classified portion of the briefing had to be pretty damning against Russia because he did change his tone both in terms of Russia and the U.S. intelligence community.
As reported by NBC News, he has “pledged to appoint a team charged with coming up with a plan within 90 days to ‘to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks’ but said that the ways in which the intelligence community works to keep the nation safe ‘should not be a public discussion.'” This is yet another reversal from Mr. Wishy-Washy himself who has called for a public review of the evidence.
The DNI report is clear and concise against Putin and Russia, but it should not be the end of the investigation. The American people need to know if Trump himself was involved. Last Week WBUR Boston‘s “On Point” discussed “President Elect Trump And Putin,” asking, “Why all the love?” One of the guests was Tom Hamburger, author of The Washing Post article “Inside Trump’s Financial Ties To Russia And His Unusual Flattery Of Vladimir Putin.”
While it’s fairly clear that Trump doesn’t have direct ties to Putin, he has several direct connections to Russian oligarchs. He has bragged about meeting them at his Miss Universe, Moscow Pageant in 2013. In 2008, Donald Jr. was quoted as saying, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”
In light of Friday’s DNI report, combined with what is known about Trump’s financial and personal relationship with high-level Russian officials, it is time to call him what he is: a puppet. Congressional investigations should immediately shift to a full review of Trump’s financial ties to Russia, including a full review of his taxes.
America, it’s time to demand action. Please begin writing your congressional leaders, your local and regional newspapers, and sharing this information with your friends and neighbors. You can also contact The House Oversight Committee (202) 225-5074.