The popular anti-Trump slogan Not My President took on a new meaning this weekend, with the revelation that the CIA has uncovered specific evidence that the Russian government conducted large scale spy attacks against the United States in order to ensure that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election.
Russian spies broke into both Democratic and Republican campaign computer networks during the campaign, but used the information in very different ways. The Russians deployed the information they had gained about the Hillary Clinton campaign to use as a weapon to weaken Clinton. The Russian spies also gathered compromising information about Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, but didn’t use that information…
…at least not in public. Information obtained through espionage doesn’t have to be made public to be used as a weapon. It can be deployed as blackmail, to control people’s behavior from a distance through the threat that the information will be released unless demands are met.
Is that how the Russians are using the information they have obtained about Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, or do the Russians simply think that Donald Trump is a useful idiot who they can shove around as they like on the international political stage? It’s hard to know, but none of the possibilities look good for the United States as we prepare for a Trump Presidency beginning in less than a month.
We don’t know what Donald Trump knew about the role of the Russian spies in manipulating the 2016 presidential election in his favor. It’s not reassuring, however, that Donald Trump is doing whatever he can to prevent the American people from finding out the truth.
When the Washington Post reported the CIA’s conclusion that the Trump campaign had been the beneficiary of criminal Russian espionage, Donald Trump moved fast – not to urge an investigation of the violation of American sovereignty, but to urge Americans to just forget about it. “Move on,” Trump said. The election is over, Trump says, so we just have to deal with it.
With his statement, Trump made it sound as if he doesn’t mind Russian government spying against the United States, and doesn’t want anyone asking questions about the matter.
If Trump doesn’t want an investigation of the work of Vladimir Putin’s spies to boost the Trump campaign, that’s all the more reason for an investigation to be held – and not a whitewash congressional hearing led by Republican members of Congress determined to hush the whole thing up.
It’s time for an independent commission with subpoena power.
Monday morning, call your U.S. representative and U.S. senators. Tell them you want to see an investigation with teeth, ready to follow the facts wherever they lead.