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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Investigating the "Hacking of the Election" (or Something)

For John, BLUFWhen someone uses the express "hacking of the election" they are moving past the revealed facts and suggesting, no matter how much they may deny it, that the Russians threw the election to Mr Trump (or failed to throw it to Ms Clinton).  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Cipher Brief and Mr Walter Pincus.

I’ve covered many political scandals over the past 50 years, including Watergate, Iran-contra, and the Clinton impeachment, but the past few weeks have convinced me this country may be on the verge of one that may top them all.

None of them involved a president as unprepared as Donald J. Trump.  Nor did they cover the number of varied activities currently unfolding before us that involve him directly and indirectly.

This scandal emerged out of Russia’s interference with our Presidential election campaign, through Moscow’s directed hacking into and publicizing of Democrats’ emails.  It then spread to past transfers of vast sums of investment money to Trump enterprises from questionable Russian and other financial sources, and now includes potential conflicts of interest and apparent personal gain.

Set aside for a moment the hint of sex. Finally, as with almost all major Washington scandals, it has led to individuals telling false or incomplete stories to investigators and the public – the inevitable cover-up.  Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta put it plainly on Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation:  “This president is making the same mistake past presidents made when they faced scandals…They are trying to obfuscate.  They’re trying to cover-up. They are trying to somehow raise other issues.”

That is quite a statement.  But, the coin has two sides (and an edge).  Here is the other side, from Victor David Hanson.  The venue is The National Review and the article headline is "The Ancient Laws of Unintended Consequences".  The sub-headline is "Eight years of a fawning press have made the Left reckless."  Here are two key paragraphs:
If the progressive media and intelligence agencies were hand-in-glove leaking damaging rumors about Trump, and if none were yet substantiated, then the issue reversed and turned instead on a new question:  How were they trafficking in confidential intelligence information if not from skullduggery of some sort?  No wonder that some smarter observers backtracked from the Russian-Trump collusion charges of the past six months, given that the leaks were less likely to be credible than they were criminal.  The accusers have become the accused. And who would police the police?

The media and the anti-Trump Republicans decried Trump’s reckless and juvenile antics as unbefitting a president. Perhaps, but they may have forgotten Trump’s animal cunning and instincts:  Each time Trump impulsively raises controversial issues in sloppy fashion — some illegal aliens harm American citizens as they enjoy sanctuary-city status, NATO European partners welch on their promised defense contributions, Sweden is a powder-keg of unvetted and unassimilated immigrants from the war-torn Middle East — the news cycle follows and confirms the essence of Trump’s otherwise rash warnings.  We are learning that Trump is inexact and clumsy but often prescient; his opponents, usually deliberate and precise but disingenuous.

A friend commented:
If Walter Pincus is anywhere near correct, then the Trump Administration, the Congress, FBI, and IC [Intelligence Community] are going to be mired investigating how the Russians were involved in the 2016 elections for years.  Unlike the other scandals Pincus cites this one will have the FBI and IC as central “agencies of interest” with serious questions about politicization germane to any investigations.
Not good.

Regards  —  Cliff

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