U.S. Officials: Putin Personally Directed Russia’s Interference In Our Democracy
It’s been a little over a month since the election, and its becoming clear that the United States is in the midst of a scandal that is much bigger than Watergate. Confirming what many have suspected throughout the course of the 2016 election, NBC News reported that U.S. Intelligence Officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Vladimir Putin was directly involved in Russia’s covert operation to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election. Two senior officials stated that the U.S. now has solid information that links Putin to the operation.
Putin’s role was to direct how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and used. NBC News reports:
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.
This report comes after news broke of the CIA’s assessment concluding that Russia was behind the hacking and dissemination of private emails from the DNC and key Clinton staffers, with the purpose of helping put Donald Trump in the White House.
President Obama wants a “full report” on these developments on his desk before he leaves office on January 20th.
Over 50 Democratic Electors have demanded to receive intelligence briefings before the electoral college meets on December 19th.
There is a bipartisan push for a congressional investigation into Russia’s interference in our election. The effort is being led by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island. It has also been endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Despite this almost unanimous concern over a foreign nation’s unprecedented interference in the U.S. political process, President-elect Donald Trump is still in denial. He has doubted the veracity of the CIA’s assessment and even disputes that Russia was involved at all. Trump told host Chris Wallace “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it.”
As this story develops and evidence continues to mount, many questions remain. How will the U.S. retaliate to these hostile attacks on our democracy from a foreign adversary? Will President-elect Donald Trump finally acknowledge the reality of the intelligence community’s conclusion? Why were members of Donald Trump’s campaign in contact with Russian officials throughout the election season? And will this affect the Electoral College’s December 19th decision?