Monday, December 12, 2016

Trump, the CIA, the Republican Party, and Russian Interference in U.S. Elections

Trump digs in on Russia, setting up conflict
with his own party's Washington leaders

It’s clear, the Russian government conducted cyberattacks intended to influence the U.S. elections in favor of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump, however, continues to accuse Democrats of spreading misinformation regarding hacking of U.S. elections by the Russian government; he claims the Democrats sore losers.

In conflict with Trump, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said, “This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.

Robert Reich outlines the problem:

1. The CIA has found credible evidence that Russia intervened in the election in order to help Trump become president.

2. It has been suggested that Trump owes vast sums of money to Russian oligarchs, friends of Putin, who have also invested substantially in Trump’s enterprises -- which may explain why Trump won’t disclose his tax returns, which would show evidence of these deals.

3. Several of Trump’s key campaign aides – including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort – have close ties to Russia. Between 2007 and 2012, Manafort received some $12.7 million in cash payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

4. During the campaign, Trump said he admired Putin, questioned whether the U.S. should continue to support NATO, and argued that Putin was justified in moving into Ukraine.

5. Trump is expected to pick as his Secretary of State ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who is also close to Putin. In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens. Tillerson came up through the ranks at Exxon by managing the company's Russia account. After becaming CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia's vast oil resources through a partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft, owned partly by the Kremlin. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal. Russia has already indicated it would welcome Tillerson being named America's top diplomat.

Every American, Trump supporter or not, needs to understand foreign interference in our electoral process is a direct threat to our country and national security, and we risk being beholden to a foreign power.