President Obama has ordered a “full review” of all hacking activity related to the presidential election, a move that could finally bring to light the full details of the Kremlin’s massive effort to elect Donald Trump and undermine American democracy. The move was announced by Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland security advisor, who called the hacking concern “a rapidly growing threat across all dimensions” that is among the most significant national security issues facing the nation.
Given the tremendous danger such hacking poses, Donald Trump should be a national disgrace for supporting and collaborating with a foreign government in its attempts to undermine the sanctity of American democracy. There has long been unanimous agreement in the intelligence community that Russian government hackers were behind a series of massive hacks in the months leading up to the election, of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Clinton campaign’s chairman John Podesta, and several Democratic staffers. Trump, on the other hand, has continued to deny the Kremlin’s culpability, though this should come as little surprise given his ties to the Russian oligarchy.
In reality, Russian government officials themselves have admitted they were behind the hacks, and have even confessed to directly coordinating with the Trump campaign in the lead up to the election. The cooperation between Putin’s dictatorship and Trump’s wannabe dictatorship is driven primarily by economic concerns. Trump, who has gushed praise for the brutal dictatorship of Russian president Vladimir Putin, has tight ties to and investments with the ruling Russian oligarchs, as do many of his prominent advisers and staffers.
The Kremlin, for its part, sees Trump as a “useful fool” whose ignorance and dictatorial flair can be exploited to end American sanctions on Moscow and allow further Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe. Putin’s government has recently made a habit of interfering in foreign elections to support candidates who will be subservient to Moscow and undermine Western democracy. It is a tragedy that for his own political expediency Trump has willingly accepted this aid from a hostile foreign government, lied about it, and thereby undermined American democracy for decades to come.
Intelligence officials, however, have been reluctant to release the full details of the Russian hacks and Trump’s connection to them for fear of exposing their clandestine methods and sources. The urgency of the situation, however, has prompted the president to order the full review, which he expects before he leaves office. “We may have crossed into a new threshold and it is incumbent upon us to take stock of that, to review, to conduct some after-action, to understand what this means, what has happened, and to impart those lessons learned,” Mrs. Monaco said. Thus the full story of Trump’s betrayal of American democracy may finally come to light, adding yet another item to the laundry list of items disqualifying Trump from the presidency.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.