The CIA revealed a bombshell today which points the finger at Russia for using hacking to favor Republican Donald Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in this year’s election. An important part of the CIA’s explosive conclusion is this chilling fact: Russia hacked the Republican National Committee but didn’t leak any of those emails to Wikileaks, preferring to only distribute 200 Republican emails to DCleaks.com and sitting on the rest.
If Russia’s real goal was discrediting democracy by hurting both parties equally, they’d have released both parties’ emails. Instead, Putin held Republicans’ emails and only released Democrats’ emails which didn’t contain any bombshells, but whose daily revelation still influenced public opinion massively. The New York Times‘ report sheds light on this key detail which a Republican admitted on national television, but which was then quickly denied by the Republican Party and never verified elsewhere, until now.
The Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks. “We now have high confidence that they hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republican organization, one senior administration official said, referring to the Russians.
The attack took place in the spring, the senior officials said, about the same time that a group of hackers believed to be linked to the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, stole the emails of senior officials of the Democratic National Committee. Intelligence agencies believe that the Republican committee hack was carried out by the same Russians who penetrated the Democratic committee and other Democratic groups. The finding about the Republican committee is expected to be included in a detailed report of “lessons learned” that Mr. Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to assemble before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
This revelation explains why Donald Trump’s stunning response to the CIA’s report tossed America’s spy agency under the bus, without denying the report concluding that the Republican candidate recieved targeted help from Vladimir Putin’s Russia during the presidential election.
The Republican Congressman who heads the Homeland Security Committee told CNN that the Republican National Committee was hacked by Russia three months ago. The Times reports:
Representative Michael McCaul (R-Tx.), who was considered by Mr. Trump for secretary of Homeland Security, initially told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “It’s important to note, Wolf, that they have not only hacked into the D.N.C. but also into the R.N.C.” He added that “the Russians have basically hacked into both parties at the national level, and that gives us all concern about what their motivations are.” Minutes later, the R.N.C. issued a statement denying that it had been hacked. Mr. McCaul subsequently said that he had misspoken, but that it was true that “Republican political operatives” had been the target of Russian hacking. So were establishment Republicans with no ties to the campaign, including former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
It’s reasonable to believe that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may have possessed knowledge about the RNC being hacked in September when he voiced doubts about the veracity of the CIA’s information showing Russian involvement in the election. According to the Washington Post, he torpedoed the Obama Administration’s push for a bi-partisan message to the American people about Russian manipulation of this year’s general election.
McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.
Sen. Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao – whose family owns a global shipping business – was named Secretary of Transportation shortly after the election.
Republicans abandoned collegiality and facts in favor of their pursuit of partisan gain, and the impact could not be more horrifying. It’s the single most un-American thing that has ever happened in this country’s politics and represents a massive failure of our political system’s reliance on the honor system and shared goals to function.
The entire Republican Party – except for one Texas Congressman a little too honest for the party’s own good – has quietly watched Russia do everything they could as a state actor to help Donald Trump win this year’s election.
Republicans abandoned honesty, and by doing so are abandoning what has always made America great.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report. Find out more at grantstern.com.