Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to go public with Russia’s cyber attack designed to hand Donald Trump the election — this after a secret CIA report to top congressional members in September. Days after Trump won, the new president-elect offered McConnell’s wife a position in his cabinet.
One of those intelligence officials said:
‘It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected. That’s the consensus view.’
Investigative reporters at the Washington Post learned from top U.S. officials briefed on this matter that Russia’s hacking was not just to undermine people’s confidence in our electoral system. Rather, Putin’s government was intent upon seating Trump in the White House.
The CIA met with top congressional leaders in a secure room to make the case for “a united, bipartisan front” to address Russia’s actions. One official called it:
‘[T]he threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.’
The intelligence officials described actions known to be part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances. The officials said that Russians:
- Gave WikiLeaks thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), including those of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair.
- Made cyber-intrusions in at least two as yet unnamed states.
- Hacked the emails of Democratic organizations, in addition to the DNC, and individuals.
- Used Russian actors who were not government employees but only “one step” removed. (This is common for Russia’s sensitive intelligence ops, so the Russian government can deny culpability.)
Democrats were unanimous in their desire to take the threat seriously during the final stages of the election. But Republicans were divided. McConnell doubted the intelligence and told them he would challenge any efforts to expose the Russians as “an act of partisan politics.”
Just last week, the CIA met with key senators in a closed-door briefing and shared its latest assessment. There is an expanding body of intelligence from multiple sources that makes Russia’s purpose was “quite clear” to elect Trump.
‘Pressure from Congress has grown for greater public understanding of exactly what Moscow did to influence the electoral process.’
Featured Image: Getty Images.
H/T: Washington Post.