Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse. By now it’s well known that the Trump administration has ties to Russia. In fact, it’s something people talk about at dinner parties and over coffee.
But a massive part of the story may have in fact gotten lost in the crossfire, so to speak. As it turns out, the Trump administration may not be the only ones with ties to the Russian government.
By now, it’s well known that the Russians hacked the DNC, but what’s seemingly been swept under the rug is proof that they also targeted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and several other Democratic House races via cyberattack.
A report from New York Times back in December 2017 that was largely overlooked states that the Russian hackers, who refer to themselves as Guccifer 2.0, illegally obtained and then published internal Democratic Party documents as well as the personal information of candidates, in an attempt to skew House races.
But Russia’s infiltration into American democracy wouldn’t have been successful if it hadn’t of been for the compliance of the GOP.
According to the NYT, “the document dump’s effectiveness was due in part to a de facto alliance that formed between the Russian hackers and political bloggers and newspapers across the United States. The hackers, working under the made-up name of Guccifer 2.0, used social media tools to invite individual reporters to request specific caches of documents, handing them out the way political operatives distribute scoops. It was an arrangement that proved irresistible to many news outlets — and amplified the consequences of the cyberattack.”
So where does Paul Ryan come in?
Get this: the National Republican Campaign Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund — a superPAC tied to Ryan — used stolen DCCC documents to sabotage Democrats running for Congress. States such as Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Illinois were all targeted.
Annette Taddeo, a Democrat who lost her primary race after campaign documents were leaked to the public recalls how she felt after the race was, quite literally, ripped out from underneath her feet:
‘It was like I was standing out there naked. I just can’t describe it any other way. Our entire internal strategy plan was made public, and suddenly all this material was out there and could be used against me.’
Of course, that begs the question: why would the Russian government care about the outcome of such low-profile races?
The NYT suggests that Putin’s goal was to “make American democracy a less attractive model to his own citizens and to Russia’s neighbors” — which meddling in the outcome of House races would undoubtedly accomplish.
Whether Paul Ryan was aware of the fact that the CFL used information that was illegally obtained by the Russians remains to be seen. But the fact of the matter is, his own superPAC used information obtained by the Russians in their efforts to influence Congressional elections.
To make matters even worse, several Republicans refused to use the hacked information because they were aware it came “from a possible foreign source.”
Take DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, for example. In a letter to the NRCC, Lujan wrote:
‘The N.R.C.C.’s use of documents stolen by the Russians plays right into the hands of one of the United States’ most dangerous adversaries. Put simply, if this action continues, the N.R.C.C. will be complicit in aiding the Russian government in its effort to influence American elections.’
So not only did the Russians infiltrate the presidential election, they also meddled in the race for the House. Oh, and everyone’s so busy worrying about the clown in the White House, they’re largely overlooked the attack on American democracy.
Feature Image via Getty Images.