Saturday, January 7, 2017

No Putin, no Trump. Know Putin, know Trump

Donald Trump fears any acknowledgement that Russian tampering impacted the 2016 election renders his election illegitimate. He should. That’s exactly what happened. Putin elected a U.S. president.

Trump earned a right-wing political reputation making unfounded and unsupportable claims that Barack Obama wasn’t a U.S. citizen. But, unlike Trump’s campaign to delegitimize President Obama, actual evidence supports the fact that Trump is an illegitimate President.

There is, admittedly, no scientific process for measuring the impact of Russian hacking on the results of the race, but give me a break. Doing the math and applying common logic leads rational minds to an inescapable conclusion.  

Start with Trump’s claim that he won a landslide victory. Of course, he didn’t. Set aside the unfortunately-irrelevant fact that Clinton defeated Trump by more than 2.8 million votes. Trump won because he received 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232.

Hillary Clinton would have been President, and Trump’s juvenile Tweets would not be unsettling the world, if she had received 38 more electoral votes. She would have added 46 electoral votes with a shift of a total of 53,555 votes of the 13 million cast across Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, Clinton would be President. It was that close.

Don’t tell me the Russian hacking didn’t impact at least that many votes. To believe otherwise you have to ignore the findings of the CIA, the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence. Their report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections,” concludes all U.S. intelligence agencies have a high degree of confidence the following statement.

We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”

Don’t stop there. Remind yourself what you heard throughout Trump’s campaign. One example is this report in the Washington Examiner, a newspaper not unfriendly to the GOP nominee.

“Donald Trump spent most of his Panama City, Fl., rally Tuesday night hitting Hillary Clinton over details about her campaign that have emerged in more than 5,000 hacked emails made public by WikiLeaks since last Friday. Twenty-four hours after Trump said "I love WikiLeaks" at a separate campaign event in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the Republican presidential nominee continued to slam his Democratic opponent using material found in the trove of illegally obtained emails from her campaign chairman, John Podesta. The leaked emails confirmed that ‘Hillary is a vessel for the corrupt global establishment that is ruining the sovereignty of our nation,’ Trump charged in the first 15 minutes of his evening rally.”
Trump was a broken record. To heavily rely on this information as the backbone of his campaign and then say it had no impact is disingenuous.
Familiar with the Spanish water torture used during the Inquisition? Victims were strapped down. The torturer slowly dripped water on the victims’ forehead over a long time, slowly driving him/her mad. 
Trump’s campaign was Russian water torture. Without it, she’d have weathered the email server problem and even the Comey letter. But, day after day, drip by drip, the media obsessed with those leaks. Often they were meaningless, sometimes embarrassing. But they were constant and they were strategically employed by Trump to prop up his narrative that Hilary Clinton was a crook who represented everything wrong with Washington and should be locked up.
There’s an old cowboy saying. “Don’t pee on my boots and tell me it’s raining.”
The Russians intended to help Trump win. They succeeded. But Trump and all Americans should be unnerved by another finding in the report. Hillary wasn’t their only target. The report says, “Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign.” Not yet anyway.
Anyone concerned about what the Russians have on Trump and how they might use it?

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