This is a fact based political commentary blog, where the goal is to cut through the rhetoric and analyze the news cycle purely from factual knowledge.
The last 52 hours have seen a plethora of rhetoric from both the media and our politicians concerning Mr. Comey’s dismissal and potential Trump ties to the Russia investigation.
As noted yesterday, as accusations are made without evidence, our national discourse is causing us to get ahead of ourselves, put the cart before the horse, wag the dog, choose your cliche.
Let’s take a moment to stop, regroup, and look at the facts about what exactly Russia is accused of doing:
In June 2016, news broke that servers owned by the Democratic National Committee had been compromised by what analysts believed to be Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries. Private emails were stolen along with campaign correspondence and opposition research.
In July 2016, during the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks made 20,000 of these emails public.
On October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks began releasing stolen emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta. Suspicion is raised because the release of the first batch of emails occurred one hour after the Access Hollywood tape was released containing Trump’s lewd comments about women.
Is the authenticity of the emails that were released in dispute?
Not to my knowledge.
The DNC emails revealed an unfair treatment of Bernie Sanders and a favoritism toward Hillary Clinton that led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The Podesta emails revealed Clinton was receiving debate questions in advance from Donna Brazile at CNN.
Where did accusations of Russian involvement come from?
See this. Seems legit.
Where did accusations of Trump campaign collusion originate?
A dossier from a former British intelligence official, Christopher Steele, was reportedly given to the FBI by Senator John McCain in January that alleges collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government. The document reportedly details a concerted effort by Russian President Vladimir Putin to cultivate a relationship with Trump campaign officials.
There are accusations, reportedly in the same dossier, that allege Russia downloaded the voter rolls and pushed micro-targeted advertisements to individual voters via email, Facebook, and Twitter.
There has been no evidence released at this point in time of this.
The FBI has also reportedly investigated relationships and trips to Russia taken by Trump associates, but at this time, no indication of wrongdoing has been released.
So when we hear politicians say, “What we know for sure is Russia hacked our election,” or, “attacked our democracy,” what the known evidence actually supports is that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s servers and Secretary Clinton’s campaign manager’s emails, and through WikiLeaks, released authentic emails to the voters.
Was it wrong?
Was it illegal?
Should the perpetrators be held accountable?
Did the voters have more information because of this upon which to base their vote?
So when Secretary Clinton says, as she did last week, that voters who were inclined to vote for her were “scared off” at the last minute, were they scared off by accurate information?
Did the opposition research and campaign correspondence that was stolen end up in the hands of the Trump campaign?
No evidence of this has been revealed, but that is why there are three ongoing investigations.
Is there evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hack Mr. Podesta’s emails, the DNC’s emails, or coordinate the release of either? None has been revealed at this time.
These are the facts.