Former CIA officer Evan McMullin weighs in on Trump hacking denial
Jennifer Rubin’s post here has some strong sentiments. It begins:
Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer who ran for president as an independent conservative, knows better than anyone that debate, quibbling and disputes among intelligence agencies are the norm. Good-faith disagreements make it exceedingly hard to get 17 different agencies to agree with certainty on anything. “For there to be absolute consensus that the Russians did indeed hack during the election is significant,” he tells me in a phone interview. He explains that “their standard is a high one” when it comes to definitive statements. In this case, however, he advises, “We shouldn’t need the intelligence agencies to tell us the Russians did it. Just turn on the Kremlin’s cable channel in the U.S. to see their effort to undermine democratic institutions and the truth, to promote Donald Trump.” Ordinary people can figure it out for themselves whom the Russians intended to help.
Apologists for Trump say that the Russians wouldn’t have left obvious fingerprints to be traced back. McMullin says this shows ignorance about how Russia operates and what its motives are. “Putin understands he can do this even if it is traced to him,” he says. In fact, Putin gains stature and an aura of power if he can been seen as influencing a U.S. election. “This is the most significant, the greatest intelligence success in modern times,” McMullin says simply. “It’s a small ‘c’ coup,” he dryly notes.
McMullin ridicules the notion that we should give Trump the benefit of the doubt or suspend judgment when the evidence is overwhelming of some sort of “special relationship” with the Kremlin, including a flock of pro-Russian campaign advisers and the appointment of at least two voices sympathetic to Russia. “Look at the staff picks now or the nominations of people sympathetic to a country that is committed to undermining our democracy,” he urges.
“First and foremost, there is an ideological alignment,” McMullin says in explaining the Trump-Putin relationship. “Trump admires authoritarians.” There is also ongoing speculation about Trump’s financial ties to Russia. McMullin stresses the unacceptability of Trump’s possible violation of the Emoluments Clause barring foreign benefits and income from Russia or any other foreign government. “The nation needs to hold Donald Trump accountable to the letter of the law. Americans through their representatives need to hold Donald Trump accountable to the letter of the law.” If Trump gets away with a blatant violation of a clear constitutional provision, McMullin worries about the “slippery slope” phenomenon that will pave the way for many more constitutional violations.
McMullin does not intend to sit idly by while Trump runs roughshod over democratic principles and lawmakers of both parties twiddle their thumbs. . .