Paul Waldman asks why there is so little outrage over’s Russia’s interference in the election
This piece ran on CNN on December 10, 2016, but it still seems timely:
Now we know: Russia was apparently trying very hard to get Donald Trump elected, and the two parties reacted very differently to that fact.
We already knew that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, as had the emails of John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. We also knew that intelligence officials and independent cybersecurity analysts believed that those hacks came from Russia.
But Friday, The Washington Post reported that the intelligence community had definitively concluded that Russia was behind these hacks, not merely to sow chaos and destabilization but to help Trump win.
The Post told of an extraordinary meeting on Capitol Hill in mid-September, when FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and other officials met with the leadership of both parties. They made the case for a bipartisan statement sending a warning to Russia that such actions would not be tolerated.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the kibosh on it.
“McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics,” the Post reported, citing accounts of several officials.
So the White House backed down, apparently to avoid being seen as trying to aid Clinton’s campaign.
Now fast-forward about a month. Nine days before the election, Comey does something unprecedented: He announces that the FBI is investigating emails relating to Hillary Clinton that were found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. This was a clear violation of FBI policy, which dictates that the bureau shouldn’t make public comments about ongoing investigations, especially close to an election.
The news landed like a nuclear blast, dominating the headlines and television discussion for days and reinforcing exactly the message Trump wanted to send about Clinton. If Comey was trying to destroy Clinton’s candidacy, he couldn’t have come up with a better way. . .