Yet explosive new reporting from the Washington Post tells us that the CIA informed U.S. senators last week that it was “quite clear” from a “growing body of intelligence from multiple sources” that Russia’s goal was to elect Trump.
The “consensus view,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators, according to the Post, is that “it is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”
The New York Times also reported Friday evening that intelligence agencies have “high confidence” that Russian cyberattacks had the goal of helping Trump because the Republican National Committee was hacked. The data and email traffic was not released. The hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and sent to WikiLeaks gained international headlines for weeks, causing headaches for the Clinton campaign and the resignation of the DNC chair after internal party squabbles became public.
The idea that Russia actively put its thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor in a very close election where he prevailed in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote by almost three million votes alarms more than Democrats.
Trump has shocked people across the political spectrum with his laudatory praise for Russia and Vladimir Putin and his desire to diminish NATO. One of his first staffing choices was former general Michael Flynn for National Security Advisor, who equated a Russian propaganda media outlet to CNN. For secretary of state, he is considering congressional Putin advocate Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and someone who may be closer to Vladimir Putin than anyone in America: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.
“[Tillerson] has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American with the exception of Henry Kissinger,” security expert John Hamre told the Wall Street Journal this week.