Saturday, January 7, 2017
HOW LEGITIMATE WAS THIS ELECTION?
And in another odd turn, the CIA has submitted direct evidence that Russian hackers, working on the orders of leader Vladimir Putin himself, hacked into the emails of the Democratic National Committee with the express purpose of undermining the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. This raises the truly odd notion that for the first time ever, both the FBI and the KGB were on the same side, working to influence the election of the most powerful person on the planet. In typical Trump fashion, the President-elect first denied Russia's involvement, going so far as to berate the CIA and compare their findings to their failed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq back in 2003. But after a full on information briefing for him and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, even Trump himself has admitted that the DNC hacking came from Russia.
So just how much influence on the election did Putin have anyway? We'll never really know, but it's undeniable that the leak of thousands of emails from the DNC, and their inevitable inspection and analysis by the media, dominated the headlines for weeks during the election. Even though there was nothing criminal in them, and only a few things that could be considered truly embarrassing, to Clinton they put the words "Clinton" and "emails" next to each other in headlines, and that was enough to implant the idea that she was somehow corrupt in the minds of voters. This was then exploited by Trump and his supporters gleefully, with chants of "lock her up" in regards to Clinton echoing through his speeches. So Putin definitely had some influence.
Things get even stranger when one considers that Trump's refusal to release his tax returns (which, sadly, never became the major issue that it should have) may very well reveal that he has enormous financial dealings with Russia. In fact, Trump's son Donald Jr. according to the Washington Post, in a posting on the website of eTurboNews, once said at a real estate conference in 2008, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets." He also added "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia." Surely Putin was aware of that money pouring in, and he knew that he could use it to leverage Trump, if Trump were elected, into dropping economic sanctions put in place by the Obama administration after Russia tried to annex Crimea. Yes, it is entirely possible that we have a president who will ignore enormous human rights violations because he wants to protect his own wealth. This may very well be true, and it's breath taking. And something even a Republican congress should investigate.
While, sadly, there is no way to overturn the presidential election, can the country just agree that Trump is now a deeply weakened president with little to no mandate? When you combine this hacking revelation with the fact that he lost the popular vote by three million people, how could anyone other than Trump himself come to that conclusion?