By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that they agree with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and sought to help President Trump win the White House.
“We see no reason to dispute the conclusions,” Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement.
“There is no doubt that Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections.”
On Wednesday, committee lawmakers huddled with former top intelligence officials who played a major role in compiling the assessment. It’s important to note the word “former” as Trump has summarily cut many of them loose along the path of the investigation. In a joint statement following that meeting, Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) stated a clear agreement with the findings of the intelligence community.
“After a thorough review, our staff concluded that the [intelligence community assessment] conclusions were accurate and on point,” Warner said. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”
This report is in direct opposition to the Republican-led House investigation, which did not support the conclusion that Russia sought to help Trump win.
However, some Republicans on the House Intelligence panel took opposition with final conclusions of that committee. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said in March that it was “clear, based on the evidence, Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.”
There have been few times in history when the intelligence community has spoken with this degree of urgency and unity. The fact that the Republican-led House Intelligence Panel and the Republican President who benefited from the meddling don’t want to publicly acknowledge the truth, doesn’t make it any less true.
While most expected the Senate committee to yield different results than the House Committee did, the degree to which this report raises alarm is surprising. It doesn’t say “maybe” it happened. The Senate committee clearly states Russian meddling did happen. It’s impossible to calculate the impacts of that meddling. However, it’s also impossible to suggest that Russian influence didn’t factor into seating Donald Trump in the White House. The words “Illegitimate President” seem less inflammatory when the House Intelligence Committee and the Intelligence Community publicly acknowledge significant and sophisticated meddling by a foreign government.
What is less clear in this report is whether or not Trump or his campaign was aware or coordinated with Russia in these efforts. However, sorting the issues of conspiracy are the responsibility of the Special Council. The question of the day, month, year, and maybe century is, did Russia buy an election on behalf of Donald Trump and hand it to him with a bow on top. Part one of that question is asked and answered. Russia did buy an election. Some reports indicate Russia spent 1.5 million on ad campaigns alone. The second part of that question is the one that matters. Did Trump’s campaign coordinate with those efforts?
History is a thing that repeats. It’s no surprise the real question is one we’ve heard before.
“What did the President know and when did he know it?”
The difference between Nixon and Trump is Russia. Conspiring with a foreign power to rig an election is a different kind of criminal.
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