*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Over the past nearly eight years, Republicans in Congress have displayed an outsized determination to spend tens-of-millions of dollars in taxpayer money to conduct investigations. Whether it was Daryl Issa fabricating a highly-profitable “scandal” at the IRS, or Republicans spending the past four years and enormous sums of taxpayer dollars on a presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton, there appears to be no end to their lust to be an investigative body as opposed to legislating for the general welfare of the people.
It is curious then, that there has only been one call from one Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for Congress to launch an “full-blown” exhaustive investigation into Vladimir Putin and Russia’s interference in American democracy, and by extension, America’s government on behalf of Trump. As the Washington Post reported a couple of days ago, “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign. . . . It worked.”
While Americans are glued to their Twitter feeds with baited breath over dirty Donald Trump’s next “tweet,” they are neglecting what the Washington Post and any true American patriot knows is “this election’s most alarming story.” Of course it isn’t the story that Trump’s old lady doesn’t want to live in the White House, or that he accused any state he didn’t win of vote fraud; it is, in fact, “the successful effort by a ‘hostile’ foreign power to manipulate public opinion before the vote.”
As much as mainstream media gets a bad rap, a ‘rap’ it typically deserves, the Washington Post has been hammering the Putin-Russia-Trump success at winning the election. It’s not that there has been a dearth of reports about the Russian government’s active interference in an American election, there has plenty and they were reported by United States intelligence agencies. But there has been little to no outrage at what should be considered a coup by an adversarial nation to insert itself in the White House with a couple of Nazis (alt-right) to advise the know-nothing “big-time wrestling” celebrity; a celebrity a bunch of big-time religious freaks, bigots and white supremacists elected.
As the Eric Chenoweth, co-director of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe pointed out, besides a Russian deputy minister admitting the Russian government was in contact and conferred with Trump’s people during the campaign; “Russian state propaganda gave little doubt that this was done to support Republican nominee Trump.” Likely because he “repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin” and condoned Putin’s foreign aggression and domestic repression. American intelligence agencies, except maybe the FBI under a Trump surrogate, have already affirmed the official Russian government directed the illegal hacking of private email accounts of the Democratic National Committee.
After handing off the emails to WikiLeaks, an outfit that benefits financially from an “arm of Russian state propaganda,” the emails were released to harm Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. WaPo also noted that besides releasing the stolen emails, Wikileaks “used Russian operatives for security and made clear an intent to harm the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”
It is nearly certain that the Russian campaign proved to be decisive in electing Trump because their collusion is undeniable and included a very well-organized and comprehensive campaign to sow distrust in America’s democracy and its government and Hillary Clinton. The Russian tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states, as well as releasing mountains of stolen emails to put questions in voters’ minds about Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness in the final months and weeks of the campaign.
According to Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who, along with two other researchers, has tracked Russian propaganda since 2014: “They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests. This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.” In 2016 with a willing accomplice indebted to Russian oligarchs and television celebrity social media status, the Russians had an easy task.
Mr. Watts’ report was released in the national security magazine War on the Rocks with the headline “Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.” A different group, PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds also just released its findings on Friday past showing the “startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns;” a reach that extended into Donald Trump’s campaign and America’s democracy.
The purpose of this screed is not to go over the dirty details of how Donald Trump benefitted from Russia and Putin, or the oligarchs he is indebted to, but to demand that Republicans go into investigative mode for the sake of national security and America’s democracy. Thus far the Washington Post has done its due diligence in raising the alarm that a “hostile foreign power” was running a spy-ring and actively participating in influencing an election to install their puppet, and one patriotic Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham is calling for an investigation. And it is noteworthy that the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Admiral Michael Rogers, stated publicly that Russians inserted themselves into Trump’s campaign for a “specific effect;” elect their man to the White House.
If Republicans do not put even half as much effort into investigating an adversarial foreign government’s active participation in an election on behalf of a “businessman” indebted to Russian oligarchs, they can no longer call themselves anything remotely close to “patriots,” or proper Americans for that matter. No patriotic American would sit idly by and allow a hostile foreign government to interfere and influence America’s government; only a traitor to their country would willingly look the other way.
In some circles, looking the other way as a foreign government even attempts to influence democracy or America’s government is considered collusion and cooperating with the enemy. Republicans have no excuse for not investigating the Trump-Putin-Russian connection and if they don’t, it is a damning indictment of their claim to be remotely patriotic, unless it is patriotism to Russia.