Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “clearly, yes” involved in the election hacks. Reid added, “And his having been former head of the KGB, does that surprise you?”
Watch the CNN clip here:
REID: Putin "clearly" involved in the election hacks. https://t.co/tc5ZHxnRl7
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 15, 2016
Reid said Thursday afternoon that Putin was “clearly” involved in the election hacks, “And his having been former head of the KGB, does that surprise you? And does it surprise anybody today when he denied it?”
CNN’s Manu Raju explained that Reid is a member of the Gang of Eight (Intelligence, not Immigration), top leaders of both chambers of Congress who get top secret intelligence briefings from senior-most officials in the intelligence communities, so it’s “unclear” if Reid is basing this assessment on what he heard behind closed doors or the October 8th assessment that the hacking went up to Russia’s senior officials.
Wednesday evening a report revealed that U.S. officials believe that Putin was almost certainly involved in effort to influence the U.S. presidential election and derail Hillary Clinton’s campaign, “Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump.” Furthermore, the report revealed that Putin indeed has a grudge against 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and thus, “personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used.”
This makes sense given the reports of diplomats familiar with the situation that Putin is afraid of Hillary Clinton, and intimidated by her tough diplomacy.
Putin had many motives to keep Clinton out of the White House, and his fingerprints are all over the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, the Trump camp and many Republicans continue to deny Russia’s interference and any possible motive by Putin, who is trying to disrupt democracy all over western Europe:
Peter King at TrumpTower: "There is no CIA conclusion" on Russia, "no idea what the intent was" & if there is motive, it was disrupting elex
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) December 15, 2016
However, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have shown interest in joining with Democrats to investigate the Russian interference.
The question remains what did President-elect Donald Trump and his close associates know about Putin’s interference and did they play a willing role in it.
One thing is certain, Donald Trump has spent considerable time denying the conclusions of all 17 intelligence agencies that pointed the finger at Russia, and it’s odd that an America citizen would go to such lengths to protect the Russians. But perhaps it’s not odd, since Donald Trump benefited to such a great degree by Putin’s interference.
During his last press conference, held on July 27th, 2016, Trump did actually ask the Russians to hack the U.S. to find Clinton’s emails.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.