Director James Comey just confirmed for the first time during a House intelligence committee hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that the FBI, the same FBI that publicly commented on an investigation that gave the appearance of problems for Hillary Clinton days before an election, is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, as well as possible coordination (read collusion) between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Comey testified that the investigation has been going on since last July.
Both FBI Director James Comey and Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers testified to the Russian interference. They also testified that they have no evidence that Russia changed the 2016 votes in key states, which means that they are investigating direct vote interference as well as general collusion.
Rogers also confirmed that he is highly confident that Russia interfered in the election for the purpose of electing Trump.
This is something the intelligence community agrees upon: Russia did interfere in the election for the purpose of electing Donald Trump.
Trump is obviously very sensitive about this, so on the very morning when the House is having a hearing on the Russian involvement, Trump pulled out his preemptive blame Democrats card.
On the morning that the FBI confirmed it is investigating Russian vote interference and possible Trump campaign connections including any crimes that might have been committed, President Trump took to twitter to have yet another public meltdown, in which he blamed Democrats for running a “terrible campaign.”
Sounding a lot like many smug conservatives and some liberals, Trump claimed early this morning, in a preemptive tweet if you will, that the Democrats made up the Russian interference story:
The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017
Not so much.
The bombshell here is that the intelligence community is investigating the way Russia manipulated this election. They found no evidence of vote changing. But apparently there are many ways to “hack” an election, and some of them don’t require vote changing.
With all of the Russia talk, it would be easy to see this as no big deal. But it is the opposite. The FBI is investigating vote interference, the Russian “hacking” of the election, and the possible coordination with the Trump camp. Remember, Republicans used Clinton’s emails being “under investigation” to smear her as guilty (although their standards for guilt are not aspirational in a freedom loving culture). We need to take this Trump Russia story one step at a time, and this testimony is a big step.
Trump’s public meltdown is yet another smoke signal that there’s probably a fire in camp Russia.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ 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.