February 21, 2020
The Russians are really gluttons for punishment.
Despite the fact that Donald Trump has escalated tensions with the Russians to extremes not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Russians are intent on hacking the election to get him reelected.
We still don’t actually know what “hacking the election” means, because it would be a violation of national security and democracy itself to give the people any specifics at all on these claims. But we do know it is really, really serious.
Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President Trump reelected, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The Feb. 13 briefing by top election security officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to the House Intelligence Committee reportedly prompted Trump to berate now-former acting DNI Joseph Maguire, accusing him of disloyalty for allowing the briefing.
Yeah, I’d say that saying “if Trump wins again, it will be the result of a Russian plot against democracy” is definitely a sign of disloyalty in a Trump appointee.
Trump reportedly worried Democrats would use the intelligence information against him, particularly citing concerns with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.), one of the Democrats who led the impeachment investigation against him, being present during the briefing.
Maguire is now set to step down as acting DNI. He will be replaced by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. Trump thanked Maguire for his service on Wednesday in announcing the change, tweeting “we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and a spokesperson for Schiff did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Times report.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Thursday that “now we know why” Republicans in the Senate continue blocking election security bills, linking to the New York Times article.
“They’d rather let Putin win then stand up to President Trump,” he tweeted.
Chuck Schumer, it should be noted, is a foreign agent of the government of Israel operating in the United States.
Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked bills designed to bolster election security, citing concerns around federalizing elections. But Republicans supported the inclusion of $425 million in an appropriations bill, later signed into law, to help states boost election security efforts.
The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that Shelby Pierson, the principal adviser at ODNI for election security and the intelligence community’s Election Threats Executive, led last week’s congressional briefing.
Pierson was appointed by former DNI Dan Coats in 2019. Coats left the administration that same year after disagreements with Trump over issues including election security.
Pierson told NPR last month that she was concerned about interference in the 2020 elections from multiple nations.
“This isn’t a Russia-only problem,” Pierson said on “Morning Edition.”
“We’re still also concerned about China, Iran, non-state actors, ‘hacktivists.’ And frankly … even Americans might be looking to undermine confidence in the elections,” Pierson added.
Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard them say outright that Americans shouldn’t be allowed to comment on the internet.
Because as far as I know, that’s what they are communicating when they talk about “undermining confidence in elections.” They’re talking about people writing things on the internet.
Of course, they mix this in with talk about “election security,” which tries to make it sound like Russians are actually going to somehow change votes. But from everything I’ve read, that is not the primary concern. The primary concern is people posting things on the internet.
The basic claim is that anyone who is not a Democrat is a Russian agent, and that any information that might influence someone to vote Republican originates from Vladimir Putin. Of course, that claim on the face of it is frankly insane, which is why they can’t say it straight and instead have to shroud it in all of this weird language about “hacking.”
Probably, there is going to be some kind of shift in upcoming months from blaming Russians to blaming Americans. Probably they will just start saying outright that it should be illegal for people who post on the internet to support Republicans or not support Democrats, because that is election meddling.
Of course, when they do say that, it will be in this same ultra-confusing language, so virtually no one will understand that that is what they are saying. Nonetheless, people will have their Twitter and Facebook accounts deleted, because the tech companies will understand what they are saying.
It really is very tiresome.
Sometimes I almost regret being able to understand all of this stuff.