Time magazine selected Donald Trump to be the person of the year. In his interview, he had this to say about Russia and the 2016 election.
RUSSIA AND THE U.S. ELECTION
I don’t believe they interfered. That became a laughing point, not a talking point, a laughing point. Any time I do something, they say ‘oh, Russia interfered.’
Why not get along with Russia? And they can help us fight ISIS, which is both costly in lives and costly in money. And they’re effective and smart.
It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.
I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.
The New York Times reported that the F.B.I. warned state polling officials in August that,
foreign hackers had exported voter registration data from computer systems in at least one state, and had pierced the systems of a second one…. Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona’s secretary of state, said the F.B.I. had told state officials that Russians were behind the Arizona attack.
On October 7th the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security released a joint statement that accused Russia of launching computer hacks “intended to interfere with the US election process”(2). It stated that the US intelligence community “is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of emails” belonging to the Democratic National Committee.
The U.S. Intelligence community is in agreement: Russia interfered with the U.S. election. A recent report by the Atlantic Council details how the United States is not alone: Russia has been using a combination of overt and covert means to foster the rise of pro-Russian political parties in several Western European countries, including Britain, France and German.
Why would Trump go to such trouble to disagree with the entire intelligence community? All the evidence we have suggests the Russians interfered in the election in a way that undermined the Clinton campaign and helped Trump. They hacked the emails of the DNC not the RNC. They leaked the emails in a way that did damage to the DNC and forced the Chair to step down. This helped Trump squeak out an electoral college victory in spite of Clinton’s overwhelming advantage in the popular vote.
Trump appears to be protecting Russia because Russia helped him become president. We have to understand how this is exactly what Putin wanted as he has developed his relationship with Trump. The former CIA Chief Mike Morell made a strong case back in August that Putin was developing Trump as an asset for the Russians. Trump’s position with respect to the U.S. intelligence community is consistent with Morell’s diagnosis.
We have to raise the question: did Time get it wrong? They and the rest of the US press are still in a bit of shock and they have not had the time to adjust to this unprecedented reality. When they wake up they will realize the real person of the year is Vladimir Putin. Trump is merely one of his most useful idiots.
Consider what Putin has accomplished. Since World War II the republican party has taken pride in being the party that has taken the strongest stand in opposing Russian aggression. The contemporary icon of the party, Ronald Reagan, won re-election in 1984 arguing that his party would take the threat from Russia more seriously. One ad famously said, “There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all.”
Now the bear helped a republican get elected president of the United States and has extraordinary influence over his worldwide business interests. This bear selected a republican that intends to let the bear roam and does not mind if he takes a country or two. This republican is going to do his best to reduce the economic sanctions on the bear and weaken NATO. This bear was able to do all this without firing a shot; this bear is FSB — he now uses hacked emails and fake news. When this bear sees Trump on the cover of Time he smiles.