Political Hacks

All of a sudden, Jill Stein doesn’t look like such a nutjob now, eh?

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators…

The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” the statement read.

Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence community’s findings about Russian hacking.

“I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Of course, Stein, the target of savage scorn and disgusting dismissal over her efforts to verify the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, has been trying to determine whether electronic voting machines may have been manipulated to alter the reported election results. The courts haven’t provided much help:

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stein’s lawyers went before a federal court to present their request for a manual recount of paper ballots, as well as a forensic analysis of voting machines in the state. The Friday afternoon hearing came after the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas denied a request by Stein’s campaign for a full forensic analysis of the state’s voting machines and their electronic software. Establishing that the voting machines could produce incorrect results is a pillar of the Stein campaign’s argument for a recount in Pennsylvania, so Stein’s campaign needs a court to rule in favor of an examination of the voting machines across the state.

A federal judge is scheduled to rule Monday on whether Stein will be allowed to verify election results in Pennsylvania. A federal judge in Wisconsin has denied an effort by Team Trump to stop Stein from verifying the election results in the Badger State. Unfortunately, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided that verifying the results in that state isn’t that important.

Jill Stein wasn’t making it up when she noted that our election system is not impregnable. We know now that Russia had, at the very least, a motive for mischief in the 2016 Presidential election. Stein deserves an apology from those who ridiculed her for attempting to make sure that the reported outcome of the 2016 election–the promotion of Putin’s pal to the White House–is legitimate.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.