It's fine to be skeptical of course, and to be very skeptical of direct "hacking the election" (whatever that means) claims.
But there is plenty of public evidence that Russia was involved in the DNC hack. This evidence was available before the election, which makes it more credible against claims of political interference.
I've posted this before, but I think it's important people understand what public evidence is available:
2014 report into ATP-28: https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2014/10/apt28-a..., presenting pretty compelling (if circumstantial) evidence that group is Russian state backed.
(July) 2016 report into the DNC hacking, showing it was first breached by ATP-29 (The other Russian state backed hacking group), but the leaks almost certainly came from a second breach by ATP-28 later: https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democ...
His claim is that the source is not Russia --people who were happy to see Julian leak things (and believe his leaks) while Bush was president are now calling him a puppet of Putin. I have no idea if Putin has goods on him. Or whether Julian is just a medium. It is, however, interesting to see people shift along political axes though.
If there was a Russian angle, I think their aim was to cause uncertainty regardless of winner. Be it Trump or Hillary, whoever the winner was, the voters of the opposition would question the results --despite there being no actual election hacking (altering the vote count).
One interesting thing though is that since the media writ large expected Hillary to win, had she won, this same evidence would have been "page 6" news and would have been rather quickly forgotten but for a few "sore losers".
It might not be very obvious from inside US, but the whole mess with Iraq and Afghan wars, and especially everything that Wikileaks exposed about them, is one of the biggest providers of source material for Russian "whataboutism" (see also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_you_are_lynching_negroes). In early 00s, it was mainly useful to justify the way Russia handled Chechnya. But from 2008 on, it became more and more important - South Ossetia, Crimea, Donbass, Syria.
With that in mind, leaks about any American administration serve those goals. Bush was certainly fair game. As do any leaks that concern any Western countries, their allies, and affiliated countries. Which happens to be exactly what Wikileaks has been focusing on.
Now, this doesn't mean that those leaks don't have any further value, in particular, to citizens of the affected countries. This part of it is where you generally see a lot of partisanship when judging said value.
1. He can't possibly know if Russia is the true source.
2. Seth Rich is a classic KGB style conspiracy theory with literally not one shred of evidence, at all.
So he's doing two very odd things here that he's never done. He's saying Russia is NOT the source AND Seth Rich IS the source.
It's typical for someone with good intentions to find themselves owned by a spy agency. Assange is most likely in so deep he can't fix it.
It's a fact he's taken money from Russia and the theory of him being compromised by them goes back years before the election. He's the one that arranged for Snowden to go to Russia.
So he's compromised and a tool now. It doesn't matter if he was once free or not at this point.
> The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with WikiLeaks. RT’s editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become "the only Russian media company" to partner with WikiLeaks and had received access to "new leaks of secret information." RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to denounce the United States.
Sure, it's possible he's FSB (or whatever) secret unit and he's their Trojan horse --but no one was saying that during the Bush years (or even Obama minus '16). Only now do they say, oh, he's such a puppet. It's hard to take the allegation seriously when previously many of the same people had no problem with him.
I suspect what happened is that the hacking groups gave Wikileaks the dump via a cut-out. It's entirely possible that cut-out isn't aware how the data was obtained.
I don't think Assange is a Russian agent (even though he receives money from RT etc). I think he has his own motives. At the time this was more anti-Clinton that pro-Trump specifically.
More recently his Tweets have become more supportive of Trump personally (although interestingly not really his agendas necessarily). My uncharitable suspicion is that he's hoping for a presidential pardon.
this same evidence would have been "page 6" news and would have been rather quickly forgotten but for a few "sore losers".
Of course. There's plenty of similar evidence that the Russians also supported the Green party and Sanders campaigns in various forms. No one talks about them because they ended up not mattering.
We might be able to influence N Korea with these tactics, but Russia has a lot of natural resources, people and materiel. It's a diff game.
You have had (some) people on the left defending Kim Jun-un's actions as predictable (he's being bullied, etc). Putin's are predictable too, given what he has to work with.
I think we'd be better off reluctantly working with him (in the ME, for ex.) than blocking them every corner. It sets them back into a cold-war mentality. We (the world) need the biggest powers, US, CN, RU, to get along, if not be friends. We don't see eye to eye in many things (human rights wise, ex, pollution, ex) but we can work toward a more stable planet.
If anything, we can say that the current sanctions and other have been somewhat effective in deescalating violence, and if the west would have pulled back, then we'd have Ukraine dismembered by now through increased direct Russian military involvement.
Nothing "sets back" Russia to cold war mentality; they have never left it, won't will without a regime change, they won't stop treating the west as their enemy and they will aggressively (re)take the now independent states we let them to.
And, was it Russia that expanded to the NATO borders, or were the NATO borders that expanded to eventually reach Russia?
The sovereign countries themselves must get a choice - if they want to join NATO, that is their right, and Russia shouldn't get a veto (nor even a vote) in that. Countries should be free to join/leave the "spheres" at will, not be placed there or given or taken.
And, actually, the whole reason why NATO is at their borders is the Russian insistence of their sphere of influence. If Russia agreed in practice that their borders stop where they are and that they won't ever poke beyond them, then their neigbours wouldn't need to even consider NATO.
The belief in Ukraine, however, was that Russia was an ally, did not pose a threat and therefore Ukraine should have not seeked NATO membership. That assumption proved to be wrong now.
Amazing doesn't even begin to cover Americans complaining about foreign interference in our elections.
There's hardly a country up and down Central and South America, North Africa, and the Middle East whose elections we haven't meddled in. Start with the Shah of Iran, Mubarak, Hussein before he turned on us, the Bay of Pigs, Allende/Pinochet, etc.
Which is not to say we shouldn't push back on Russian interference in our elections, but just wow. I'd like to see us keep out of everyone else's elections too.
Back in those days it was more do or die. Let the soviets gain ground and grow their ideology or stop it within reason [stop short of no-proxy hot wars].
If we look at the toll paid by countries which went 2nd world vs those that stayed/coherced on our side, the suffering was much greater in those that went full soviet.
And often times people who point to Allende etc as bad will not point to Ghadafy or all the rest in N. Africa Obama set loose.
I think it's probably a bit naive to assume the US has stopped interfering in elections.
We just need to recall how we felt when they pranced around Cuba. We're doing similar in the eastern block (not the same degree) but all the same it gets in their craw.
I too would not be surprised if he favors Trump via omission rather than commission. Julian likely is severely allergic to establishment politicians because he rightfully sees them as two sides of the same coin who like Hillary see him as a US enemy, while Trump seems more pragmatic about it.
I have not seen that. What I've read is that one of Podesta's leaked emails reference something along the lines of "spirit cooking" or whatever (and whatever that was code for) and some people outside WikiLeaks (obviously conspiracy theorists on the right) ran with that as evidence she (not even Podesta) was some kind of witch.
So, weird, but not witchcraft. Just the typical sort of performance art that I never understand. And the context of the email is there. Nobody was seeking out a "spirit cooking" experience. Just an invitation from an eccentric artist.
It does not, which is how Wikileaks was able to keep publishing when the Ecuadorian embassy took away his internet access.
Spiteful interloper who carefully chooses his words, relishing his part in the political upheaval of a nation-state which has effectively imprisoned him in a London embassy? Maybe.
This is supposed to be convincing? Here's more of TruePundit's vaunted anonymous sources saying things you and Assange might be credulous enough to believe: https://m.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/2/1590342/--True-Pund....
It hasn't worked out well, but the logic is reasonable.
It means hacking provably vulnerable voting systems  at a small number of polling locations in pivotal counties in swing states.
"Hacking the election" is neither inconceivable nor intractable. It's just something the media and government have to ensure we don't think about.
There are plenty of other possible meanings, and people feel differently about the many possible definitions.
The word "Hack" does not just mean "illegal intrusion of a computer system"
I quite enjoy the irony of pointing this out on HackerNews...
Only if you weren't paying attention! There was plenty of noise around about the attacks at the time, if you looked for the signs.
In August 2016 The Federal Government made some moves to designate the election machines and systems as critical infrastructure so they could protect them. Predictably, this was opposed.
After the election, Obama did it anyway. As it turns out many states had asked for assistance securing their systems.
Chances are at least a half dozen state actors and another half dozen private entities would have had a strong chance of being privy to the exploits used to hack the server and would likely have been on the ball enough to do so when it was vulnerable.
In any case, the "who exploited the vulnerable server?" question is less relevant to American democracy than digging into the questionable conduct revealed by the emails.
Croudstrike (June 15 2016)
"are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services"
SecureWorks (June 16 2016)
"moderate confidence that the group is operating from the Russian Federation and is gathering intelligence on behalf of the Russian government"
Fidelis (June 20 2016)
"this settles the question of “who was responsible for the DNC attack,”"
SecureWorks - 2nd Post (June 26 2016)
"The range of targets demonstrates that the threat group poses a broad threat to individuals and groups associated with U.S. politics, to organizations and individuals in the government and defense verticals, and to those whose business involves commenting on Russia."
Threatconnect (June 29 2016)
"we assess Guccifer 2.0 most likely is a Russian denial and deception (D&D) effort that has been cast to sow doubt about the prevailing narrative of Russian perfidy"
Threatconnect (July 26 2016)
"strengthens our ongoing assessment that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian propaganda effort and not an independent actor."
Crowdstrike - 2nd Post (December 22 2016)
"further supports CrowdStrike’s previous assessments that FANCY BEAR is likely affiliated with the Russian military intelligence (GRU), and works closely with Russian military forces"
C&C server IP Addresses
Netherlands, France, Canada, Latvia, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden, US, Bulgaria.
Notice an absence of a country?
Fun Bonus: All this reveals the corporate nature of parties!(that's their defense for not handing over the servers/drives.) Part of the corruption, both of them!
PS. I shouldn't have to point this out, but in this climate of hysteria I think it might be necessary. Just because there are technical doubts about the DNC-Russia story, doesn't mean those doubts can be used to deny or affirm any other possible US-Russia espionage issues such as collusion, coercion, etc.
We have a pretty well respected company saying "this is what we found", before anyone knew how important it would end up being.
The links you have posted appear to be a fairly random set of unrelated things that I guess are supposed to undermine the report, but to me they look.. unrelated?
The OpenSecret links aren't for CrowdStrike.
https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000801 is for Warburg Pincus and shows are very even mix of Republican and Democratic recipients.
https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000031277 is for Accel Partners, and again shows an even spread, with the exception of a $176,580 donation to Right To Rise USA which is a Jeb Bush SuperPac.
The rest seem.. I don't even know what to say about them. https://i.imgur.com/O9z33Dq.png is just a ToC of report??
Not well respected, especially after their multiple past fuckups.
>fairly random set of unrelated things
VIPS report, relevant donation information of crowdstrike affiliated persons, a report from a third-party who crowdstrike allowed to look at data... not unrelated at all.
A start for transparency to relieve skepticism would be to release the data that shows the C&C ip's match past Russian affiliated attacks. That's what it boils down to, Crowdstrike claims that those ip's match a past or known group of Russian pivot servers, but haven't offered the data to verify this.
I have training in computer/network forensics. Do you?
>Not well respected
Did you criticize Crowdstike before the 2016 election? Because they're very highly regarded.
>You are taking crowdstrike at their word.
You don't have to trust Crowdstrike, as there are other organizations that did analysis. Most of my links were not from Crowdstrike.
The analyses do not rely solely on C&C IPs, and the fact that you keep harking on that makes me think you haven't read those links. There's lots of TTP and malware analysis.
>that's their defense for not handing over the servers/drives.
It is extremely common for groups to share imaged versions of a computer.
Weird coincidence: Seth Rich and at least one of the Awan family hung out at a bar the night prior to hus shooting.
Do you deny that WL is offering this reward?
It was merely a coincidence that, 5 days after a large number of files were copied from DNC computers, DNC employee Seth Rich winds up with a couple of bullets in his back, "and yet they never took anything".
In either case, Trump won the election because he won more electoral votes than Hillary. And he did this by winning more popular votes in key states. It’s that simple. The Democrats had an unappealing candidate who ran a weak campaign in key states. And lost.
What the DNC leaks do show, however, is that the Democrats ran a fraudulent primary election where they colluded with the Clinton campaign and suppressed any opposition from the left. This resulted in an unpopular candidate in the general election, and a public even more untrusting of the Clintons and the process. The Democrats needs to look in the mirror instead of playing to fears of Russian boogeyman.
This sort of system maybe worked better early in the days of the US but with our two very entrenched parties, all of this serves to prevent any third party becoming a viable option.
Both parties are corporations and are part of the problem. They circled the wagons when Ross Perot scared the shit out of them in 92, and the League of Women Voters withdrew from doing the debates because of how unfair they were becoming.
It wouldn't surprise me if there are a number of campaign-inspired lawsuits. That doesn't mean any of their claims are found to be true by a court.
You're suggesting that the DNC colluded with Clinton against Sanders, yet Sanders is not a part of this lawsuit. Sounds more like spin from the right to me.
What the DNC leaks show is also the messiness underbelly of virtually any campaign. You can call it collusion, but I'd say it's the DNC doing their job to try to get an electable candidate on the ballot. The RNC did the same thing - they just failed this time.
Had the Trump team's email leaked in the same way, I suspect the election would have gone the other way.
> And he did this by winning more popular votes in key states
And you said:
> This is incorrect. In one case, Trump won the election by very narrowly winning more popular votes in key states.
What exactly is "incorrect" again? So just because he won by a small margin, that win doesn't count? I don't even like Trump but this is really outrageous. Please take a second to think about what you're saying. I don't even know what you consider as "correct".
It's hard to conceive of what could be in Trump team email that would be more damaging than some of the things that Trump said that were known before the election. Such as:
"I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters"
"Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything."
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like Trump said something outrageous every other day.
If Trump's email had him directing his underlings to cooperate with the Russians to hack the DNC, then maybe that would have hurt. But maybe that wouldn't have been sufficient. Maybe there would have needed to be a video attachment with Trump saying exactly that? Not just words?
Seriously. Outside of evidence of Trump specifically directing people to cooperate with Russia to commit felonies, what email could have been sufficiently damaging to Trump?
OTOH, the "but Hillary" argument seemed to trump everything else, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
> Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”
3rd party candidates in FL in 2000 and MI, PA, and WI in 2016 were the spoilers for the whole nation. Don't be an idealistic, naive American voter, be a pragmatic voter!
Yes I know the electoral college is racist, and we need to abolish it.
In any case, shaming people because they voted for a candidate who they felt best represented their views goes against the very idea of representative democracy.
These 3rd party voters could have abstained or voted for another 3rd party or went Republican, but they didn't. They could have traded their vote to someone in a safe state (https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/16/opinion/anti-trump-republ...), if Hillary was their 2nd preference. If not, go ahead, vote for 3rd party candidate who could be a spoiler and has no chance of winning.
Again, I am not saying that don't vote for 3rd party candidates anywhere.
There is no equivalence between Trump and Hillary, and if Voting for Hillary in a non-safe or safe state would have been a wasted vote, pity the 65 million who voted for her.
I was a California resident at the time. My vote was about as close to irrelevant as one can get; California's electoral votes haven't turned red since Reagan.
Even if I had moved to Nevada by then (that is: a few months before I actually did), I would have had zero regrets voting for Johnson. Neither Trump nor Clinton deserved my vote, simple as that.
"There is no equivalence between Trump and Hillary"
There is plenty of equivalence between two corrupt and most-likely-actually-criminal sociopaths. There's also plenty of equivalence between two presidential campaigns that went out of the way to present a "if you're not with me, then you're against me" mentality and alienate every supporter of the other candidate.
Importantly, and more specifically, both candidates' campaigns utterly alienated me as a voter simply because I did not precisely align with their "one true policy" or whatever. Neither candidate gave me any reason to vote for them, and every reason to not vote for them.
I had no second preference. If I did have a second preference, it might as well have been Mickey Mouse.
Oh yeah, and make my vote even more worthless than it already is.
(Of course, vote trading as a California resident would've been an upgrade no matter what, but now that I live in Nevada, it'd be entirely irrational to want to dilute the power of my individual vote any further than it already is).
Also, if a democratic candidate is your 2nd preference, and you're in a non-safe state, and you don't trust vote trading, you should most likely not vote for a spoiler candidate, and vote for your 2nd preference democratic candidate. If a democrat isn't your 2nd preference, go ahead, do what you want.
The mechanics of the electoral college make this much pragmatism and tactical voting necessary for any American voter I'm afraid.
The voting is not the problem, the two party system, that effectively discounts any vote thats not R or D, is.
No excuse to not do it until the electoral college is abolished.
Percentage increase is less relevant with Trump on the ballot, compared with the raw votes that swung the electoral college.
I am not saying don't vote for 3rd parties. I am saying if you're in a non-safe state for your 2nd preference, do vote trading with someone in a safe state or vote for your 2nd preference who has a better chance of winning. If you vote trade, your 3rd party candidate will still get the same percentage of votes nationwide, and your 2nd preference will actually win.
The combination of mass incarceration, the racist electoral college as it is, and the the demographics of the country make it seem likely that some pragmatic and tactical voting in non-safe states will go a long way for Democrats, at least that seems to be the lesson from the past two decades. Hacking the electoral college anyone?
No, not by definition. There's all sorts of other reasons why Clinton could get fewer votes. Clinton has just been trying to blame every reason except those that blame her campaign.
The real question isn't "what could have cost her a fraction of a percentage point here and there?", but instead "why was such a razor edge to begin with?"
You're ignoring that Trump on the ballot meant any Libertarian was going to get a bump. Any other republican, and their winning margin would've been bigger, or Hillary would've won and we wouldn't be having this conversation.
It shouldn't have been close, but the last few elections have been, with the popular vote winner losing the electoral college twice and Kerry coming within ~30 EVs. Do you have a solution for divided media, inequality, climate change, and citizens united, that is simpler than vote trading or making people realize voting for their 2nd preference might just be worth it to hack the electoral college? I'd love to hear it.
There's no data that this that case. You just keep stating it like it's a fact.
In all three cases, the difference between Hillary and Trump was less than what the 3rd party candidates got and what Jill Stein alone got. Given what I've said before, and what happened in 2000 in FL, trying to convince people of actually voting for their 2nd preference (Hillary) or vote trading in such states makes almost as much sense as blaming the Clinton campaign itself (definitely deserves the most blame), Russia, and any number of other reasons why Hillary lost.
It's a part of the puzzle, again, given that this is the 2nd time this happened.
These issues probably affected presidential democratic turnout in these states as much as any other issue affecting the statewide or national campaigns. Also, millennial turnout was down from 2012 according to exit polls. Not sure how much to believe exit polls. Total turnout was up by little in MI and PA in 2016 compared to 2012, and it was down in WI.
Generally speaking "hacking the election" doesn't refer to this, and instead refers to information operations by Russian linked groups. Indeed, there were no credible public allegations of actual voting machine hacks or even attacks until the "Reality Winner" leaks.
I'd note that on a website called "Hacker News" it should be pretty clear that "hack" can refer to many, many thing.
Left = 'unverified facts', Right = 'opinion piece'
AWS micro instances run Linux basically by default and have about 150-250 megabit connections.
I assume they loaded the documents onto a hacked AWS box running WordPress or similar and downloaded them later from there. Hackers almost always tunnel through at least one compromised machine because they don't trust a VPN alone for anonymity.
In no way does this imply anyone was or was not responsible. This is a common thing to do for any hacking group
Also it goes out it's way to mention William Binney, and The Nation article linked from it mentions other ex-government employees associated with VIPS, but neither mentions the mysterious Skip Folden that VIPS relied on as thier technical expert.
This is what the VIPS letter says about him:
Independent analyst Skip Folden, who retired after 25 years as the IBM Program Manager for Information Technology
but if he spent 25 years as a high or even medium level employee at IBM I would expect some kind of internet trail and I couldn't find one.
It's quite possible that he worked for IBM running mainframes on site for the NSA or CIA or any of a myriad of relatively secretive US government agencies.
If so, together with IBM's historic penchant for secrecy, and given that Folden is perhaps closer in age to The Greatest Generation than to The Millenials, he just might not be very visible on Google.
I'd bet that searching "real" databases, e.g. DMV records, Social Security records, IBM employee payroll lists, property tax records, etc, would be far more productive.
In a democracy, transparency is a good thing.
There are still a variety of things that were in the emails pertaining to campaign finance violations and DOJ improprieties that have essentially been ignored. Regardless of how the American people came to know about these things, they should be the focus of the investigation.
Secondly, the amount of dirt they uncovered was so minimal. Of course they favored Clinton. She was a party loyalist and the one they considered most likely to win the general. If you think both parties don't operate like this all the time, you're nuts. They'd be nuts not to. I can't even imagine the level of freak out at the RNC when Trump took the lead.
The data was likely initially copied to a computer running Linux, because the file last modified times all reflect the apparent time of the copy and this is a characteristic of the the Linux ‘cp’ command (using default options).
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't put it past either political party to do something like this, but the evidence seems somewhat weak if I'm understanding it correctly.
I mean, file timestamps have been used by some really smart people to make intersting assumptions about what's going secretly on in very interesting ways, such as Tsutomu Shimomura reportedly looking at library access times while covertly on the same remote system as Kevin Mitnick to make assumptions about what he was compiling (I don't recall the source, it may even be made up), but this isn't one of them.
For more about the MS Word stuff, here's the page on that: http://g-2.space/intent/
I'll grant that it could also be related to some way the files were prepared in the interim, but it is at least worthy of considering where that metadata might have come from or been replaced through normal activity or intentional operations.
I would also point out that this article is mostly revolving around whether _some_ portion of the DNC emails were purposefully leaked, but it doesn't say much at all about the remaining incidents and data. It certainly doesn't disprove the "russia story."
In fact that that alle files, even those in rar-files were all modified on the same time, convinces me more that the timestamps have nothing to do with the transmission. But that someone altered them after the hack, or that but more unlikely is that all the timestamps are still untouched and exactly on how they were on the DNC server
This is laughably stupid. Why would attributing the hack to Russia instead of Wikileaks or whatever make any difference to the contents of the hacks?
I don't think this is true at all. I do recall CS releasing their own report in early summer, but my understanding is the January IC assessment was a completely separate document which did not cite the CS report in any way.
(If I am missing something here, happy to be corrected, this aspect just stuck out to me)
> In his testimony in January on the cyber attacks, then-director of the FBI James Comey said the agency never got access to the machines themselves, but obtained access to the forensics from a review of the system performed by CrowdStrike, a third-party cybersecurity firm.
> The IC assessment was just regurgitating CS's report. The IC just took CS at their word since they would have contracted out to someone like CS to begin with.
The IC assessment appears to be very different. It describes information sourcing without any reference to an analysis of DNC servers (let alone CrowdStrike). There does not appear to be any indication that information from CrowdStrike's analysis or any information from DNC servers at all was used to generate the IC assessment.
1) Russia's history when it comes to election meddling and spreading dis-information speaks for itself, yes the US does it too, but the Russia is on another level (Every eastern European country has been a public target from the same groups).
2) Russia had a lot more to fear from Hillary than Trump. The sanctions and military ratcheting would likely be more in force than it is now under Trump and a dysfunctional congress. Hillary was a known hawk on Russia, compared with Manafort/Flynn on Russia.
3) Putin himself said "some patriotic Russians might have done stuff" like sending phishing emails.
When Russia faced the lemon of a Hillary administration, they made lemonade. Arguably, it wasn't that hard and paid for itself. We as the voting public knew most of this before the election, including partly about Trump's intent of collusion and possibly collusion, and voted the way we did anyway.
Assange is kind of irrelevant, he has always had his own motives, and it's pretty clearly being anti-US. Offering Damore a job with wikileaks, really?
It seems to me the chances are Russia tries to hack most US politician's emails every day, and probably twice on Sundays. Even the nice ol' US was caught in 2009 spying on the UN Secretary General and the Security Council delegations of its allies; do we really for one moment think that famously-spy-heavy bad-guy Russia and its ex-spy-master President wouldn't be constantly trying to get its hands on the emails of its Cold War enemy?
In which case, hunting whether Trump encouraged Russia seems like hunting for who asked the clouds to rain this morning.
Which makes the US reaction not smell right. It smells somehow like a game of pretexts.
So having "not got that" about the scandal -- something seems fishy here -- it looks to my amateur, non-US, non-politician, probably-too-cynical eyes, like there's five parties having a political fight for control (and yes I am being deliberately simplistic and caricaturing):
- The Trump team, who seem like they're recruited like the Dirty Dozen (you're so unsuitable for any normal administration, and possibly borderline insane, that you've got nothing to lose with this crazy mission...)
- The powers that be / senior civil servants. Trump spent his entire campaign calling Washington "the swamp" and declaring he'd drain it. Did you think they wouldn't fight back, the FBI wouldn't leak, they wouldn't try to undermine this braggart who's just come marching in telling them he's going to rip them apart?
- The Republican establishment (McCain, etc). Did you really think parts of the Republican party that spent so long wanting anyone but Trump would grow to like him?
- The left-of-centre echo chamber (us techie types, journalists, other professionals), whose typical MO is to use the levers of embarrassment, twitterstorms, and rhetoric to try to shovel any government we are unfortunate enough to have over us into following our agenda
- Modern industry, which seems to have cottoned onto the idea that if publicly you say enough "left" things (equality, diversity) and sound passionate about social progress, you can pursue a "right" agenda (not paying tax, disempowering employees, building private monopolies with moats around them) without anybody making much fuss.
And though that may be a gross caricature, in that model somehow the behaviour seems to make sense. For example, the Trump-Russia scandal as a way of tying Trump's hands and forcing him down foreign policy lines he doesn't want. The administration's seeming dysfunction, because anyone who joins them knows it is the only administration they will ever serve, so you can only get amateurs who don't know the game of White House politics or think they can change how it is played. The constant storms over his latest tweet, despite his tweets having been incoherent for years, because raising the level of outrage creates social roadblocks -- making avenues hopefully too sensitive and already too explosive for him to travel further down them.
Which makes Russia seem like an irrelevant bystander -- doing what it does every day (which happens to be trying to hack American servers for everything it can get, while trying to nibble at gaining more control and influence in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean).
The Trump-Russia scandal isn't about whether Trump “encouraged” Russia, which seems to be the basic error in your entire argument.