Somehow the longstanding Putin-Trump bromance coupled with the Russian hack of Democratic National Committee emails with the intent of hurting Hillary Clinton…somehow this hasn’t become a huge news story. It feels bigger than Watergate but it lacks a serious smoking gun element. There’s a strong hint of one, for sure, but for now the news media is in a wait-and-see mode.
But you know what? Even if evidence fully proved that Donald Trump is totally in the pocket of Vladimir Putin, 97% of Trump supporters wouldn’t give a damn. All they know is their Hillary hate. Nothing above or beyond that gets in.
From 6.17.16 Washington Post story about Trump and Putin’s financial relationship, written by Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Birnbaum:
“The overwhelming consensus among American political and national security leaders has held that Putin is a pariah who disregards human rights and has violated international norms in seeking to regain influence and territory in the former Soviet bloc. In 2012, one year before Trump brought his beauty pageant to Moscow, then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called Russia the United States’ top geopolitical threat — an assessment that has only gained currency since then.
“Trump has conveyed a different view, informed in part through his business ambitions. Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
“A foreign government has hacked a political party’s computers—and possibly an election. It has stolen documents and timed their release to explode with maximum damage. It is a strike against our civic infrastructure. And though nobody died — and there was no economic toll exacted — the Russians were aiming for a tender spot, a central node of our democracy.
“It was hard to see the perniciousness of this attack at first, especially given how news media initially covered the story. The Russians, after all, didn’t knock out a power grid. And when the stolen information arrived, it was dressed in the ideology of WikiLeaks, which presents its exploits as possessing a kind of journalistic bravery the traditional media lacks.
“To state the obvious, only one political party has been exposed. [And] the emails don’t get us much beyond a fact every sentient political observer could already see: Officials at the DNC, hired to work hand in glove with a seemingly inevitable nominee, were actively making life easier for Hillary Clinton. It didn’t take these leaks to understand that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a hack and that the DNC should be far more neutral in presidential primaries.
“Leaks are an important tool of journalism and accountability. When an insider uncovers malfeasance, he brings information to the public in order to stop the wrongdoing. That’s not what happened here.
“The better analogy for these hacks is Watergate. To help win an election, the Russians broke into the virtual headquarters of the Democratic Party. The hackers installed the cyber-version of the bugging equipment that Nixon’s goons used—sitting on the DNC computers for a year, eavesdropping on everything, collecting as many scraps as possible. This is trespassing, it’s thievery, it’s a breathtaking transgression of privacy. It falls into that classic genre, the dirty trick.”
Update: At a press conference today (Wednesday, 7.27) in Doral Florida, Trump said he hopes Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails have fallen into the hands of Russian hackers.
“If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails,” he said. “I hope they do.” Trump added: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”