And to think he hasn’t even gotten started yet…

By Andrew J. Pridgen

President-elect Donald J. Trump has not held a press conference since July 27 when he called on Russians to hack his opposition in order to influence the election:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said while speaking to the press at Trump National in Doral, Fla. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

At the time, beyond, you know, it being an act of treason to urge a foreign entity to disrupt a democratic election, The New York Times pointed out “Mr. Trump’s call was another bizarre moment in the mystery of whether Vladimir V. Putin’s government has been seeking to influence the United States’ presidential race.”

On Sunday, based on the CIA’s analysis of Russian interference with the 2016 election, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Senate Democratic Leader-elect, and Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services released the following joint statement:

“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.

“Congress’s national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done.  While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.

“This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”

A Washington Post report published online Friday first described how the intelligence community has reached a “consensus” that Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Trump win. The New York Times confirmed the story, as has NBC News. In the wake of the report, president Barack Obama ordered a complete review of the hacks, which targeted emails at the Democratic Party and the emails of a key aide to presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Most of the emerging fake news sites that helped disrupt the news cycle during the campaign were also based in Russia.

Other Senior Republicans have joined Democrats in calling for a full investigation with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it “defies belief” that some Republicans are reluctant to review the alleged Russian tactics.

McCain followed up his call for investigation with this sentiment Sunday: “Facts are stubborn things. They did hack into this campaign. Vladimir Putin is a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent,” he said. “…Let’s call Vladimir Putin for what he is. Does that mean you don’t deal with him or talk to him? Of course you talk to him. But you do it the way that Ronald Reagan did, and that’s from a position of strength.”

For its part, the Trump transition team released this dismissive, incomplete and not-at-all accurate statement written by someone who appears to be the assistant yearbook editor at Trump High:

“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 time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

The reality is the intelligence community was divided on weapons of mass destruction. People aren’t “thats” they are “whos”. The election ended just over a month ago (it only SEEMS like it’s been forever), Trump trails Democrat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by 2.8 million votes, and his Electoral College win ranks 46th out of 58 presidential contests, not exactly a bigly victory. And, oh yeah, who the fuck are they quoting at the end with “Make America Great Again” in quotes?

Trump himself, still wanting to keep intact his 140 characters at a time spew, along with slamming NBC news for, you know, reporting actual news, (isn’t he still an employee of that network?) released these dangerous tweets Monday morning:

…I wonder how many times he’s been caught in the act of hacking.

Trump’s assumptions on how hackers cannot be caught are simply not true — meaning he probably based most of his knowledge on the 1995 film, Hackers, a movie about what it looks like when Matthew Lilllard and Angelina Jolie accidentally switch wigs:

While a company that is breached by hackers can really only work from the digital evidence left behind, nation states or intelligence agencies have many more sources to draw on when gathering evidence, Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at cyber-security firm Digital Shadows, told the BBC. “It’s certainly not simple,” he said. “But I do not think attribution is impossible when it comes to nation-states at all.”

If installed, Trump and his team will certainly lift Putin’s economic sanctions that began with the Bush administration — and give him the full power he needs to put democracy on the run. How do we know this? They are already choosing to side with an authoritarian state over the thousands of American men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis to bring forth information.

Trump and his surrogates are willfully ignoring Putin’s efforts to interfere with our free elections putting party and personal gain over the nation’s security.

Along those lines, McCain expressed “concern” about the leading candidate to be Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Tillerson has worked closely with Putin: the pair first met during the 1990s and have worked together on a handful of deals relating to Tillerson’s position at Exxon including a half-trillion-dollar pact which would make both parties personally wealthy beyond reason and strengthen Russia’s empire.

The installation of Tillerson, a man with zero experience anywhere besides an oil and gas giant, as the chief liaison to all leaders of the world would send a message to authoritarian figures around the globe that we will embrace your policies as long as it is profitable for the few in power.

Ronald Reagan, indeed, is rolling in his grave. As a reminder, this is what a responsible, conservative and compassionate leader of the free world sounds like when speaking to Russians:

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author ofBurgundy Upholstery Skywhich you should purchase for yourself and a friend this holiday season.

 

 

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