On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledged to support a congressional investigation into whether Russian hacking affected the 2016 election. Republicans have nothing to fear from such an investigation, because they won the election fair and square.
No, Russia is not the friend that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent several years pretending it was. But the idea that Russian hackers coronated Trump is only the latest left-wing opiate — after white supremacists and “fake news” — designed to dull the pain of electoral defeat, and postpone the reckoning that must occur if Democrats are to pose a significant threat as an opposition party at any time in the near future.
Here are just ten of the reasons the “Russian hacking” story is a sham — a left-wing twist on the red-baiting McCarthyism of the 1950s.
1. There is actually no new information leading the CIA to its conclusion. The New York Times reports: “The C.I.A.’s conclusion does not appear to be the product of specific new intelligence obtained since the election, several American officials, including some who had read the agency’s briefing, said on Sunday. Rather, it was an analysis of what many believe is overwhelming circumstantial evidence — evidence that others feel does not support firm judgments — that the Russians put a thumb on the scale for Mr. Trump, and got their desired outcome.” In other words, someone only decided after Trump won that the accusation was worth making.
2. The “evidence” that the CIA has gathered is inconclusive. The FBI also disagrees with some of the CIA’s conclusions about Russia’s motives. “While lawmakers were seemingly united on the need to present a strong bipartisan response, the FBI and CIA gave lawmakers differing accounts on Russia’s motives, according to The Post,” The Hill reported on Sunday.
3. The CIA is not making public claims that Russia hacked the election. Several CIA veterans, in fact, have urged caution about the leaked reports. As Newsweek reports: “‘I am not saying that I don’t think Russia did this,’ Nada Bakos, a top former CIA counterterrorism officer tells Newsweek, in a typical comment. ‘My main concern is that we will rush to judgment. The analysis needs to be cohesive and done the right way.'” Thus far there is not even a clear idea what the CIA’s conclusions are.
4. Despite left-wing “fake news,” there is no evidence Russian hackers actually distorted the voting process. The most that the CIA is alleging is that the Russians may have helped hack of the Democratic National Committee emails, as well as (possibly) the emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chaiman John Podesta. There is zero evidence Russian hackers messed with voting. Ironically, Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount has eliminated any doubt about the integrity of the results.
5. The Obama administration has a history of manipulating intelligence for political gain. The most under-reported scandal of Obama’s presidency was the CENTCOM scandal, in which it emerged that “senior U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) leaders manipulated intelligence assessments in 2014 and 2015 to make it appear that President Barack Obama is winning the war against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).” There is even more reason to doubt the truth of a selective leak about the election.
6. Julian Assange and Wikileaks have vigorously denied that the Russians were involved in Wikileaks’ disclosures. Of the Democratic National Committee emails, Assange said: “That is the circumstantial evidence that some Russian, or someone who wanted to make them look like a Russian, was involved, with these other media organisations. That is not the case for the material that we released.” Assange made similar denials about the Podesta email leaks later in the election.
7. The fact that the Russians might constantly be trying to hack U.S. systems, and might even specifically have targeted the election, does not prove that they succeeded. Nor does it prove that they tipped the election to Trump even if they had some effect. As pollster Frank Luntz tweeted: “Did Russia also hack Hillary’s campaign calendar and delete all her stops in rural Wisconsin, Penn., and Michigan?” Hillary Clinton lost the election for reasons entirely of her own making.
8. Foreign interference in elections is nothing new — and the Obama administration is a prime culprit. In 2015, the Obama administration made a strenuous and not-terribly-well-hidden effort to swing the Israeli elections toward the opposition and away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The State Department gave $300,000 to a “pro-peace” Israeli group, which then paid political activists whose goal was to unseat Netanyahu. In 1984, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) actually asked for Soviet help. Russian efforts to intervene would be bad, but not unique, either for Russia or for the U.S.
9. What would the consequences of allowing undue Russian influence in our elections be, exactly? Would we yield primacy in Eastern Europe to Vladimir Putin? Would we give up our plans for missile defense? Would we make deep unilateral cuts in our nuclear arsenal in exchange for flimsy concessions ? Would we tolerate a Russian land invasion of a friendly, pro-Western country? Would we cede the Middle East to Russian hegemony? Because Hillary Clinton and Obama already did that.
10. Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation for the “Russian hacking” story is that it is “fake news” that suits the left-wing media. It is not unknown for Russia to use false propaganda to affect public opinion in foreign countries. Nor is it unknown for the U.S. media to use bias, “fake news,” and outright lies to shift public opinion in this country. The current focus on Russian “hacking,” based on no new evidence and — again — zero evidence of tampering with the voting process.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.