We Have to Do it Ourselves

Here is what we know – i.e., it has been publicly acknowledged by those involved and/or it has been reported on by reputable journalists relying on multiple layers of corroboration:

The Russian government committed a series of cyber-attacks against our country by spreading negative fake news stories about Clinton and positive fake news stories about Trump, all designed to interfere with our election and get Trump elected. https://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/215-press-releases-2016/1423-joint-dhs-odni-election-security-statement.

Many senior members of Trump’s campaign met with at least one senior member of the Russian government while these attacks were underway, and after they had been made public. Those who met with the Russian Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, include the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, recently resigned National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, and senior adviser and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  Senior foreign policy advisers, J.D. Gordon and Carter Paige also met with the Ambassador, during the Republican National Convention.  (Check out Representative Swalwell’s (D-Calif) excellent description of these ties here:  https://swalwell.house.gov/issues/russia-trump-his-administration-s-ties)

Christopher Steele, a former officer of the British Intelligence service, MI6, compiled a secret dossier that contains, among other things, specific and concrete evidence of the hacking done by Russia. The dossier also contains specific and concrete evidence of, at a minimum, the Trump campaign’s awareness of the hacking, and possibly also their collusion in it.  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

Although the entire dossier has not been corroborated, many of its specific claims about the cyber-attacks and about meetings and interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian officials have been corroborated by U.S. intelligence agencies, as reported on by news outlets like CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/10/politics/russia-dossier-update/), the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war), and the Rachel Maddow Show (http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show#!#full-episodes.).

So there is all this evidence floating around, from all these sources.  Is any of it true? Did Russia really hack our election?  Did the Trump campaign help? Who was the mastermind? Did Trump himself direct his aides to help Russia rig our election? Did he stand idly by while they helped? Did they act without any involvement or even knowledge by him?  What was the motive for the hacking? Did it initiate with Russia or with the Trump campaign? What does Trump now owe Russia? Who else knows something?

These are important questions, the answers to which might lead to the conclusion that the Trump campaign worked with a hostile foreign government to undermine — to put it mildly — our democracy.  So what is being done to get those questions answered?  Well, let’s see:

Michael Flynn has had to resign as National Security Advisor because he lied to the FBI and to congress about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador. And Attorney General Sessions has had to recuse himself from any investigations into the Russian hacking because he also lied to Congress about his contacts with the Russian Ambassador.

Reince Priebus, the President’s Chief of Staff, communicated with the FBI about how to conduct and talk to the media about the investigation into the hacking.

James Comey, the director of the FBI, was called to a closed door session of the House Intelligence Committee, where he refused to answer questions about the FBI’s investigation into the hacking.

Earlier this week, Christopher Steele himself resurfaced suddenly and unexpectedly.  He had disappeared back in January when the dossier became public and his name came to light as the person who had compiled it.  But now, he’s back at work at his London investigation firm, and apparently not in hiding. http://time.com/4693673/christopher-steele-donald-trump-dossier-speaks-out/. That seems very promising, doesn’t it — if the person who actually compiled the now-partially corroborated dossier is alive and available and able to talk about it?

But don’t get too excited.  Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee would very much like to call Mr. Steele to testify before his committee.  https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-03-08/top-intelligence-committee-democrat-wants-former-british-spy-who-wrote-trump-dossier-to-testify.  But  Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, (R-Calif) released the names of witnesses the Committee plans to call, and Mr. Steele’s name was not among them.  http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/07/politics/house-intelligence-committee-schedules-russia-hearing-march-20/

We have solid evidence of acts that could amount to treason, and we have the opportunity to learn a great deal more about these acts if someone in power would just ask the questions.  But let’s look at who’s in power:  the Department of Justice is controlled by Attorney General, Jeff Sessions; the FBI is controlled by James Comey; the House Intelligence Committee is controlled by Rep. Nunes, who is described as “Donald Trump’s most important friend in congress.” http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/donald-trumps-most-important-friend-congress; and the Senate Intelligence Committee is controlled by Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who stated during the campaign that there was no “separation” between him and Donald Trump. He has also bragged about getting the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/richard-burr-donald-trump-north-carolina-235319

Rachel Maddow noted wryly on her show the other night:  “It’s a DOJ controlled by a Trump campaign official or it’s two Intelligence Committees, each controlled by a Trump campaign official.  Support your free press.  It is really starting to feel like we’re going to have to do this ourselves.”  http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show#!#full-episodes (@ 24:00).

Yes, friends.  We are going to have to do it ourselves.  Pay attention.

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