Trump transition: From Russia with Love!
By Arun Kumar
Hillary Clinton did not lose the White House race to Dold Trump. She was done in by (FBI director James) Comey, the Constitution, and now the Russians!
That’s “just another excuse,” said the Republican President-elect, proffered by the Democrats still in denial more than a month after his stunning victory defying pollsters, pundits and prophets.
Scoffing at a CIA assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin persolly ordered his spooks to hack into Democratic Party emails to help him win as “ridiculous,” Trump dissed it as an attempt to “delegitimise” his election.
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost,” he asked as President Barack Obama ordered a review of the alleged hack.
“Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card,” he tweeted. “It would be called conspiracy theory!”
“Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin,” countered Obama buying his spies’ assertion “with a high degree of confidence” that “This happened at the highest levels of the Russian government.”
“We need to take action. And we will - at a time and place of our own choosing,” he thundered in an interview.
Obama also claimed that Moscow had stopped “further tampering of the election process” after he bluntly told Putin to “cut it out” when they met in Chi” in September. “But the leaks through WikiLeaks had already occurred.”
Though he was careful to not endorse CIA’s belief that Russia’s goal was to elect Trump, he suggested the Russian hack had created “more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign.”
His spokesman, Josh Earnest, went a step further. “The fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans and only leaked the Democratic information” clearly indicated that it was designed to help Trump, he suggested echoing the spooks.
The FBI did not agree. Nor did America’s spymaster, who oversees 17 US intelligence agencies, saying it was “a thin reed upon which to base an alytical judgment.”
Clinton, who before the election was “horrified” that Trump may not readily accept the result, too jumped on the Russian bandwagon calling it an “attack against our democracy” prompted by Putin’s “persol beef” against her.
She also doubled down on her previous assertion that Comey’s reopening of a probe into her use of a private email server as America’s top diplomat 11 days before election led to her defeat.
Clinton conveniently overlooked the fact that it was what her desi aide Neera Tanden called her “f***ing insane” for using a private server that had prompted the FBI probe in the first place.
And it was the discovery of thousands of her emails on the laptop of another desi aide Huma Abedin’s husband that led to the reopening of the case.
Her campaign chief John Podesta, whose private email too was hacked, also renewed his attack on the agency saying “something is deeply broken at the FBI”.
He too ignored the fact that a Democratic Party IT official had reportedly dismissed a warning from a special agent about a possible hack as a prank.
After its efforts for a recount in three battleground states came a cropper, the Clinton campaign came out in open support of a call by some members of the Electoral College for an intelligence briefing on foreign intervention in the presidential election.
The move came ahead of the Monday’s Electoral College meeting when 538 presidential electors pledged to either Trump or Clinton gather in the 50 state capitols and Washington, DC to formally endorse the outcome in their states.
“Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed,” Podesta wrote in effect urging them not to vote as their state did as it has been done since the first election in 1790.
Many of the electors said they have been besieged by phone calls and e-mails to instead vote for Clinton who collected 2.8 million more votes, but lost the electoral vote 306-232 to Trump who emerged victorious in 30 states.
Yet as the Electoral College heads for its crucial Monday vote, one can say with the “highest degree of confidence” that it would stamp its approval of Trump’s election. But let the Democrats dream for another day! (IANS)
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)