Thursday, July 28, 2016

From Russia with Love: The Moscovian Candidate asks for Russian help

Trump, Our Man from Moscow, invites more hacking from Russia

Trump, just this morning (7/27), asked Russia to do more hacking - now of Clinton's email. This is most disturbing because he has requested a foreign power to intervene in an American election. That, as Rep. Steve Israel put it on MSNBC, borders on treason.

Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging an adversarial foreign power to cyberspy on a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras during a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the United States’ presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which American intelligence agencies have told the White House they have “high confidence” was the work of the Russian government.

Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or at least interfere in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally saying “be quiet” to the female questioner. “Let the president talk to them.”

Steve Benen (MSNBC/MaddowBlog) has a lot more to say about Trump's behavior.

Let’s be very clear about what happened this morning. The Republican candidate for president held a press conference in which he urged Vladimir Putin’s espionage services to help sabotage the American election and put Trump in the White House.

No, seriously. That’s the level of genuine insanity that we’ve reached. Against the backdrop of allegations that Russia is already trying to intervene in the U.S. presidential race on Trump’s behalf, Donald J. Trump took the next step towards true madness today, publicly calling on a foreign government to commit a felony against his American rival on his behalf.

There is literally nothing in the American tradition that’s similar to this. Nothing. Trump is taking his candidacy, his party, and his country into unchartered waters.

The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes, a conservative Fox News contributor, asked this morning, “How can any Republican support a candidate who openly hopes for foreign cyberattacks on a political opponent?” I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’d love to hear Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, and others defend their choice in candidates.

Remember, as far as Trump is concerned, those Clinton emails contain sensitive intelligence. In other words, the Republican nominee this morning said he “hopes” Putin’s government gains access to classified government materials because it might help advance Trump’s personal ambitions.

How did we get to this point? Why is this man a major-party nominee for the nation’s highest office? Since when does the Republican Party think it’s acceptable to appeal to rival states to help sabotage a campaign opponent ahead of an election?

Also consider what we’re learning about Trump’s perspective on intelligence. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing wrong with urging an unfriendly foreign state to commit a cybercrime against an American for political purposes. If Trump heads the U.S. executive branch, and has some authority over the CIA and NSA, is anyone prepared to argue that he’ll be restrained and responsible?

What more could Trump do to convince people about the dangers of his candidacy? How is this not a disqualifying moment?

Try to imagine – no, really, take a moment to think about – how significant a scandal it would be if Hillary Clinton publicly urged Russia to do her a favor, target a GOP rival, and help her win an election. How quickly would her career in public life end? How many congressional hearings and investigations would Republicans demand?

I’ve been watching this bizarre presidential race every day since it began. It’s never been scarier than it is right now.

Where are our patriotic Republicans when we need them? How can any Republican or conservative in good conscience support or vote for this traitor? What else will he hand Russia?

Republicans must decide: GOP or PoP (Party of Putin).

Today emails, tomorrow voting machines

In what other forms might foreign intervention take?

Many of our communications systems are vulnerable to hacking from foreign entities. Here's a scary example in the Washington Post.

Government interference with foreign elections isn’t new, and in fact, that’s something the United States itself has repeatedly done in recent history. Using cyberattacks to influence elections is newer but has been done before, too — most notably in Latin America. Hacking of voting machines isn’t new, either. But what is new is a foreign government interfering with a U.S. national election on a large scale. Our democracy cannot tolerate it, and we as citizens cannot accept it.

Last April, the Obama administration issued an executive order outlining how we as a nation respond to cyberattacks against our critical infrastructure. While our election technology was not explicitly mentioned, our political process is certainly critical. And while they’re a hodgepodge of separate state-run systems, together their security affects every one of us. After everyone has voted, it is essential that both sides believe the election was fair and the results accurate. Otherwise, the election has no legitimacy.

Election security is now a national security issue; federal officials need to take the lead, and they need to do it quickly.

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