Russia has been alleged of seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election by hacking the DNC emails. But as it turns out, a majority of Americans don’t believe that the Russian hacking influenced the results of the election, according to a new poll by CNN/ORC.
The U.S. government recently cited intelligence sources claiming that the Russian government was directly involved in the hacking of the emails of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in an attempt to directly influence the election. Russia has denied that they were behind the hacks right from the beginning. But to back the Obama administration’s claims, the FBI and Homeland Security Department released a report last week showing technical evidence that the Russian government was in fact behind the attacks, as part of a project called “Grizzly Steppe.”
While the CNN/ORC poll shows that Americans seem to disagree on whether the intelligence community’s assessment is correct — 43 percent believe it to be highly likely, 32 percent believe it to be somewhat likely, and 24 percent say it is unlikely. A majority of the American public, 58 percent to be exact, believe that the outcome of the election would have been the same even if the leaks had never happened. Meaning, they don’t believe that the Russian hacking influenced the results of the election. However, more than 65 percent of the public believe, if proven to be true, the Russian hacking poses a major threat or crisis for the future of the United States. Another vote shows that 47 percent think Donald Trump will not be tough enough against Russia and Putin after he’s sworn as president on Friday, while 43 percent believe he’ll be tough enough.
The Obama administration declared that they would retaliate and as such made a decision to send 35 Russian diplomats home and close two Russian compounds operating within U.S. soil earlier this month. The Russians replied tit-for-tat; they expelled 35 U.S. diplomats and closed two U.S. compounds operating near Moscow. Obama’s decision has put President-elect Donald Trump on the spot. Reversing these decisions would put him at odds with the intelligence agencies and with Republicans in Congress who support these sanctions on Russia. And going along with the decision would put him at odds with Putin and Russia, who he has claimed he wants to work closer with. Trump is set to be inaugurated as U.S. president on Friday, January 20.
Jason Healey, a Columbia University scholar, calls the election hacking one of the most serious kinds of conflict we’ve ever come across. And he doesn’t think the U.S.’s diplomatic tactics or sanctions against Russia are doing it any help.
“It’s clear Putin does not care about sanctions or other diplomatic means we might use to get him to back down.”
The U.S. already maintains a strict sanction against Russia, and if it were to seek additional sanctions, Laura Galante, director of Global Intelligence for FireEye, believes that Russia could start targeting American businesses as well. She believes that the Russians could hack “U.S. businesses and executives for reputation damage,” comparing the ramifications to the damages done to the Democratic Party during the election.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]