After this weekend’s WikiLeaks dump of emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, President Obama and the intelligence community went on the record to link the hacks to Russia. Today, the New York Times reports that the White House is now considering a proportional response to the alleged Russian hacking.
Meanwhile, NBC News reports that Donald Trump is being accused of willful misrepresentation of the facts. This, after comments Donald Trump made at this week’s debates that he had no clue anyone was accusing Russia of hacking at all. Intelligence officials have gone on the record to say that he knew because both presidential candidates were briefed on the matter.
Also, the Russian ambassador to the U.S. has come to the defense of Donald Trump many times in recent days.
The New York Times reports that President Obama is absolutely on top of the hacking and has gone on the record to link the hacks to Russia.
James R. Clapper, the director of National Intelligence for Homeland Security, said, “Only Russia’s most senior officials could have authorized these activities.”
Top Democrats are applauding the Obama Administration’s efforts and public statements on the links to Russia hacks.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One today, “There are a range of responses that are available to the president, and he will consider a response that is proportional.”
Josh Earnest also said the option that President Obama chooses is not likely to be announced in advance. Mr. Earnest added that if the proportional response is carried out, the American people may never know about it.
The White House has noted that in linking the WikiLeaks hacks to Russia, only one political party in the presidential race appears to be suffering ill effects, reports the New York Times. It has also been noted by the Obama administration that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has referred to Vladimir Putin as a leader who is better than President Obama multiple times during the course of the 2016 election.
Hillary Clinton said the Russian efforts are “unprecedented,” adding, “And believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump.”
During the first presidential debate, Donald Trump shrugged off any notion of Russian hackers, saying, “Could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, O.K.?”
In the second debate, NBC News reports that he said, “I notice anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are – [Hillary Clinton] doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia.”
U.S. intelligence officials have called that willful misrepresentation of the facts. A senior intelligence official told NBC News that both candidates have been briefed on cybersecurity and Russia’s involvement with the election.
They said, “To profess not to know at this point is willful misrepresentation. The intelligence community has walked a very thin line in not taking sides, but both candidates have all the information they need to be crystal clear.”
The intelligence official also told NBC News that both candidates were briefed 48 hours before the debate on Sunday night. That is when the Department of Homeland Security went on the record as saying the WikiLeaks hack originated in the Kremlin.
Their statement explained, “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he knows nothing about any Russian hacking at all. However, as the Inquisitr reported when it was alleged that Donald Trump broke a Cuban embargo in the 1990s, top Trump aide and ally Roger Stone was considered by the FBI for hacking and a WikiLeaks connection. Donald Trump alleges he knows nothing about this either.
But his ally Roger Stone tweeted about it, warning in August that John Podesta of the Hillary Clinton campaign was going to be the next target. How Roger Stone knew this is unclear to those outside of the intelligence community.
But we do know that FBI director James Comey declined to comment to the House Judiciary Committee on whether or not Roger Stone was being investigated. John Podesta has gone on the record after this weekend to confirm that the FBI is investigating Russia’s possible link to the hacks, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Watch this video of FBI Director James Comey discussing Roger Stone and WikiLeaks below.
Meanwhile, Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak says that all of this is untrue, reports the Chicago Tribune.
He said, “We are watching very carefully the election campaign in this country. We don’t interfere in the internal affairs of the United States, neither by my statements nor by electronic or other means.”
Donald Trump and Russia are coming up together in the news a lot more and more. In an update to this story from when it first went to print, we have learned that a panel of 16 national security advisors have issued a statement to the press and public, saying, be careful what you use for your press reports, and don’t trust everything you read, reports Media Matters.
The subtext of this warning, in a letter written by top security advisors from Counterterrorism, Department of Defense, and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, among others is, don’t trust anything you read in the WikiLeaks.
The advisors go on to say the pattern of the hackers leaking information to WikiLeaks is for information to be leaked that is accurate, followed by altered documents. The document, dated October 6, the day before the Podesta emails came out, says,
“What is taking place in the United States follows a well-known Russian playbook. First, leak compelling and truthful information to gain credibility. The next step: release fake documents that look the same….There is no amount of short-term partisan gain or perceived media scoop that could justify that outcome. The only recourse is our vigilance, and our vote.”
Hillary Clinton’s communication director Jennifer Palmieri has said exactly the same thing has already happened to the Clinton campaign, reports the Chicago Tribune. She said,
“The pattern is they hack, they leak truthful things, and then they build up to leaking documents that are either doctored or wholly fabricated.”
Yesterday, the Inquisitr reported that Donald Trump had read a falsified Russian email at a rally, an email related to the WikiLeaks dump that nobody could have known about but Sputnik. This morning, the Inquisitr reported on the human rights crisis in Syria and how the U.N. Human Rights Chief referred to Donald Trump as dangerous.
He was rebuked by the U.S. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak for that comment. Today, Kislyak denies any Russian involvement with the 2016 presidential election.
This would be the second time in as many days that the Russian ambassador appears to defend Donald Trump. Today, President Obama announced with the intelligence community that it is evident one political party is suffering the most effects of this, and the Obama Administration is considering a proportional response.
[Feature Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]