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Trump, Russia, and election hacking

By Scott Tibbs, July 26, 2018

Donald Trump is very defensive on the subject of Russian hacking. Anyone in his position would be. Think about it: If you were being constantly accused of doing something nefarious for the last two years, you would be defensive too. Most of us have not taken one tenth of one percent of the heat that Trump has taken on this issue alone, so it is natural that he would be very defensive.

Trump has been reluctant to admit that the Russians hacked the Democrats' e-mail servers in 2016 because he feels that if he does, that validates the narrative that Russia intervened to help him and that he colluded with Russia. Trump's political instincts are not perfect, but he knows who his enemies are and how they will respond to what he says. He is therefore not willing to give even a yoctometer on the subject of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. He is wrong, but his perspective is understandable.

Note that interfering in the campaign by spreading information and interfering in the election itself are two very different things. There is not one shred of reliable evidence that the Russians hacked the voting itself.

Given that the intelligence agencies have been found to have worked against him, given the corruption within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and given the Obama administration's spying on the Trump campaign, of course Trump is going to have trust issues with the intelligence agencies that work under him. There is a reason the "deep state" narrative is so strong on the Right. This is not a case of Trump taking sides against his own country. This is a case of a man who is justifiably defensive reacting too far in the other direction.

Of course, the President should be able to separate the two realities. The Russians meddled in the 2016 campaign and there was no collusion between Trump and Russia. There was no motivation for Russia to help Trump because nobody (including the Russians) thought Trump had any chance of being elected President. Rush Limbaugh asked who we are supposed to please by admitting to Russian meddling. The answer: Telling the truth is its own reward. Plus, we should stand by our intelligence agencies where agents often put their lives at risk for this nation. Trump needs to be clear on this.