What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.The New York Post reported something even more disturbing.
Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.
The White House is accusing President-elect Donald Trump of knowing the Russians were interfering in the US election — and standing idly by because it was hurting Hillary Clinton. “There was ample evidence that was known long before the election, and in most cases long before October, about the Trump campaign in Russia, everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing.NBC now reports that U.S. Officials say Putin was personally involved in the U.S. Election hack.
“It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him, that Russia was involved and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign,” he added. Earnest even went so far as to say that Trump chose campaign manager Paul Manafort — the second of three to lead his successful presidential bid — because of his closeness to the Russians.
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with "a high level of confidence" that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.Donald Trump has been coy in the manner in which he addressed the Russian attack on our elections. As more evidence is revealed it puts his entire presidency in question as it should. His presidency already lacks legitimacy. As more is revealed it may make his presidency incapable of functioning as but the figurative head of the executive, ceding power entirely to the legislative branch.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said. Ultimately, the CIA has assessed, the Russian government wanted to elect Donald Trump.