Monday, December 19, 2016

What We Know About Russian Involvement in the US Election

What we know about Russian involvement in the U.S. election

June 2016: WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange, releases thousands of emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee, resulting in the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida as DNC chair. The leak is believed to have been orchestrated by the Russian intelligence services.

September 2016: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin at an event in China about the alleged hacking, telling him to “cut it out” or face “serious consequences.”

October 2016: White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says the administration remains confident that the Russians are involved in the DNC hack as reported by the intelligence community. Earnest does not provide hard evidence of the hack, but says it’s there.

Around the same time, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reporting that Moscow has a history of interfering in other countries’ elections.

December 2016: The Kremlin denies a report that Putin not only knew about Russia’s meddling in the U.S. election, but also personally directed how hacked DNC data was used.

President-elect Donald Trump denies Russia’s involvement in the hacking, posting on his Twitter account: “If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?”

What we don’t know

Evidence against Russia: We have yet to see hard evidence from the White House or U.S. intelligence community confirming accusations that Russian intelligence meddled in the U.S. electoral process.

Evidence against Putin: We have yet to see hard evidence that Vladimir Putin personally directed the way hacked DNC data was used against Clinton in the election.

U.S. response: We do not yet know what measures the White House plans to take to respond to the Russian meddling.

Trump response: We do not yet know whether President-elect Trump plans to respond firmly to the Russian attacks, in light of his expressions of admiration for Vladimir Putin.

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