The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has taken a lot of the wind out of the sails of the Democrats’ charge that the Russians interfered with the U.S. election to help Donald Trump win.
In fact, the FBI previously said it couldn’t back the CIA’s conclusion that the Russians hacked the accounts of the Democratic National Committee and party leaders.
In recent days, both the Washington Post and New York Times reported the CIA believes Russia was not just trying to meddle in America’s democratic process but was actively working in support of Trump. The Times report admits there is no concrete evidence for the charge but states that intelligence officials believe there is a considerable amount of circumstantial evidence.
A former Reagan administration Pentagon official said Monday the claim is devoid of any publicly available evidence.
The CIA was not alleging that Trump or his campaign colluded with the alleged Russian plot or that Russia in any way impacted vote counting on Election Day.
But the rumors being discussed by the CIA have given fuel to Trump critics, including those in Congress who now want an investigation. Electors, scheduled to next week finalize Trump’s election victory, also are complaining they don’t have enough information.
Now Reuters is reporting officials inside the office of the Director of National Intelligence, who were not identified by Reuters, said their office has not endorsed the CIA assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump.
The ODNI oversees the 17-agency-strong U.S. intelligence community.
Its conclusion “could give Trump fresh ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment, which he rejected as ‘ridiculous’ in weekend remarks,” Reuters reported.
“ODNI is not arguing that the [CIA] is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” an official told Reuters. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.”
The FBI earlier said its standards for evidence weren’t satisfied by the CIA’s assumptions and conclusions.
President Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to report to him what they know about such attacks.
A Reuters source said the CIA “assessed” that attacks on political organizations “were aimed at swaying the vote for Trump because the targeting of Republican organizations diminished toward the end of summer and focused on Democratic groups.” The ODNI officials said the CIA statement was a “judgment based on the fact that Russian entities hacked both Democrats and Republicans and only the Democratic information was leaked,” Reuters said.
WikiLeaks, which distributed thousands of pages of Democratic organization and operative emails prior to the election, said Russia was not its source. Former U.S. Ambassador Craig Murray wrote in an online commentary that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange “has made crystal clear the leaks did not come from the Russians.”
He added that he, too, has had access to the “original source.”
“Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively that the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access.”
He explained while the CIA claims to “know the individuals” involved, nobody has been arrested or extradited. This under an Obama administration that “has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution whistleblowers.”
“They are not hacks, they are inside leaks,” he continued. “There is a major difference between the two.”
He suggested a direction for investigators to look, too.
“And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie [Sanders], if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.”
Nonetheless, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted it’s “obvious that the Russians hacked into our campaigns.”
“But there is no information that they were intending to affect the outcome of our election and that’s why we need a congressional investigation,” he said.
WND reported Monday that 10 members of the Electoral College, who are scheduled to vote next week to formalize Trump’s 2016 election victory, now are demanding “information on the allegations that Russia was working on behalf of Donald Trump.”
And one member of Congress has come out with new demands that electors reject Trump “even though he conceded … that the Republican won the election ‘fair and square.'”
In Colorado, a federal judge rejected a demand from two Hillary Clinton electors who sued to be granted permission to reject the voters’ wishes (another Clinton presidency) so they can vote for a different Republican, not Trump.
The state’s attorney general, Cynthia Coffman, was contemptuous.
“This court should not countenance plaintiffs’ attempt to dismantle the Electoral College from within. It should reject as an affront to this nation’s model of democracy this effort to disenfranchise millions of Coloradans by usurping their collective choice of candidates and replacing it with plaintiff’s own personal opinions about who is fit for the office of president,” she wrote.
“Holding otherwise would cause chaos.”
But chaos apparently is the point of the case brought by Democrat electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich.
Politico said they’re “hoping that a legal win undermines similar laws in 28 other states, including several in which Republican presidential electors have expressed skepticism about Trump’s candidacy.”
“Without those laws on the books, they argue, more Republican electors might be willing to defect from Trump and support an alternative candidate.”
The 10 Electoral College members, according to the New York Post, are being organized by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Trump arch-critic Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.
The 10 wrote to the director of National Intelligence insisting they be told before they vote about “allegations that Russia was working on behalf of Donald Trump.”
“The electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations.”
Trump, busy interviewing and naming nominees for his administration in advance of his inauguration on Jan. 20, responded only briefly to the controversy.
“Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!” he said on social media.
“Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before the election?”
The CIA, which is headed by John Brennan, said Russia “quite” clearly meddled but offered no details.
Brennan participated in a meeting with Muslim law students facilitated by the Islamic Society of North America, a group designated as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing cast in U.S. history. He has declared himself a “citizen of the world” and insists the U.S. government should never engage in “profiling” in pursuit of national security. He also defined “jihad” as an act “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal” and said it should not be used to describe the activities of terrorists. He also defended the terror group Hezbollah as “members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization.”
It was Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who conceded Trump won “fair and square.”
But he also wasn’t able to let it go.
“We’re 5 wks from Inauguration & the President Elect is completely unhinged,” he blasted out on his social media connections. “The electoral college must do what it was designed for.”
The exact benefit to Russia to having Trump in the White House has not yet been explained, either.
In fact, one of the most influential and highly quoted Russian intellectuals, professor Valery Solovei, says Russian officials will have to face an abrupt new reality on Jan. 20 when Trump is inaugurated.
In a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, he said: “Trump is not Obama. In the foreign policy domain, the Obama administration was the weakest postwar American administration. Trump cannot allow himself such weakness. Therefore, though the situation opens some new possibilities before us, it carries much larger risks.
“The new American administration will react from a position of strength, and we can never win in this competition. The Soviet Union had lost it, and Russia is much weaker than the Soviet Union. Our (Russia vs. U.S.) potentials are grossly disproportionate, have no illusions about it.”
It was former Reagan official Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy and former assistant secretary of defense, who called the CIA’s evidence hearsay.
“What the public knows is very limited. It really comes down to some press accounts based on unnamed sources in the CIA, people talking about briefings they had from CIA or FBI or others,” Gaffney said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Frank Gaffney: