Monday, November 14, 2016

Clinton campaign wants FBI to confirm that Russia is interfering in election on behalf of Trump

(November 3) The Clinton campaign is demanding that the FBI confirm accusations that Donald Trump, the Republican candidate is secretly supported by Russia.

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Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat representing Nevada, even claimed that the FBI is withholding secret "explosive" evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, according to antiwar.com:
FBI officials familiar with their investigations into the allegations, which the Clinton campaign started publicizing around the Democratic National Convention, say they’ve turned up nothing to connect Trump and Russia, leading FBI Director James Comey to decide against making any statements to that effect.
This election the FBI and its director James Comey are constantly in the hot seat with Trump complaining about the FBI not laying any charges against Clinton after the earlier investigation of her emails, and now the Clinton campaign and others complaining that he released info about further Clinton emails just before the election. It is reasonably clear that Russia prefers Trump to Clinton as Trump has indicated he wants to improve relations with Russia but Clinton is likely to take a hard line along with many U.S. NATO allies. However, Russia realizes it will have to deal with whomever wins and also that too much overt support for a favored candidate could work against the candidate being elected. The U.S. is known to have intervened extensively after the overthrow of the Ukrainian president and in determining who should be the next leader. They were successful in getting the outcome they desired.
The Ukrainian finance minister Natalie Jaresko was a U.S. citizen who had to be made a Ukrainian citizen so she could take up her post. The Russians are unlikely to be able to match this type of intervention.
However, the Clinton campaign is avidly playing the Russia-Trump connection. Clinton has even called Trump a "puppet" of Putin during the final presidential debate. If he were a puppet you would think that Trump would make many less self-destructive statements and would not take positions that lose him votes among women and minority groups. However, a top Clinton aide urged the FBI to disclose all it knows about ties between Donald Trump and Russia, and accused the agency of staying quiet about Trump's relationship with Russia while announcing an inquiry into Clinton's emails. But Reuters reports:The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a preliminary inquiry in recent months into allegations that Trump or his associates might have had questionable dealings with Russian people or businesses, but found no evidence to warrant opening a full investigation, according to sources familiar with the matter. The agency has not publicly discussed the probe.Robby Mook, Clinton campaign manager wondered out loud why the FBI did not release information about the Russia inquiries: "If you're in the business of releasing information about investigations on presidential candidates, release everything you have on Donald Trump. Release the information on his connections to the Russians."
Slate magazine recently reported that a group of computer scientists had been alarmed by records showing thousands of apparent connection attempts between an email server operated on behalf of the Trump organizations and computers inside Alfa Bank a Russian company. Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks said the server had been used to send out hotel marketing material and had been dormant for years. U.S. cyber security company FireEye had been hired by Alpha Bank to examine the records to see if there were any relationship with Trump, hacking or infection. So far it has found no emails or other links.
The New York Times reports that the FBI has not found any evidence linking Trump to Russia:Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.There are all sorts of questions about whether the hacking into the Democratic emails was done by Russia or someone acting on behalf of Russia. See this article for a start. CNBC claimed Comey had argued against accusing Russia of interfering in the election due to the timing, and he did not want the accusation coming from his agency.
As the appended video makes clear Putin has said some favorable things about Trump and vice versa. Trump has business relationships with Russia as do some of his campaign staff. The true relationship between Trump and Russia is largely irrelevant. What is important is to convince the electorate that Trump is in cahoots with Putin and that this is what matters. Media emphasis on the issue is crucial to counter the possible negative effect on the Hillary campaign of the newly discovered emails.


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