From Our Future
Putin's an oligarch. So is Trump.
Putin runs a kleptocracy. So does Trump.
Both Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson have done business in Russia.
So why is money the one aspect of the Russia scandal people seem to talk about the least? Perhaps because it's the one area the U.S. intelligence community avoided when it accused Russia of helping Trump win the election.
The Russia story we've been hearing raised the intelligence community's popularity among Democrats and offered a convenient distraction from other national security stories. While many people were fixated on it, for example, this New York Times story by Charlie Savage was largely overlooked:
"In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government's 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections ... far more officials will be searching through raw data."- Advertisement -
Here are 11 principles progressives can follow when they hear about (or talk about) Trump and Russia.
1. Don't get ahead of the facts.
I don't know yet whether Russia's government interfered in the U.S. presidential election or not. Neither do you.
The recent report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) bears that organization's impressive seal. The eagle represents American sovereignty, we're told, while the arrows represent war and the olive branch represents peace. But the report itself is highly politicized and woefully short on evidence.
That's why Americans should support a thorough and nonpartisan investigation into Russia's possible role in the election. Reps. Reps. Elijah Cummings and Eric Swalwell have proposed an independent commission. It's hard to imagine why anyone, regardless of their politics or preconceptions, wouldn't support that idea.
In the meantime, Democrats may want to hit the pause button before getting too far ahead of the known facts. When people place partisanship above informed discourse, things can get very ugly very fast.
Case in point: Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, Robby Mook, wrote recently about what he called "the complex infrastructure that Russia built to infect public discourse with false or stolen information." It "isn't going anywhere," Mook wrote, and "can be unleashed at any time, on any issue, domestic or international."
But the link Mook provides doesn't describe anything of the kind. It goes to a Buzzfeed article headlined How Teens in the Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News.