When is the last time the American people have seen an incoming U.S. president take a stand against the ultra-powerful CIA and then act as the defense attorney of an adversarial nation, in this case, Russia, and its leader Putin? I can't recall that ever happening but, strange as it may be, it's happening right now.
Something is not passing the smell test and it just might be the budding relationship that has developed in recent times between Trump and his Russian friends. This is quite troubling in that every time the CIA or the FBI makes a statement about this investigation about Russia's intervention in America's election process Trump immediately comes out to raise an objection to the accusations.
The Guardian recently reported: "Donald Trump said on Sunday that a CIA conclusion that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election was 'ridiculous', and that he did not believe that the Kremlin had tried to bolster his candidacy." Further, that "the CIA's assessment was just another excuse for his stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton last month."
Trump may have made a huge mistake when he decided to disparage the CIA for its accusations against Russia. From CNN: "President-elect Donald Trump's transition team slammed the CIA Friday, following reports the agency has concluded that Russia intervened in the election to help him win."
The NY Times reported that Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, had divulged that the Russian government had maintained contact with members of Trump's campaign during the election process. Ryabkov said, ""Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage."
Later, probably because he was forced by his Russian bosses to back off that statement, he said that the contacts were actually made with U.S. politicians and supporters of Trump and not his campaign staff. You can be sure the CIA is going to very closely follow up on that specific report.
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot! Trump will find that discrediting the CIA's conclusions may come back to "bite" him. But that's what Mr. Trump does to anyone who dares to question anything he says or does. However, the CIA is a very powerful organization run by deeply embedded officials; as such you should want this kind of organization on your side and working for you, rather than angered.
As he is prone to do in so many situations Trump has now placed himself in the middle of a massive political storm as U.S. intelligence agencies dig deeper and deeper into this issue. Instead of lashing out at the CIA he should have let things evolve and let the CIA and the FBI come up with the evidence to prove their contentions.
Maybe they can and maybe they can't so we'll just have to wait and see. Perhaps Trump reacted so strongly and quickly because he has something to hide and he's trying to prevent further investigations. That's never going to work.
These allegations by the CIA may largely stem from the fact that several of Trump's close associates are known to have close ties with the Russians directly or indirectly. One is Paul Mantefort, who once was in charge of Trump's campaign and who worked closely with pro-Russian operatives in Ukraine. The other is Rex Tillerson, Trump's choice for Secretary of State who has had a great deal of interaction with Russia, including meetings with Putin himself.
Then there is Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, who also has had very close business ties within Russia for some time. He will certainly come under scrutiny by those conducting these investigations. There are numerous stories emerging about the strong belief that the Russian government has for years been working to cultivate a relationship with Trump.
The CIA is said to have been looking into the connections between Trump and his various advisers and Russia for some time now. So when it suddenly announces that it has some definite evidence in this matter it's highly likely that they actually have something concrete. Where there's smoke there often is fire.
What about the Republican Party; does it seem to be alarmed and upset about this possible Russian intervention? Well, except for John McCain and Lindsey Graham, its leadership and most all its members are remaining silent and not pressing for a full investigation. It's becoming crystal clear that Trump has quickly managed to remove the fangs of the Republican Party, and the vast majority of its Congressional members.
One thing for sure; from now until Trump's inauguration the CIA and the FBI will be burning the midnight oil looking for more evidence of some kind of political collusion between the Russians and Trump and/or his advisers. And if it's out there somewhere in the cyber world chances are that they are going to find it.
If an in depth investigation determines that there was a covert plan between the Trump campaign and the Russians to use highly sophisticated methods to infiltrate and manipulate election results to make certain that Trump would win, then all hell is going to break loose and Mr. Trump will be in big time trouble.
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