Because America is so far through the Looking Glass right now that Alice is living in fear of being moved on like a bitch, on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a public hearing on its investigation into just how far Russia meddled with 2016 election. Not surprisingly, the evidence overwhelmingly points to a whole fucking lot. With testimonies ranging from cyber-security experts to Marco Rubio — who claims to have been targeted by Russian-based hackers as recently as yesterday — there is a mountain of information to digest. And while it seems like a daunting task to know where to even begin sifting through it all, becoming a smarter electorate is a guaranteed buffer against walking Facebook Like-first even further into Idiocracy. Which, make no mistake, we did. So here are some highlights to point you in the right direction:
Clint Watts Is The Man To Watch
During his testimony, former FBI agent Clint Watts did not fuck around when it came to answering how and why we’re in this mess. From Think Progress:
Asked by Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) about why Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to make more of an effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election than in years past, Watts, who is now a fellow at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said, “the answer is very simple and it’s what nobody is really saying in this room.”
“Which is, part of the reason active measures have worked in this U.S. election is because the Commander-in-Chief [Trump] has used Russian active measuresat times, against his opponents,” Watts continued.
According to Watts, Trump, who accuses someone of “fake news” at least five times a day, repeatedly used actual fake news during the campaign and all-too-conveniently parroted specific stories that Russian cybernauts were disseminating across social media. We’ve gone beyond mere coincidence, and Watts makes it clear that it’s not hard to follow the bread crumbs:
“There have been more dead Russians in the past three months that are tied to this investigation, who have assets in banks all over world,” he said. “They are dropping dead even in Western countries.”
Watts also expressed concern that the Trump administration won’t ultimately protect people like him.
“I’m going to walk out of here today, I’m going to be cyberattacked, I’m going to be discredited by trolls. My biggest fear isn’t being on Putin’s hit list or psychological warfare targeting me — I’ve been doing that for two years,” he said. “My biggest concern right now is I don’t know what the American stance is on Russia, on who is going to take care of me. After years in the Army and the FBI, working in the intel community — today, I’m going to walk out of here and ain’t nobody going to be covering my back. I’m going to be on my own, and so that’s very disconcerting.”
Further Reading: Russia’s Info War on the U.S. Started in 2014
Republicans And Democrats Are On The Same Page
In a move that surely signals Armageddon, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) showed a unified front and made it a point to demonstrate a stark contrast to whatever fresh hell Devin Nunes is traipsing through the House Intelligence Committee right now. The Washingon Post reports:
“We’re all targets of a sophisticated and capable adversary,” Burr said in his opening statement, “and we must engage in a whole-of-government approach to combat Russian active measures.”
It’s notable that that statement is coming from Burr, a Republican, given that the Trump administration has spent months arguing that although Russia may have tried to interfere in the election, that interference didn’t have much of an effect on the results.
“We simply must — and we will — get this right,” Warner said. “The chairman and I agree it is vitally important that we do this as a credible, bipartisan and transparent manner as possible. As was said yesterday at our press conference, Chairman Burr and I trust each other.”
The senators then put a finer point on their cooperation, which became a recurring theme throughout the hearing:
“Candidly, while it helped one candidate this time, they are not favoring one party over another,” Warner said, “and, consequently, should be a concern for all of us.”
Long story short, the overall objective of Russian interference wasn’t just to put Trump in the White House. It was to throw our entire government into chaos, and Burr and Warner put it in language that will get any self-serving politician in line:
No One Is Safe During The 2018 Midterms
During his opening remarks, Warner put it all on the line. Via Alternet:
“There is nothing to stop them from doing this again in 2018, for those of you who are up (for re-election), or in 2020, as Americans again go back to the polls,” Warner said.
In theory, this would also put Trump at risk in 2020 — should he make it that far — but for some odd reason, the president doesn’t seem that concerned.
The senator wondered why the president didn’t seem especially eager to examine what had happened — which raised his suspicions about Trump.
“I would hope that the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened, but I have to say editorially that the president’s recent conduct, with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wiretapping and his inappropriate and unjustified attacks on America’s hardworking intelligence professionals, does give me grave concern,” Warner said.
The Shit Is Hitting The Fan
As of this post, Devin Nunes’ adventure on the White House grounds came crashing down Thursday afternoon when The New York Times reported that the sources behind Nunes’ odd press conference were, in fact, White House aides passing him classified information. On top of that, GOP strategist Rich Wilson claims this has Steve Bannon’s hands all over it.
To explode things even further, The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Michael Flynn requested immunity in exchange for testifying on Trump’s ties to Russia.
The time for denying RussiaGate is over.