One of the worst fights a President (or incoming President) can pick, is one with his intelligence community. Donald Trump, reacting to stories about the CIA’s claims of Russian interference in the presidential election, decided to blast the CIA, taking the news as a political attack, as opposed to showing concern for the Russian government hacking into US based systems.
The report says Russia engaged in the hacking as a means of assisting Trump in the election:
According to one unnamed senior U.S. official, it was the “consensus view” of the intelligence committee that Russia’s goal was to get Trump elected, the Post reported.
Trump’s response is astonishing:
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the transition said in a terse, unsigned statement.
“The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”
Using liberal talking points to dismiss the CIA’s findings before taking office is a dangerous precedent. He will be taking office while ISIS is still a threat and when information gathered by the intelligence community will be critical to the decisions he makes. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s choice to head the CIA, now has a big mess to clean up the moment he takes over the role as CIA Director.
As for Russia’s intent, I spoke briefly with somebody more versed on these matters than I, and this person said they doubt agents at the CIA concluded anything. This person believes it was a political figure at the CIA who reached the conclusion Russia wanted Trump to win.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that people at the Kremlin believed like most individuals in the United States did, that Hillary Clinton would win the election. The leaked DNC emails and leaked Podesta emails hurt Hillary only in the sense that if she had prevailed, she would be damaged goods coming into office. Taking all the shenanigans with the DNC, the Clinton Foundation, and her email scandal, once the smokescreen of ‘First Woman President’ cleared, the reality of all the problems she faced would show themselves.
All that said, Trump as the leader of the Republican Party, should not be spitting in the face of the CIA. He should have gathered together Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, call a press conference and say one of the first orders of business for the new Congress would to be to hold hearings to investigate Russian hacking and to see how far it went. If Trump doesn’t do it, and Congress fails to do so, they’ll be just as culpable as Trump for allowing Russia to attempt to cause chaos in our Presidential election and get away with it.
Trump’s most important role as Commander-In-Chief of the United States of America is to defend the country. By smearing the CIA, Trump immediately weakened our ability to publicly push back against countries like Russia and China, who are no doubt continuing to attempt (and succeed) in hacking government systems, providing them with information that puts the country at risk.