|Connections have existed for a while now.|
As improbable as it first seemed, there's a true scandal in the making. We don't need a smoking gun or a quid pro quo, but the effect is the same. Nixon didn't have to "order" the DNC break-in at the Watergate, but he sure was up to his eyeballs in dirty tricks. The same may certainly be said for Putin. For example, from TPM:
Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin's increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there's quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.Read all of Josh Marshall's post. He's been ahead of the curve here.
Wikileaks has been a meddling force, too, with apparent anti-Clinton motives:
WASHINGTON — Six weeks before the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published an archive of hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the Democratic convention, the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, foreshadowed the release — and made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.
Mr. Assange’s remarks in a June 12 interview underscored that for all the drama of the discord that the disclosures have sown among supporters of Bernie Sanders — and of the unproven speculation that the Russian government provided the hacked data to WikiLeaks in order to help Donald J. Trump — the disclosures are also the latest chapter in the long-running tale of Mr. Assange’s battles with the Obama administration.
Now we hear that both cyber experts and the U.S. government feel growing confidence that Putin-connected hackers are responsible for the original hack of the DNC computers.In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” which he pronounced “great.” He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe.
Many U.S. officials and cyber security experts in and out of government are convinced that state-sponsored Russian hackers are the ones who stole 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee and leaked them to the public just in time to disrupt the Democrats' national convention in Philadelphia.A final piece of this puzzle is the stream of pro-Putin and, frankly, pro-Russian remarks by Donald Trump, implying that he'd not necessarily come to the aid of NATO members threatened by Putin:
Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee, appeared to make U.S. military support for NATO member states conditional on whether those states have met their financial obligations to the bloc, which has served as the cornerstone of global security after World War II. The comments, in an interview with The New York Times, represent a marked departure from the security policy of every presidential nominee from either of the two major parties since NATO’s founding in 1949.Read the article I linked to in the Atlantic or the NYTimes' interview linked in the excerpt. They're both pretty freaky.
We're in a new realm here. Many of us in the sanity-based universe had reasons to fear a Trump presidency. But now we've got reasons to fear the implications of an apparent Putin-Assange-Trump cyber alliance. Does America want a future controlled by this unfathomable partnership? And is it even legal? The word may be passé, but this is freaky.
This story may grow, or it may not. I'm betting on its growing. Already the Trump camp is under increasing fire to release Trump's tax returns. Before Putingate (okay, maybe it won't be called that), it was problematic. After, not releasing them can cause a continued uproar. Stay tuned.