The Russians Made Us Do It

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Whenever it came to anything that he knew he shouldn’t have done, the comedian Flip Wilson used to say: “The Devil made me do it.”

For the Democrats, it is the Russians who made us do it.

More exactly, it is the Russians who made the Democrats lose on November 8.

For a variety of reasons, it is particularly odd that the left, of all people, would take to peddling this notion that Donald J. Trump won, or was helped to win, by Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.  In short, far from serving as an indictment of Trump, this narrative reflects poorly on the Democrats.

First, if the Russians hacked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, as the Democrats swear, it is because they were able to do so.  By now, everyone knows that Clinton—again, while Secretary of State—dispatched tens of thousands of emails, including and especially some that had been marked “classified,” over an unsecured, private server.

Clinton compromised the security of every American man, woman, and child.  As FBI Director James Comey confirmed, Barack Obama’s State Department was “extremely careless” through its handling of “very sensitive, highly classified information.”  In telling the world that a hostile foreign power actually succeeded in accessing this material, the Dems underscore just how vulnerable they rendered the country.

Second, if the Russians hacked Clinton’s emails—her thousands and thousands of emails—then this would, presumably, create an interest on their part to see to it that she was elected.  No pun intended, but Clinton’s tsunami of emails would give a whole new meaning to blackmail. Vladimir Putin would be in the proverbial driver’s seat, hanging Clinton’s emails over her head at every turn.

Third, if there is evidence of Russian tinkering with the election, this in itself would not establish that the hackers were interested in securing Trump’s election.  Given that the hacked information came from the Democrats, this alone would make it eminently more plausible to suspect that the Russians would interfere in order to secure a Clinton victory, for it is the Democrats whose secrets the Russians (or anyone else) could release.

Fourth, if the Russians interfered with the election, then while they would have an interest invested in seeing Clinton elected, they would indeed also have an interest invested in seeing Trump elected.  The reason for this is obvious:

The Russians no more want war with the United States than (most) Americans want war with them.  Trump is among a few voices on the contemporary American political scene who has repeatedly expressed a desire for peaceful relations with Russia.  A third term of Obama via Hillary Clinton promised to exacerbate tensions between the nuclear giants of America and Russia.

A Trump presidency, in glaring contrast, portends peace.

The Russia-Made-Us-Do-It narrative, even considered on its own terms, makes the Democrats look worse, not better.

What’s worse of all, however, is that there is no evidence at all to support this tale.

Glenn Greenwald just may be the last of the true investigative journalists.  Though he is a left-leaning writer whose work has been regularly featured in The Guardian and Salon, Greenwald is a genuinely principled journalist whose commitment to exposing corruption in government transcends whatever ideological prejudices he may hold.

The latest instance of corruption on which Greenwald has set his sights is what he himself refers to as the “McCarthyite” conduct of the Democrats.  On Friday, December 9, the Washington Post announced that the CIA confirmed that the Russians intervened in America’s latest election in order to hand Trump a victory.

Well, actually, WaPo revealed that anonymous sources confirmed that the CIA confirmed this. To be more specific, anonymous sources confirmed that the CIA confirmed in an informal, secret session, that Russia intervened in America’s election so as to hand it to Trump.

As Greenwald summarizes it, “the key claims are based exclusively on the unverified assertions of anonymous officials, who in turn are disseminating their own claims about what the CIA purportedly believes, all based on evidence that remains completely secret.”  He calls this “classic American journalism of the worst sort [.]”

What’s crucial for Americans (and others) to realize is that not only is “none of the actual evidence for these claims…disclosed,” but even “the CIA’s ‘secret assessment’ itself remains concealed.”

Though the reader has to dig down deeply to get to it, Greenwald notes that even the Post’s own article mentions that the anonymous sources upon which it (allegedly) relies report conflicts between the members of the CIA over questions that still haven’t been resolved.

Most importantly, the same article states that intelligence agencies have no intelligence that the Kremlin issued orders to hackers or leakers.

Read this again: Its sensationalistic headline and shoddy journalism aside, and even though it buries this far into its propagandistic piece, WaPo itself has to report that there is zero evidence that the Kremlin, i.e. Putin and/or “the Russians,” had anything whatsoever to do with the charge that this fake news outlet is making on behalf of its fellow partisans in the Democrat Party.

Greenwald writes: “The Democrats—still eager to make sense of their election loss and to find causes for it other than themselves—immediately declared these anonymous claims about what the CIA believes to be true, and, with a somewhat sweet, religious-type faith, treated these anonymous assertions as proof of what they wanted to believe all along: that Vladimir Putin was rooting for Donald Trump to win and Hillary Clinton to lose and used nefarious means to ensure that outcome.”

Greenwald adds that it is of no surprise, given the shameless “McCarthyism” in which they’ve engaged throughout this election season, that the Democrats “are now venerating unverified, anonymous CIA leaks as sacred [.]”

To be sure, if Russia or anyone else in any way compromised the integrity of the electoral process, this would be both very bad and something that Americans have a right to know. And it may have happened. However, the point here is that the Democrats, despite having whistled this tune from nearly the time that Trump received the GOP presidential nomination to the present, have never had evidence, much less proof, to substantiate the charge that they have been making against Russia.

If anything, there was evidence against it.  For starters, the Obama White House verified that neither additional cyber activity nor plans for Russia’s involvement in the election had been detected.  Moreover, the FBI, which originally conducted an investigation into this matter, came up empty.

It isn’t a desire for truth that drives the Democrats who are busy pushing this fiction.  Greenwald calls the WaPo coverage of it “classic American journalism of the worst sort.”  We can just as easily say that Democrats, being the sorest of sore losers, are guilty of classic American politics of the worst sort.

Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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