The recently released book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes reveals that Hillary Clinton’s two trusted advisers, John Podesta and Robby Mook, conspired the day after the election to blame Russia for their campaign’s failure. The authors write:
That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
It appears that rather than looking internally at why their campaign/candidate lost, they decided to collude with the media to blame Russia.
Since then, the media and Democrats have accused President Trump’s campaign of colluding with the Russian government to sabotage America’s election system ultimately affecting the outcome of the election. Let’s look at this one piece at a time.
When was the Russian hacking accusation first launched? In June of 2016 the Washington Post reported that Russian governmental hackers gained access to DNC data. The next day a private cyber security firm whom the DNC hired to investigate this matter released a blog that confirmed the Washington Post story. Nearly a month later the FBI confirmed that it had opened an investigation into the matter. The most important thing to note here is that the DNC used a private firm to investigate the alleged hacking and they never allowed the FBI access to their servers. FBI director James Comey admitted in an open Congressional hearing that his agency has never accessed the DNC server. Instead, the FBI relied solely on the private firm for evidence.
All the Russian hacking accusations are based on one blog post released by a private firm in California. To my knowledge, the FBI and other agencies have built the bulk of their investigation around this one blog post.
Assuming that this private firm’s assessment is accurate and it was the Russians who hacked the DNC, how did President Trump and his campaign get in the mix? On December 9, 2016 the Washington Post published a story claiming that the CIA had concluded that Russia hacked the DNC to help Mr. Trump win the election. Do you notice who is perpetuating the narrative? The Washington Post.
Once again, the FBI has not independently confirmed who hacked the DNC yet the intelligence community is able to conclude the motive of the alleged hackers? Where is the CIA getting its information?
Let’s err on the side of respect for the FBI and CIA and grant legitimacy to their claim that Russia hacked the DNC. Why are these agencies bringing up President Trump’s name in their reports? Clearly, President Trump and his associates were pulled into this investigation in an attempt to discredit their reputation and ultimately undermine President Trump’s election victory. They want you to believe that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the election.
Proponents of the alleged Russia collusion story will say that former campaign advisers such as Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Carter Page have connections to the Russian government. It is true that each of these gentlemen gave speeches in Russia, had business dealings in Russia and at times dealt with Russian officials for various reasons. These gentlemen also had dealing with other countries. This is typical for advisers and private businessmen who work for various governments to represent their interests in the U.S. and other countries.
According to a story at investors.com:
There may be no Clinton Foundation office in Moscow or St. Petersburg, but it is not for lack of trying. Bill Clinton received half a million dollars in 2010 for a speech he gave in Moscow, paid by a Russian firm, Renaissance Capital, that has ties to Russian intelligence. The Clinton Foundation took money from Russian officials and oligarchs, including Victor Kekselberg, a Putin confidant. The Foundation also received millions of dollars from Uranium One, which was sold to the Russian government in 2010, giving Russia control of 20% of the uranium deposits in the U.S. — the sale required approval from Hillary Clinton's State Department. What's more, at least some of these donations weren't disclosed. ‘Ian Telfer, the head of the Russian government's uranium company, Uranium One, made four foreign donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons; despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all such donors…’
The article goes on to say,
In March — that is, long after the election was over — it was revealed that Mrs. Clinton's campaign chairman had failed to disclose the receipt of 75,000 shares of stock from a Kremlin-financed company — Joule Unlimited — for which he served as director from 2010 to 2014, when he joined the Obama White House in 2014. Podesta apparently had a large chunk of the shares transferred to "Leonidio Holdings, a brand-new entity he incorporated only on Dec. 20, 2013, about 10 days before he entered the White House…
Lastly, it says,
Mr. Podesta's brother, who has close personal and business relations with Mrs. Clinton, was ‘key lobbyist on behalf of Sberbank, according to Senate lobbying disclosure forms. His firm received more than $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’…The bank was ‘seeking to end one of the Obama administration's economic sanctions against that country.’ The report goes on to note that ‘Podesta's efforts were a key part of under-the-radar lobbying during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign led mainly by veteran Democratic strategists to remove sanctions against Sberbank and VTB Capital, Russia's second largest bank.’ Mr. Obama imposed the sanctions following the Russian seizure of the Crimean region of Ukraine in 2014…In March, Mr. Putin's spokesman said that Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met with members of Mrs. Clinton's campaign several times while she was running for president in 2016. Further, the campaign never disclosed the number or nature of these secret meetings.
It appears as though the Clinton campaign colluded with the Russian government rather than the Trump campaign.
Is it accurate to say the Russians hacked the DNC in July of 2015? Yes, if you trust a blog post from a private cyber security firm in California. Is it accurate to say that President Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to win the election? No, because evidence of such does not exist.