Cortney wrote earlier about the Department of Justice announced 13 indictments of Russian nationals on charges that they worked to interfere in the 2016 elections:
The 13 defendants, he explained, worked with false identification and posed as politically active Americans advocating for and against specific candidates. They purchased political advertisements on social media, staged political rallies, organized protests both for and against president-elect Donald Trump, and pretended to be grassroots activists, while recruiting Americans.
A couple things about the indictments: one is that this is not proof that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. Second, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that Americans who interacted with these agents were doing it unknowingly. Third, these Russian operations did not alter the outcome of the 2016 election. Also, it seems both sides were targeted. Besides Hillary Clinton, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) were also targets of this operation.
This whole saga just brings back the 2012 election, and the fact that Mitt Romney was right about Russia. Democrats and Barack Obama mocked the Republican nominee for suggesting that Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe, saying the Cold War is over, and that the 1980s called and they want their foreign policy back (via NTK Network):
The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama scolded his opponent in one debate. “When it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s.”
The president then attacked Romney for various alleged foreign policy inconsistencies.
Six years later, with the Department of Justice confirming that Russians launched massive election interference campaigns in 2016, it appears that Romney was right.
In the debate, Obama was more focused on hitting al-Qaeda, a non-state actor. While a threat to the U.S., they do not pose an existential one; Russia does due to its nuclear arsenal, among other things.
Now, we have this extensive operation being busted up for trying to meddle in the 2016 election. This was known to be true. Even Obama was made aware of this in August of 2016, and he dropped the ball. In other words, par for the course for Obama’s foreign policy. He choked. Where it gets hazy is when folks—usually liberals, suggest there was collusion between the Trump team and Russia, there was hacking, and that the election results were altered. There is zero evidence to back any of those claims.
This isn’t anything new, folks. The U.S. has done its fair share of election meddling. In fact, we’ve done so 81 times between 1946-2000. Espionage and hacking are common tools in 21st century geopolitics. Heck, even former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says Russia tries to hack us all the time.
Is this good? No. But again, some seem to be treating cyber warfare as some new venture. We should have discussions on how to prevent such meddling. That’s not a debate, but I know some are going to see this as a leaky faucet to the wider Trump-Russia collusion theory that’s rapidly falling apart due to zero evidence.
Deputy AG Rosenstein said in the presser today, “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the [Russians'] conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election."
The evidence to suggest the Trump campaign and the Kremlin join forces to tilt an election remains absent—and it’ll probably remain that way because it looks like they didn’t.
Yet, concerning whether or not Russia is out greatest geopolitical foe. It seems the way. It was probably always that way. Under the weakness of Obama, they've become more aggressive, annexing Crimea. So, Mitt rest soundly--you've been vindicated.