With the DNC Leaks landing in public hands thanks to Wikileaks ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, many are pointing fingers and crying foul at their contents. The emails do not paint a confident picture for those who supported Bernie Sanders heading into this week, but the response from the DNC itself really paints an odd view that might have people reliving the Cold War.
It’s been murmured since the emails started hitting the internet, but Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook made Russia’s involvement in the leak an official campaign position on CNN’s State of The Union:
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and I think that’s disturbing,” he said…
Mook pointed to Trump’s position on NATO — that he wouldn’t necessarily assist allies who haven’t contributed enough financially to the organization — and argued that position would aid Russia in Eastern Europe, as well. “I think when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture, and voters need to reflect on that,” Mook said.
Reports indicated that Russian hackers did steal details on the DNC’s strategy against Donald Trump back in June, but many are viewing this stance on the current leak as questionable. Donald Trump Jr. was also on State of The Union and provided the Trump campaign response on the spot:
“It just goes to show you their exact moral compass. I mean they’ll say anything to be able to win this. This is time and time again, lie after lie,” Trump Jr. told Tapper. “It’s disgusting. It’s so phony…
“These lies and the perpetuating of nonsense to try to gain some political capital is outrageous and he should be ashamed of himself. If a Republican did that, they’d be calling for people to bring out the electric chair.”
Many are quick to point out that the contents of the emails aren’t entirely world-shaking, despite not painting the party in a positive light. At the same time, there are many who want to point out the connection between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, with Slate stating Trump is “like the Kremlin’s favored candidates, only more so” and New York Magazine calling out the hallmarks of a possible Trump and Putin connection — including Trump campaign head Paul Manafort’s connections to Putin in Ukraine.
If it wasn’t the case before, you can expect the Russia connection to become a major talking point now that the Clinton campaign has floated it out there. Even prominent conservatives are sounding alarm bells, including Bill Kristol.
Honest and patriotic Republicans who support Trump, or are tempted to do so, should review some of the publicly available evidence. Trump’s business seems to be heavily dependent on Russian investment. His top campaign advisor, Paul Manafort, was the advisor to the Putin-backed stooge Viktor Yanukovich, and has deep ties to the Putin apparat. One of Trump’s national security advisors, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, was paid to give a speech at a Russian propaganda celebration and was seated next to Putin.
Politicians who are currently supporting Trump should withdraw their unconditional support “until,” as Mr. Trump might say, “we can figure out what’s going on.” One thing that would help us figure out what’s going on is if Trump—and Manafort—released their tax returns. They of course haven’t done so. Indeed, it’s striking that neither seems even to have put his current business interests in any kind of blind trust. So we don’t know how direct and close a financial relationship Trump and Manafort have with the Putin regime.
If Trump and Manafort don’t act to allay these concerns by releasing their tax returns (or in other ways), wouldn’t it be advisable for a Republican member of Congress to lead an urgent investigation into whether Putin is interfering in the current American election? Trump and Manafort may be Putin’s chumps. Will other Republicans sit by as the whole Republican party becomes Putin’s party?
It’s official: the Trump/Russia genie is out of the bottle.