A quick note
I swear this isn’t replacing a normal weekly email, but just a quick observation. In my last update, I sort of said I cared less about the Post Office freakout and more about the DNI’s statement about Russian and Chinese election interference:
It’s for that reason that I think one of the bigger and less-talked about stories of the past few weeks has been the Director of National Intelligence’s (DNI) mediocre press release on foreign interference in the 2020 election. The press release makes it clear that Russia is up to its old tricks, but it conflates that (illegal) campaign - which includes things like hacking and manipulation of social media - with China’s preference for Joe Biden.
Nation states make statements all the time about who their preferred election winner would be, which is part of normal international politicking. There is a stark difference between that and Russia’s attempts to manipulate voters. The DNI’s conflation of the two is an ominous sign for November, because it suggests heavily that even the intelligence community is becoming politicized by Trump. I presently think it’s more worrisome than Trump slashing the tires of Post Office trucks, although that could change. For one, imagine if there is interference by the Russians and Biden wins. What Trump’s DNI has shown us is that he could be willing to suggest that China assisted Joe Biden, which Trump will then tweet about incessantly and enrage his supporters.
It sprung back into my head after reading Mitch McConnell’s statement on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s (SSCI) report on Russia’s interference in 2016. He said:
‘Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign actors want to influence our politics, interfere with our elections, and stoke fear and division among Americans. Our adversaries have different interests, but they share one overarching goal. They want to undermine Americans’ confidence in our institutions and our system of government.’
More conflation of the Chinese and Iranians with the Russians, which is a recipe for downplaying Russia’s (active) attempts to illegally influence the election. McConnell also cutely says that “like Mueller” the Senate found “no collusion,” which I think Mueller would take exception to and probably the Senate report itself, which states pretty early on:
While the GRU [basically Russia’s CIA] and Wikileaks were releasing hacked documents, the Trump Campaign sought to maximize the impact of those leaks to aid Trump’s electoral prospects. Staff on the Trump Campaign sought advance notice about WikiLeaks releases, created messaging strategies to promote and share the materials in anticipation of and following their release, and encouraged further leaks. The Trump Campaign publicly undermined the attribution of the hack-and-leak campaign to Russia and was indifferent to whether it and Wikileaks were furthering a Russian election interference effort.
Will be back later in the week. In the meantime, flex on your haters, get that paper.