2016 Presidential elections in the US saw Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. Everything known by now is a mound of evidence towards the fact that Russia meddled with the US presidential election of 2016. The most relevant supporting statement for Russia’s meddling has been made by George W. Bush, the former President of the US.
Mr Bush said that there is “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 presidential election. And, “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election,” he added at a conference in Abu Dhabi, according to The Independent. Bush added, “Putin is a brilliant tactician who has the capacity to detect weakness and exploit it. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. The reason he does is because the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves [are] to regain Soviet hegemony.”
US Intelligence On Russia’s meddling
As per US Intelligence Officials, before the 2016 Presidential elections Russian hackers made repeated strives to get into the major US institutions which also included White House and the State Department. Hackers used a simple strategy of sending barrage of phishing emails with the hope that someone would click. One of them who did click on the email was the chairman of Hillary Clinton – John Podesta. Apparently, as per investigation, Podesta aide spotted the potentially perilous email and further forwarded it to the technician.
Security experts deduce that two Kremlin-connected groups were behind the hacks. One from the FSB spy agency and the other from Russian military intelligence. Amazingly, they appear to have acted independently. Russian hackers attempted to get into the computer systems of local elections officials around the country. According to Federal Agencies, the attempts never infiltrated vote tallying systems. But federal government advised the local officials to redouble efforts to secure their systems.
President Barack Obama personally faced up Putin at the September G20 Summit in China, where other high-level contacts took place as well. However, before the election, the overall response of the Obama team was restrained due to concerns about the whole thing appearing as politics being played, or because they presumed Clinton to be the certain winner of the election.
Back home, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned state-level elections officials to protect voting-related systems from cyber intrusions. In reports, the US intelligence agencies claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed actions to interfere with the election. Russia’s meddling actions included cyber-theft of private data, placement of publicity against particular candidates, and an overall effort to sabotage public faith in the U.S. democratic process.
Although there is bipartisan evidence, yet Trump perpetually contends that Russia’s meddling in 2016 US Presidential elections is a fake news, a made-up story. New cyber tools have come in like Facebook allowing sharing options in the hands of its users. This made things easier and consequently sharing of political information online is now widespread, cheap and easy to implement. On investigation, the executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter concluded that Russia’s meddling did use these online platforms seeking to influence the election.
Trump claims that Russia’s meddling is a dupe and ‘Lie of the Year for 2017’. For, the nation’s commander-in-chief refuses to acknowledge a threat to the US democracy. This all makes it all the more difficult to address the problem. However, Trump could have addressed the interference that happened, while still standing by the legitimacy of his election and his presidency. But, he firmly claims that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia, which is an implicit admission that Russia did act in some capacity. Then, he returns back to denying to the fact that Russia’s meddling even happened.
What did Putin have against Clinton?
Putin had particular enmity towards Hillary Clinton, the democratic nominee who had served as secretary of state. He holds Clinton liable for fueling mass protests against his jurisdiction in late 2011 and early 2012. In addition, an intelligence assessment said that Putin also “holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.”
Also, Russia was concerned about its standing after disputes with the former Soviet republic of Georgia. International sanctions resulted from Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, which Putin wanted to see lifted. Technology companies spent the year 2017 investigating how much activity from Russian interests unfolded on Facebook and Twitter. And, Facebook reckoned that 126 million people were served Russia-influenced content during the two-year period before the election.
Some ads were explicitly anti-Clinton. One illustrated a picture of Jesus Christ boxing Hillary Clinton with devil’s horns along with the caption ” ‘Like’ if you want Jesus to win!”