We've had tons of response to recent commentary on the new phase of investigations that turns the tables on Mueller, Brennan and the FBI. Here's a particularly well-thought-out letter from reader George M that raises some interesting points:
It would make sense if in addition to the “how did this mess get started” and instead of the “let’s get Trump” threads, there could be some focus on what the Russians actually did. Until we come to grips with that, we can’t counter them.
If there were efforts to break into the mechanisms of the election, we need to harden those systems. If they sent people to staff or advise a campaign (as the Obama people did in an Israeli election), we might be able to do something about that (although there are great risks if some authority gets into vetting who works on a campaign). If all they did was contribute to the public discussion of issues and candidates (which virtually any nation — including us — does all the time (witness Obama and Brexit), then there may be nothing we can or should do. But as long as the discussion is centered on Trump we aren’t going to deal with the real issue.
From the Gov:
Thanks, George, for the perspective. It seems more and more as though the “Russia” investigation was, from the start, far less about Russia than it was about getting Trump. (You are right, by the way, to point out Obama’s efforts to interfere with Netanyahu’s re-election in Israel.) Who needs Russia to mess with our elections when we’ve got people inside our own bureaucracy to do it themselves?
My main concern with election tampering has less to do with any one foreign government or influence than it does with the vulnerability of online systems. There’s really no way to stay a step ahead of hackers, who could be Russia or China, a special interest group, foreign troublemakers, political enemies, or simply a bored kid at home who likes a challenge. We should go back to official paper ballots. Not the “punch” kind; no “hanging chads” open to interpretation. Yes, voter ID. And more care needs to be taken with absentee ballots. Mail-in balloting should not be permitted --- way too much potential for fraud. If Democrats really cared about election interference, they’d be talking about this.
And from Robert R:
Why the media blackout regarding Uranium One? Fox News, Judicial Watch, et al, including your newsletter, are totally silent about this treasonous sale of 20 percent of America's uranium supply source. Patriotic Americans want an investigation. We do not want to forget about it. We need a spokesperson like yourself to keep this continuously before the public and our Attorney General.
You say you read these comments and I have no reason to doubt you. Therefore, I think it appropriate to respectfully ask you for an answer to this very pertinent question.
From the Gov:
I’m printing your letter just to let you know that Uranium One has not been forgotten –- not by a long shot. We’ve presented a great deal of information about it in the newsletter and will continue to write about it as we know more. The Mueller team, of course, declined to examine Hillary’s shady connections with Russia at all –- which makes sense only if you know the composition of the Mueller team. But now that we’re in a different phase with some fresh eyes, those connections need to be put under an electron microscope. For all we know, that’s going on right now. If we don’t yet have the answers, it’s because many details are surely classified, a situation we hope Trump will rectify at some point. At any rate, we’ll bring you what we know as soon as we know it.
Finally, this from John G:
Of course Russia attempted to interfere in our elections. And, in turn, we've attempted to interfere in the elections of many other countries, including Russia. This is standard operating procedure for the international community. But exactly how you interfere is the point. If a country spends money to support a candidate that might be well disposed toward them, than I think that is fair game. But if that interference goes beyond that and, say, peddles disinformation with the goal of overthrowing an election (or a country), then that is a bid too far and the offending country must be called out on it.
In this current case, the Democrats have much to answer for because of the Obama Administration's meddling in several elections around the world, notably Israel, Honduras, Macedonia and Libya, to name a few. As long as we are not very clean in this regard, we should try not to make such a partisan issue of it. And we should recognize the reality of international relations for what they are.
From the Gov:
The Democrats know good and well what that reality is. Again, the real idea behind “Russia Russia Russia!!” appears to have been to make a target of Trump. And they will certainly never call out Obama for doing the same kind of thing they’re accusing Russia of doing. That would be rather inconveeeeeeeenient.
It should be mentioned, though, that in America, we have election laws that prohibit a candidate from taking foreign money or from paying foreign officials for something of value to a campaign. When we connect the dots, we get a picture of Hillary and the DNC doing that very thing, indirectly, by paying Perkins Coie, who paid Fusion GPS, who paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to help with the “dossier.” Russian and/or Ukrainian informants may also have been paid, and these may have been very close to Vladimir Putin. From what we can tell, HILLARY was the one who had paid campaign assistance from foreigners.
Thanks for writing, John --- we always appreciate a little realism around here.