The Trump Administration might be trying to cover up Russian election hacking by prosecuting a U.S. Citizen.
The NSA detected a cyberattack against a U.S. voter registration software supplier in August 2016; and an attempt to send malware to 122 election officials’ accounts days before the presidential election, The Intercept reported on Monday June 5. The Agency’s experts concluded that Russian military intelligence (GRU) was behind the attack and the emails.
The Intercept story was based on a report leaked to the website by intelligence Reality Winner, The New York Times reported. Winner was arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act on the day the story broke.
The GRU’s goal was to get control of election computers, the NSA concluded. To achieve that the Russians sent spear-phishing emails containing malware to election officials. The email was designed to look like it came from a software supplier.
Trump Hypocrisy in Action
The most disturbing aspect of this incident is that Winner might be sent to federal prison for calling Trump’s election victory into question. Violators of the Espionage Act can be sentenced to up to 10 years if they are convicted.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said in a press release. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”
Under Rosenstein’s criteria President Trump himself should be arrested and prosecuted. Trump disclosed classified intelligence to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on May 10, The Jewish Press reported. The intelligence Trump exposed might put the life of an Israeli spy inside ISIS in jeopardy, Matt Olsen the former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center told ABC News.
Trump’s behavior makes it clear that the administration does not care about national security or protecting classified information. The only reason Winner is facing charges is to frighten intelligence officials who might divulge information that can damage Trump to the media.
Rosenstein’s statement and Trump’s determination to “stop leaks” are the height of hypocrisy. During last year’s Presidential campaign Trump gloated when Russian hackers exposed confidential emails from the Democratic National Committee to the media. Trump even asked the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and expose them.
How to Hold Trump Accountable
There is only one way that Donald J. Trump and his cohorts can be held accountable for their outrageous behavior. Large Democratic majorities must be elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
Once in control of Congress, Democrats can launch an immediate investigation of the White House, the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization and wealthy Trump supporters such as Peter Thiel and Sheldon Adelson. Congressional committees would be able to subpoena Trump’s tax returns and The Apprentice Tapes and enter them into the Congressional record. That would make the tapes and returns public record any journalist or media outlet would be able to safely publicize.
Congressional Republicans will never hold Trump and his henchmen accountable for the damage they have done to national security and the election process. Nor will they stop the abuse of federal law enforcement to punish Trump critics.
The American people deserve to know the truth about Russian election hacking. The only way to learn it will be through a full investigation of the Trump White House by Congress. That will never occur as long as the Republicans are in control of Congress. This makes the 2018 midterm election one of the most critical votes in our nation’s history.