US intelligence officials are being quoted in the Washington Post today as confirming a major investigation ongoing “looking very closely at” allegations, which appear to primarily be driven by top Democratic Party officials, that Russia might be trying to “influence” the US election.
The allegations date back as far as the Democratic National Convention, during which party officials tried to change the focus on WikiLeaks releases of hacked emails by claiming the Russians did it as a plot to get Republican nominee Donald Trump elected.
This talking point has since been at the fore in the campaign ever since, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV) asking the FBI for a formal investigation, claiming that there is “extensive” evidence of a Russian plot to falsify election results.
Interestingly, while officials confirmed that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is now heading such an investigation, they also conceded that the evidence really isn’t there, saying that they not only lack “definitive proof” of any Russian tampering, but lack evidence of any Russian intent to even attempt to do so.
The comments from the officials center primarily on sheer supposition, that if Russia wanted to intervene in the vote, and if they actually attempted to do so, it might not so much be to change the results as to raise doubts about the vote’s credibility in general.
Congressional officials, and their aides, keep talking about this plot as though it’s an actual thing, forming an echo chamber in which they can claim “everyone knows” the plot is real, because they keep telling one another that.
Ironically, this is going to end up meaning that doubts will be raised about the vote, because of the “Russian plot,” even if the plot itself doesn’t actually exist, and if nothing was ever attempted. It also likely means the probe outcome will be less a matter of evidence, but much like the probe itself more a question of political expediency.