The “evidence” that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic Party targets ahead of the 2016 US election appears as flimsy as ever, as officials start to let out what appears to have been the cornerstone of their entire narrative, that Russia was happy Trump won the election.
Officials conceded today that the important evidence that let to their “conclusion” only came after the election was already finished, by way of explaining why they didn’t make such accusations before the vote, and the Washington Post report quotes senior officials as saying a major part of that conclusion was intercepted communications showing Russia was happy with the outcome.
Which seems like it would’ve gone without saying, as Hillary Clinton made hostility toward Russia and accusing them of plotting against her the centerpiece of her campaign, labeling Trump a “puppet” and vowing military retaliation against Russia for it once she won. By contrast, Trump advocated a rapprochement with Russia, so it seems like it’s a given Russia would be happy the person who wasn’t going to attack them won.
It also wasn’t exactly a secret, with Russian officials publicly praising the election as the American voters “rejecting war” in favor of a chance at diplomacy. While all this was going on, officials saw the obvious Russian reaction as supporting the conclusion they wanted to reach months prior.
While Clinton’s hostility toward Russia does predate the hacking allegations, it became a much bigger deal, and a major part of her campaign after the DNC hack, which only added to Russia’s concerns that a Clinton Administration would be picking fights with them. The sigh of relief when that didn’t end up happening is so far the only “evidence” we’ve been given, even though Russia doubtless would be glad of a Clinton loss whether they interfered in the vote or not.