Via the Daily Rushbo, it’s fair question. Limbaugh acknowledges the overwhelming consensus among cyberexperts that Russia hacked the DNC, but that fact alone doesn’t prove motive. If you’re the Kremlin and you’re playing the long game, he wonders, wouldn’t you be better off helping Hillary become president and then using what you have on her to extort her?
A question to answer a question: What makes you think they don’t have dirt on Trump and the RNC? The FSB is one of the world’s great cyberespionage shops. If they don’t already have closely held info on Trump’s business dealings, the contents of his inner circle’s emails, and whatever goodies are on the RNC’s servers, it’s only because they haven’t sought it yet. But maybe they do have it. And maybe what they have is juicier and more conducive to blackmail than what they have on Hillary. There’s a weird assumption floating around that because Russia did successfully hack the DNC and it’s now publicly known, that means they either didn’t try to hack other political actors or they tried and failed. I don’t know why anyone thinks that. They were poking around inside the DNC’s servers for a year. They’re probably reading Reince Priebus’s “ur awesome” texts to Trump right now. Given the timing of the DNC leak, they’re obviously picking their spots on when to show their hand.
There are better explanations for why they’d target Hillary now, though, than the possibility of them blackmailing Trump too. One: Putin has a grudge against her for questioning the legitimacy of Russia’s elections in 2011. The ultimate revenge for that would be engineering a humiliating defeat for her in an election of her own.
When mass protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin erupted in Moscow in December 2011, Putin made clear who he thought was really behind them: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
With the protesters accusing Putin of having rigged recent elections, the Russian leader pointed an angry finger at Clinton, who had issued a statement sharply critical of the voting results. “She said they were dishonest and unfair,” Putin fumed in public remarks, saying that Clinton gave “a signal” to demonstrators working “with the support of the U.S. State Department” to undermine his power. “We need to safeguard ourselves from this interference in our internal affairs,” Putin declared…
Former U.S. officials who worked on Russia policy with Clinton say that Putin was personally stung by Clinton’s December 2011 condemnation of Russia’s parliamentary elections, and had his anger communicated directly to President Barack Obama. They say Putin and his advisers are also keenly aware that, even as she executed Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, Clinton took a harder line toward Moscow than others in the administration. And they say Putin sees Clinton as a forceful proponent of “regime change” policies that the Russian leader considers a grave threat to his own survival.
Payback’s a bitch. Which brings us to a second, related explanation: If you’re Putin, it’s easier to take revenge on Hillary Clinton now, as a candidate, than it’ll be when she’s president and in charge of the U.S. military. America’s cyberespionage shop has plenty on him and his cronies too, I’m sure; I wonder, in fact, whether Obama hasn’t had it quietly made known to Moscow already that further leaks to try to sink the Democratic nominee will warrant retaliation. Putin doesn’t know what the U.S. knows about him and, as importantly, he doesn’t know how far President Hillary might go in using that against him given that she’s already hostile to him. Doxxing the DNC is a crime; blackmailing the president is an act of war and might be treated as such. Why would he want to make a high-stakes play like that when the other person on the ballot this fall is a NATO-skeptic nationalist who’s chirping at his rallies about alliances with Russia? What President Hillary might be compelled to do via brinksmanship and extortion President Trump might be willing to do as a matter of personal preference. It’d be idiotic to wait to attack her until she has the nuclear codes.
Asked about Russia’s role in the DNC leak, RNC chief Reince Priebus told Hugh Hewitt, “The Russians didn’t write the emails. And neither did whoever else, the Wikileaks people didn’t write the emails. The DNC wrote those emails. So they have to answer for what those emails say.” That’s true, and he’s in a tough spot spin-wise here insofar as he doesn’t want to denounce something that’s hugely helpful to the Republican nominee — even though it involves apparent foreign interference in a U.S. presidential election by the Kremlin. I don’t know what he’s going to say, though, if and when the FSB finally starts dishing Republican dirt. The Russians won’t have written the e-mails in that case either. All’s fair in love and cyberwar, I guess?