By Juven Jacob
The Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Rod Rosenstein announced 12 charges against Russian intelligence officials of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the campaign of Secretary Hillary Clinton. These new charges brings the total number of indictments to 35 with 5 guilty pleas.
The indictments charge Russia with conspiring to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Astonishingly enough, Donald Trump continues to call the special counsel's investigation a witch hunt. Something he has often spouted without any merit. Even more troubling is the fact that the president has left America completely vulnerable to another attack as he has refused to order our intelligence agencies to protect us. This is a direct intrusion from a hostile foreign power to subvert our democracy. Russia is neither a friend nor competitor but an adversary determined to weaken America from within.
The indictment states that on the same day that Trump encouraged Russia to hack Clinton's emails, the Russian hackers launched their first strike against Clinton's servers that housed her emails.
Think about that. The candidate for president was encouraging a foreign power to hack his opponent's emails and release them publicly for political gain. Just a month prior to this, Trump's son, Donald Jr, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman, Paul Manafort (which is now in jail), had a meeting at Trump Tower with Russians who they believed were offering damaging information about Clinton. Prior to the meeting, Donald Jr. had received an email stating that the meeting was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
In fact, there was almost a coordinated attempt to use the hacked emails between Russia and Trump. Candidate Trump mentioned WikiLeaks and the emails 141 times during the final month of the election. This is no witch hunt and it is no game show. The President of United States refuses to protect America from its most powerful adversary. And instead of the republicans in congress stepping up for the country, they have decided to participate in the destruction of our institutions by attacking the FBI and career public servants who have spent decades as intelligence officials combating Russia. The republicans have abdicated their responsibility as a co-equal branch of government and have turned their backs on America for the sake of tax cuts and a conservative supreme court.
We must also recall two important dates, the Russians released hacked emails on July 22, 2016, just days before the Democratic National Convention and again on October 7, 2016, the same day the Access Hollywood tape came out where Trump brags about sexual assault. This is no coincidence. It is a sophisticated, coordinated attack on one American political party and candidate for president, Hillary Clinton to help Donald Trump win the election.
In what I consider the most damaging part of the indictment; is the revelation that Russia coordinated with a yet to be named American. The conspirator (Russia) was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. They write "thank u for writing back...did you find anything interesting in the docs I posted? Please tell me if I can help u anyhow...it would be a great pleasure to me."
What we are witnessing is the slow motion fraying of our American democracy. With one political party sitting silently as the fraying escalates and the other political party powerless to stop it. Donald Trump's constant attacks on the FBI, the courts, the press, and the rule of law have slowly chipped away at the public's trust in our most sacred institutions. The fact that the sitting president of the United States might be compromised by Russia and is our greatest national security threat is almost too mind boggling to write but that is where we are.
Impeachment is a political act. It would put the country through a rigorous partisan debate and would continue to tear us apart. I continue to believe the best avenue to remove Donald Trump is at the ballot box. Defeated not by our representatives in congress but at the hands of the American people. It will finally close a chapter on one of the darkest periods in American history.
The warning lights are blinking red. Our fate is in our hands should we choose to wield our collective power and vote.