Trump Administration Should Be Investigating and Retaliating Against Russian Hacking, Not Just Adjusting Sanctions

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  • David Vance
Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Free and fair elections are the keystone of our democracy and Americans expect their President to defend those elections. Today’s move by the Trump Administration to adjust sanctions against Russia may have been routine, but it is very troubling that this is the first action toward Russia in the wake of overwhelming evidence presented by the Director of National Intelligence on Russian hacking of U.S. elections which must be fully investigated and punished. President Trump should be utilizing the bully pulpit to ensure a Select Committee is formed to conduct a thorough and nonpolitical investigation of this unprecedented incursion into U.S. elections by a foreign power.

That hacking extended far beyond the presidential race and influenced congressional races in at least a half dozen states. The consensus of the intelligence communities was that, “Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment.”

The 2016 Elections were clearly influenced by the hacking conducted by Russia in what amounts to an electronic Watergate break-in. This was an overtly hostile act and demands a full investigation by a Select Committee.
If the hacks were conducted by a guy on a couch in New Jersey he would be investigated by the FBI, charged with a felony and sent to jail with a felony conviction. Another country hacking into our election system should be held to the same standard and yet we are turning a blind eye to these criminal acts.

When Miami-based U.S. political operative Jeff Garcia used a cyber attack to engage in absentee mail ballot fraud on behalf of his client Congressman Joe Garcia, he was investigated, convicted of a felony and sent to jail.  The Russian sponsored cyber attacks on our voter registration data bases and the other intrusions are real election crimes and the nation state that engaged in them should be held accountable.

The integrity of our elections was assaulted by a foreign power and President Trump must put the good of the country before any personal political concerns. President Trump must put aside any worry that an investigation could cast a further shadow on his own election and get to the bottom of this attack on our nation. Our democracy is precious and must be defended and Americans must know that their President will safeguard it.