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Hacking, Leaks and Genuine Conspiracies

Don Rose 28 March 2017 2 Comments

FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency provided a lot of useful information last Monday, first giving the lie to Donald Trump’s tweeted accusations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower.

The wiretap” charge was later changed to some vague sort of surveillance, but both officials said there was no evidence of such, meaning Trump clearly lied–the deepest pile of doo-doo he stepped in since claiming Obama was born in Kenya.

The pair also confirmed that an 8-months investigation is under way regarding Russia’s hacking the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta’s emails, which were handed off to Wikileaks for publication to weaken Hillary Clinton and aid Trump. The investigation seeks to determine whether or which Trump associates colluded with Russia. Recent reports suggest “more than circumstantial” evidence of collusion has been found.

leaks

The likely targets include the disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former campaign chair Paul Manafort and advisors Roger Stone and Carter Page–possibly Attorney General Jeff Sessions or even Trump, but no names were named.

The one question they could not answer was what impact the hacking and revelations had on Clinton’s defeat. That’s because the question cannot be answered quantifiably–given that no voting apparatus was hacked.

The revelations, however, clearly played a part in adding to the mistrust of Clinton for real or imagined crimes. They were embarrassments that gave support to Comey’s accusations of sloppy handling of information and credibility to Trump’s generalized “Crooked Hillary” tag. In my opinion they were not the primary cause of her defeat–that was the Comey rant–but heightened the generalized miasma around her campaign.

The good news is that if any collusion is determined, proving actual impact is not necessary because, I am advised by a former federal prosecutor, the collusion conspiracy itself is a federal crime, whether or not it resulted in an election loss.

According to a Congressional Research Service study by specialist Charles Doyle, “In some respects, conspiracy is similar to attempt, to solicitation, and to aiding and abetting. Unlike aiding and abetting, however, it does not require commission of the underlying offense. Unlike attempt and solicitation, conspiracy does not merge with the substantive offense; a conspirator may be punished for both.”

In other words, planning a federal crime, under conspiracy law, is sufficient to convict even if the crime never actually takes place.

Supporting the idea of conspiracy is the quid pro quo: Trump never speaks ill of Vladimir Putin; he supported Brexit, which weakens the European Union, and attacked NATO, both of which help Putin, as did Trump’s insulting Angela Merkel. Further, his aides removed and watered down to near-zero a plank from the Republican Platform that criticized Putin’s incursions into Ukraine and annexing Crimea. Nice payback.

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is serving time in part for conspiring to sell Obama’s senate seat, though the sale never took place. If Comey & Co. connect the dots and prove conspiracy to commit election fraud with a foreign power, Blago may have some company.

**
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

2 Comments »

  • George Smith said:

    So Mr. Rose, WHO conducted the “overhear” of Flynn’s conversations? Who ordered it? Why were the Clinton’s allowed to facilitate the sale of 120 Million Dollars worth of Uranium to a Russian controlled Company? Why was Bill Clinton given $500,000 for a Moscow speech shortly thereafter? Your Saul Alinsky’s underpinnings are showing….

  • Stifle Yourself said:

    Listening to all of the anti-Trump complainers is akin to someone pounding on the same piano key over and over again.

    We will be eating the “From Russia with Love” narrative for breakfast over and over again because the Hillary apologists (one of the worst candidates in American history in terms of charisma) have nothing else.

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