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(Photo by Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

EXCLUSIVE: HACKING DEMOCRACY


By Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima, and Adam Entous
June 23, 2017

arly last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling


restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from
the CIA, it carried eyes only instructions that its contents be
shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three
senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep


inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir
Putins direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the
U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putins specific instructions


on the operations audacious objectives defeat or at least damage the
Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald
Trump.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were
increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services
had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as
well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had
opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump
associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the
Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

[Graphic:Themainfindings,highlighted]

But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for


managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russias
intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence.

The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of
the Presidents Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted reports
distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it
be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks,
subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as
planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.

It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the
CIAs view. Only in the administrations final weeks in office did it tell the
public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in
August that Putin was working to elect Trump.

[PutinorderedefforttounderminefaithinU.S.electionandhelpTrump,
reportsays]

Over that five-month interval, the Obama administration secretly debated


dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks
on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might
embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could crater the Russian
economy.

Inside Obamas secret struggle to punish Russia for Putins Embed Share
attack on American democracy
Play Video 10:43

The Washington Post's national security reporters unveil the deep divisions inside the Obama White House over
how to respond to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Whitney Leaming, Osman Malik/The
Washington Post)

But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package


combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other
issues expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian
compounds with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even
those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic.

Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that


authorized planting cyber weapons in Russias infrastructure, the digital
equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found
itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama
approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when
Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to
use the capability.

In political terms, Russias interference was the crime of the century, an


unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American
democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the
Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putins involvement.
And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled
the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.
Those closest to Obama defend the administrations response to Russias
meddling. They note that by August it was too late to prevent the transfer to
WikiLeaks and other groups of the troves of emails that would spill out in
the ensuing months. They believe that a series of warnings including one
that Obama delivered to Putin in September prompted Moscow to
abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting
systems.

Denis McDonough , who served as Obamas chief of staff, said that the
administration regarded Russias interference as an attack on the heart of
our system.

We set out from a first-order principle that required us to defend the


integrity of the vote, McDonough said in an interview. Importantly, we
did that. Its also important to establish what happened and what they
attempted to do so as to ensure that we take the steps necessary to stop it
from happening again.

But other administration officials look back on the Russia period with
remorse.

It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend, said


a former senior Obama administration official involved in White House
deliberations on Russia. I feel like we sort of choked.
The post-election period has been dominated by the overlapping
investigations into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia before
the election and whether the president sought to obstruct the FBI probe
afterward. That spectacle has obscured the magnitude of Moscows attempt
to hijack a precious and now vulnerable-seeming American democratic
process.

Beset by allegations of hidden ties between his campaign and Russia,


Trump has shown no inclination to revisit the matter and has denied any
collusion or obstruction on his part. As a result, the expulsions and modest
sanctions announced by Obama on Dec.29 continue to stand as the United
States most forceful response.

The punishment did not fit the crime, said Michael McFaul, who served
as U.S. ambassador to Russia for the Obama administration from 2012 to
2014. Russia violated our sovereignty, meddling in one of our most sacred
acts as a democracy electing our president. The Kremlin should have
paid a much higher price for that attack. And U.S. policymakers now
both in the White House and Congress should consider new actions to
deter future Russian interventions.
The Senate this month passed a bill that would impose additional election-
and Ukraine-related sanctions on Moscow and limit Trumps ability to lift
them. The measure requires House approval, however, and Trumps
signature.

This account of the Obama administrations response to Russias


interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and
former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the
White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and
U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of
anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue.

The White House, the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the
Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

The CIA breakthrough came at a stage of the presidential campaign when


Trump had secured the GOP nomination but was still regarded as a distant
long shot. Clinton held comfortable leads in major polls, and Obama
expected that he would be transferring power to someone who had served
in his Cabinet.

The intelligence on Putin was extraordinary on multiple levels, including as


a feat of espionage.

For spy agencies, gaining insights into the intentions of foreign leaders is
among the highest priorities. But Putin is a remarkably elusive target. A
former KGB officer, he takes extreme precautions to guard against
surveillance, rarely communicating by phone or computer, always running
sensitive state business from deep within the confines of the Kremlin.
[VladimirPutin:FromtheKGBtopresidentofRussia]

The Washington Post is withholding some details of the intelligence at the


request of the U.S. government.

In early August, Brennan alerted senior White House officials to the


Putin intelligence, making a call to deputy national security adviser
Avril Haines and pulling national security adviser Susan E. Rice
aside after a meeting before briefing Obama along with Rice, Haines and
McDonough in the Oval Office.

Officials described the presidents reaction as grave. Obama was deeply


concerned and wanted as much information as fast as possible, a former
official said. He wanted the entire intelligence community all over this.

Then-CIA Director John Brennan testies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June
2016. (Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington
Post)

Concerns about Russian interference had gathered throughout the


summer.
Russia experts had begun to see a troubling pattern of propaganda in which
fictitious news stories, assumed to be generated by Moscow, proliferated
across social-media platforms.

Officials at the State Department and FBI became alarmed by an unusual


spike in requests from Russia for temporary visas for officials with
technical skills seeking permission to enter the United States for short-term
assignments at Russian facilities. At the FBIs behest, the State Department
delayed approving the visas until after the election.

Meanwhile, the FBI was tracking a flurry of hacking activity against U.S.
political parties, think tanks and other targets. Russia had gained entry to
DNC systems in the summer of 2015 and spring of 2016, but the breaches
did not become public until they were disclosed in a June 2016 report by
The Post.

[RussiangovernmenthackerspenetratedDNC]

Even after the late-July WikiLeaks dump, which came on the eve of the
Democratic convention and led to the resignation of Rep. Debbie
Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as the DNCs chairwoman, U.S. intelligence
officials continued to express uncertainty about who was behind the hacks
or why they were carried out.

At a public security conference in Aspen, Colo., in late July, Director of


National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. noted that Russia had a long
history of meddling in American elections but that U.S. spy agencies were
not ready to make the call on attribution for what was happening in 2016.

We dont know enough . . . to ascribe motivation, Clapper said. Was this


just to stir up trouble or was this ultimately to try to influence an election?

[Graphic:Themainfindings,highlighted]
Brennan convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of
several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.

The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest
of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure
agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating
agencies.

They worked exclusively for two groups of customers, officials said. The
first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The
second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who
took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts
to collect more intelligence on Russia.

The secrecy extended into the White House.

Rice , Haines and White House homeland-security adviser Lisa


Monaco convened meetings in the Situation Room to weigh the mounting
evidence of Russian interference and generate options for how to respond.
At first, only four senior security officials were allowed to attend:
Brennan , Clapper , Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI
Director James B. Comey. Aides ordinarily allowed entry as plus-ones
were barred.
Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others.
Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries including John F. Kerry at the State
Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon arrived in envelopes
that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were
withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.

Throughout his presidency, Obamas approach to national security


challenges was deliberate and cautious. He came into office seeking to end
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was loath to act without support from
allies overseas and firm political footing at home. He was drawn only
reluctantly into foreign crises, such as the civil war in Syria, that presented
no clear exit for the United States.

Obamas approach often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Dont


make things worse. As brazen as the Russian attacks on the election
seemed, Obama and his top advisers feared that things could get far worse.

They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an


escalation from Putin. Moscows meddling to that point was seen as deeply
concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far
more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on
voting systems before and on Election Day.

They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political
interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was
predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared
providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russias efforts to discredit the
outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

Before departing for an August vacation to Marthas Vineyard, Obama


instructed aides to pursue ways to deter Moscow and proceed along three
main paths: Get a high-confidence assessment from U.S. intelligence
agencies on Russias role and intent; shore up any vulnerabilities in state-
run election systems; and seek bipartisan support from congressional
leaders for a statement condemning Moscow and urging states to accept
federal help.
President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the White House in December.
(Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

The administration encountered obstacles at every turn.

Despite the intelligence the CIA had produced, other agencies were slower
to endorse a conclusion that Putin was personally directing the operation
and wanted to help Trump. It was definitely compelling, but it was not
definitive, said one senior administration official. We needed more.

Some of the most critical technical intelligence on Russia came from


another country, officials said. Because of the source of the material, the
NSA was reluctant to view it with high confidence.

Brennan moved swiftly to schedule private briefings with congressional


leaders. But getting appointments with certain Republicans proved
difficult, officials said, and it was not until after Labor Day that Brennan
had reached all members of the Gang of Eight the majority and
minority leaders of both houses and the chairmen and ranking Democrats
on the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Jeh Johnson, the homeland-security secretary, was responsible for finding


out whether the government could quickly shore up the security of the
nations archaic patchwork of voting systems. He floated the idea of
designating state mechanisms critical infrastructure, a label that would
have entitled states to receive priority in federal cybersecurity assistance,
putting them on a par with U.S. defense contractors and financial
networks.

On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state


officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance.
The reaction ranged from neutral to negative, Johnson said in
congressional testimony Wednesday.

Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to
denounce Johnsons proposal as an assault on state rights. I think it was a
politically calculated move by the previous administration, Kemp said in a
recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a
campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. I dont necessarily believe that, he
said.

Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping
that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective.

In early September, Johnson , Comey and Monaco arrived on


Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members
of Congress, including the leadership of both parties.

The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble.

The Dems were, Hey, we have to tell the public, recalled one participant.
But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election
was under attack would further Russias aim of sapping confidence in the
system.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials


said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the
White Houses claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to
comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting.

Key Democrats were stunned by the GOP response and exasperated that
the White House seemed willing to let Republican opposition block any
pre-election move.
On Sept. 22, two California Democrats Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep.
Adam B. Schiff did what they couldnt get the White House to do. They
issued a statement making clear that they had learned from intelligence
briefings that Russia was directing a campaign to undermine the election,
but they stopped short of saying to what end.

A week later, McConnell and other congressional leaders issued a cautious


statement that encouraged state election officials to ensure their networks
were secure from attack. The release made no mention of Russia and
emphasized that the lawmakers would oppose any effort by the federal
government to encroach on the states authorities.

When U.S. spy agencies reached unanimous agreement in late September


that the interference was a Russian operation directed by Putin, Obama
directed spy chiefs to prepare a public statement summarizing the
intelligence in broad strokes.

With Obama still determined to avoid any appearance of politics, the


statement would not carry his signature.

On Oct.7, the administration offered its first public comment on Russias


active measures, in a three-paragraph statement issued by Johnson
and Clapper . Comey had initially agreed to attach his name, as well,
officials said, but changed his mind at the last minute, saying that it was too
close to the election for the bureau to be involved.

The U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian government


directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and
institutions, including from U.S. political organizations, the statement
said. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that
only Russias senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

Early drafts accused Putin by name, but the reference was removed out of
concern that it might endanger intelligence sources and methods.

The statement was issued around 3:30 p.m., timed for maximum media
coverage. Instead, it was quickly drowned out. At 4 p.m., The Post
published a story about crude comments Trump had made about women
that were captured on an Access Hollywood tape. Half an hour later,
WikiLeaks published its first batch of emails stolen from Clinton campaign
chairman John Podesta.

To some, Obamas determination to avoid politicizing the Russia issue had


the opposite effect: It meant that he allowed politics to shape his
administrations response to what some believed should have been treated
purely as a national security threat.

Schiff said that the administrations justifications for inaction often left him
with a sense of cognitive dissonance.

The administration doesnt need congressional support to issue a


statement of attribution or impose sanctions, Schiff said in a recent
interview. He said many groups inadvertently abetted Russias campaign,
including Republicans who refused to confront Moscow and media
organizations that eagerly mined the troves of hacked emails.
Where Democrats need to take responsibility, Schiff said, is that we
failed to persuade the country why they should care that a foreign power is
meddling in our affairs.

The Situation Room is actually a complex of secure spaces in the basement


level of the West Wing. A video feed from the main room courses through
some National Security Council offices, allowing senior aides sitting at their
desks to see but not hear when meetings are underway.

As the Russia-related sessions with Cabinet members began in August, the


video feed was shut off. The last time that had happened on a sustained
basis, officials said, was in the spring of 2011 during the run-up to the U.S.
Special Operations raid on bin Ladens compound in Pakistan.

The blacked-out screens were seen as an ominous sign among lower-level


White House officials who were largely kept in the dark about the Russia
deliberations even as they were tasked with generating options for
retaliation against Moscow.

Much of that work was led by the Cyber Response Group, an NSC unit with
representatives from the CIA, NSA, State Department and Pentagon.

The early options they discussed were ambitious. They looked at sectorwide
economic sanctions and cyberattacks that would take Russian networks
temporarily offline. One official informally suggested though never
formally proposed moving a U.S. naval carrier group into the Baltic Sea
as a symbol of resolve.
What those lower-level officials did not know was that the principals and
their deputies had by late September all but ruled out any pre-election
retaliation against Moscow. They feared that any action would be seen as
political and that Putin, motivated by a seething resentment of Clinton, was
prepared to go beyond fake news and email dumps.

[TherootsofthehostilitybetweenPutinandClinton]

The FBI had detected suspected Russian attempts to penetrate election


systems in 21 states, and at least one senior White House official assumed
that Moscow would try all 50, officials said. Some officials believed the
attempts were meant to be detected to unnerve the Americans. The
patchwork nature of the United States 3,000 or so voting jurisdictions
would make it hard for Russia to swing the outcome, but Moscow could still
sow chaos.

We turned to other scenarios the Russians might attempt, said Michael


Daniel, who was cybersecurity coordinator at the White House, such as
disrupting the voter rolls, deleting every 10th voter [from registries] or
flipping two digits in everybodys address.
The Moscow International Business Center in Moscow. (Photo by Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg
News; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

The White House also worried that they had not yet seen the worst of
Russias campaign. WikiLeaks and DCLeaks, a website set up in June 2016
by hackers believed to be Russian operatives, already had troves of emails.
But U.S. officials feared that Russia had more explosive material or was
willing to fabricate it.

Our primary interest in August, September and October was to prevent


them from doing the max they could do, said a senior administration
official. We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election,
regardless of outcome, for punitive measures.

The assumption that Clinton would win contributed to the lack of urgency.

Instead, the administration issued a series of warnings.


Brennan delivered the first on Aug.4 in a blunt phone call with
Alexander Bortnikov , the director of the FSB, Russias powerful security
service.

A month later, Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world


leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama
told Putin that we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,
according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin
responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of
interfering in Russias internal affairs.

In a subsequent news conference, Obama alluded to the exchange and


issued a veiled threat. Were moving into a new era here where a number
of countries have significant capacities, he said. Frankly, weve got more
capacity than anybody both offensively and defensively.

There were at least two other warnings.

On Oct.7, the day that the Clapper-Johnson statement was released,


Rice summoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to the White
House and handed him a message to relay to Putin.
Then, on Oct. 31, the administration delivered a final pre-election message
via a secure channel to Moscow originally created to avert a nuclear
exchange. The message noted that the United States had detected malicious
activity, originating from servers in Russia, targeting U.S. election systems
and warned that meddling would be regarded as unacceptable interference.
Russia confirmed the next day that it had received the message but replied
only after the election through the same channel, denying the accusation.

As Election Day approached, proponents of taking action against Russia


made final, futile appeals to Obamas top aides: McDonough , Rice
and Haines . Because their offices were part of a suite of spaces in the
West Wing, securing their support on any national security issue came to
be known as moving the suite.

One of the last to try before the election was Kerry. Often perceived as
reluctant to confront Russia, in part to preserve his attempts to negotiate a
Syria peace deal, Kerry was at critical moments one of the leading hawks.

In October, Kerrys top aides had produced an action memo that included
a package of retaliatory measures including economic sanctions. Knowing
the White House was not willing to act before the election, the plan called
for the measures to be announced almost immediately after votes had been
securely cast and counted.

Kerry signed the memo and urged the White House to convene a principals
meeting to discuss the plan, officials said. The response was basically, Not
now, one official said.

Election Day arrived without penalty for Moscow.


White House Chief of Sta Denis McDonough in 2014. (Photo by Brendan
Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)

Despite the dire warnings, there were no meltdowns in the United States
voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no evidence of hacking-related fraud,
crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote counts.

The outcome itself, however, was a shock.

Suddenly, Obama faced a successor who had praised WikiLeaks and


prodded Moscow to steal even more Clinton emails, while dismissing the
idea that Russia was any more responsible for the election assault than
somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.
The White House was mortified and shocked, said a former
administration official. From national security people there was a sense of
immediate introspection, of, Wow, did we mishandle this.

At first, there was no outward sign of new resolve.

After his failed pre-election bid, Kerry returned with a fallback proposal,
calling for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate Russian
interference and make recommendations on how to protect future
elections.

The panel would be modeled on the commission that investigated the Sept.
11, 2001, attacks, producing a definitive report and making
recommendations that led to the overhaul of U.S. intelligence agencies.

The idea was that if you think doing something aggressive is too
inflammatory, then we shouldnt have a problem getting to the truth about
what happened, said an administration official familiar with the Kerry
plan. Trump was expected to oppose such a plan, but setting it in motion
before he was sworn in would make it harder and uglier politically for
him to block.

Supporters confidence was buoyed when McDonough signaled that he


planned to tabledrop the proposal at the next NSC meeting, one that
would be chaired by Obama. Kerry was overseas and participated by
videoconference.

To some, the tabledrop term has a tactical connotation beyond the


obvious. It is sometimes used as a means of securing approval of an idea by
introducing it before opponents have a chance to form counterarguments.

We thought this was a good sign, a former State Department official said.
But as soon as McDonough introduced the proposal for a commission, he
began criticizing it, arguing that it would be perceived as partisan and
almost certainly blocked by Congress.

Obama then echoed McDonoughs critique, effectively killing any chance


that a Russia commission would be formed.

McDonough declined to comment on the principals committee meeting on


the commission or any other sensitive matters but acknowledged that he
opposed the idea, in part because he believed it would be premature to do
so before U.S. intelligence agencies and Congress had conducted their
investigations.

White House staers listen as President Barack Obama speaks about the election results on
Nov. 9, 2016, in the Rose Garden. (Photo by Susan Walsh/AP; photo illustration by Nick
Kirkpatrick/The Washington Post)
Several officials described the post-election atmosphere at the White House
as somber. It was like a funeral parlor, according to one official who said
that work on Russia and other subjects slowed as officials began to
anticipate the damage to Obamas policies and legacy.

Others disputed that characterization, saying that the NSC carried on with
no interruption or diminution of focus. Nobody got paralyzed by grief, a
high-ranking official said. We all did our jobs.

Rice declined to comment on White House deliberations or other


sensitive matters but said that the administration always planned to
respond to Russia, regardless of the outcome of the election. We felt it was
on our watch and that we had to do something about it. It was our
responsibility, Rice said.

Whatever the case, work on Russia did not resume in earnest until after
Thanksgiving, in part because Obama made his last foreign trip.

Rice again ordered NSC staffers to finalize a menu of punitive measures


to use against Moscow. The list that took shape was a distillation of ideas
that had been circulating for months across three main categories: cyber,
economic and diplomatic.

Again, the discussion ran into roadblocks.

Spy agencies wanted to maintain their penetrations of Russian networks,


not expose them in a cyber-fusillade.

Treasury Department officials devised plans that would hit entire sectors of
Russias economy. One preliminary suggestion called for targeting
technology companies including Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based
cybersecurity firm. But skeptics worried that the harm could spill into
Europe and pointed out that U.S. companies used Kaspersky systems and
software.

Several senior administration officials called for imposing sanctions on


Putin personally or releasing financial records or other information that
would embarrass him. Some objected that the latter proposal would send
the wrong message the United States would be engaging in the same
behavior it was condemning. In any case, it was not clear how long it would
take U.S. spy agencies to assemble such a Putin dossier.

By December, those of us working on this for a long time were


demoralized, said an administration official involved in the developing
punitive options.

Then the tenor began to shift.

On Dec.9, Obama ordered a comprehensive review by U.S. intelligence


agencies of Russian interference in U.S. elections going back to 2008, with
a plan to make some of the findings public.
A week later, in one of Obamas final news briefings, he expressed irritation
that such a consequential election came to be dominated by a bunch of
these leaks. He scolded news organizations for an obsession with
titillating material about the Democrats that had dominated coverage.

Then he unloaded on Moscow. The Russians cant change us or


significantly weaken us, he said. They are a smaller country. They are a
weaker country. Their economy doesnt produce anything that anybody
wants to buy, except oil and gas and arms.

It was a rare outburst for Obama, one that came amid a wave of internal
second-guessing, finger-pointing from members of the defeated Clinton
campaign, and the post-election posturing of Putin and Trump.

There was another factor at work, however.

Obamas decision to order a comprehensive report on Moscows


interference from U.S. spy agencies had prompted analysts to go back
through their agencies files, scouring for previously overlooked clues.

The effort led to a flurry of new, disturbing reports many of them


presented in the Presidents Daily Brief about Russias subversion of the
2016 race. The emerging picture enabled policymakers to begin seeing the
Russian campaign in broader terms, as a comprehensive plot sweeping in
its scope.

Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser, said that the DNC
email penetrations were initially thought to be in the same vein as previous
Russian hacking efforts against targets including the State Department and
White House.

In many ways . . . we dealt with this as a cyberthreat and focused on


protecting our cyber infrastructure, Rhodes said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the Russians were playing this much bigger game, which
included elements like released hacked materials, political propaganda and
propagating fake news, which theyd pursued in other countries.

We werent able to put all of those pieces together in real time, Rhodes
said, and in many ways that complete picture is still being filled in.
Rhodes declined to discuss any sensitive information.

National security adviser Susan E. Rice looks over documents in the Oval Oce in October.
(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The
Washington Post)

Obamas darkened mood, the intelligence findings and the approaching


transfer of power gave new urgency to NSC deliberations. In mid-
December, as Cabinet members took turns citing drawbacks to various
proposals for retaliating against Russia, Rice grew impatient and began
cutting them off.
Were not talking anymore. Were acting, she said, according to one
participant.

Rice moved swiftly through a list of proposals that had survived months of
debate, a menu that allowed principals to vote for what one participant
described as heavy, medium and light options.

Among those in the Situation Room were Clapper , Brennan ,


Kerry and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Rice challenged them
go to the max of their comfort zones, a second participant said.

Economic sanctions, originally aimed only at Russias military intelligence


service, were expanded to include the FSB, a domestic successor to the
KGB. Four Russian intelligence officials and three companies with links to
those services were also named as targets.

The FBI had long lobbied to close two Russian compounds in the United
States one in Maryland and another in New York on the grounds that
both were used for espionage and placed an enormous surveillance burden
on the bureau.

[OntheEasternShore,a45acreRussiancompoundkeptitssecretsclose]

The FBI was also responsible for generating the list of Russian operatives
working under diplomatic cover to expel, drawn from a roster the bureau
maintains of suspected Russian intelligence agents in the United States.
Cabinet officials were prompted to vote on whether to close one Russian
compound or two, whether to kick out around 10 suspected Russian agents,
20 or 35.

Kerry laid out his departments concerns. The U.S. ambassador to Russia,
John Tefft, had sent a cable warning that Moscow would inevitably expel
the same number of Americans from Moscow and that departures of that
magnitude would impair the embassys ability to function.

The objections were dismissed, and Rice submitted a plan to Obama


calling for the seizure of both Russian facilities and the expulsion of 35
suspected spies. Obama signed off on the package and announced the
punitive measures on Dec.29, while on vacation in Hawaii.

By then, the still-forming Trump administration was becoming entangled


by questions about contacts with Moscow. On or around that same day that
Obama imposed sanctions, Trumps designated national security adviser,
retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, told the Russian ambassador by phone that
the sanctions would soon be revisited. Flynns false statements about that
conversation later cost him his job.
The report that Obama had commissioned was released a week later, on
Jan. 6. It was based largely on the work done by the task force Brennan
had established and made public what the CIA had concluded in August,
that Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President-elect
Trumps election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.

It also carried a note of warning: We assess Moscow will apply lessons


learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. election to
future influence efforts worldwide.

The punitive measures got several days of media attention before the
spotlight returned to Trump, his still-forming administration and, later, the
initial rumblings of the Russia crisis that has become a consuming issue for
the Trump White House.

But the package of measures approved by Obama, and the process by which
they were selected and implemented, were more complex than initially
understood.

The expulsions and compound seizures were originally devised as ways to


retaliate against Moscow not for election interference but for an escalating
campaign of harassment of American diplomats and intelligence
operatives. U.S. officials often endured hostile treatment, but the episodes
had become increasingly menacing and violent.

In one previously undisclosed incident on July 6, a Russian military


helicopter dropped from the sky to make multiple passes just feet over the
hood of a vehicle being driven by the U.S. defense attache, who was
accompanied by colleagues, on a stretch of road between Murmansk and
Pechenga in northern Russia. The attempt at intimidation was captured on
photos the Americans took through the windshield.

An even more harrowing encounter took place the prior month, when a CIA
operative returning by taxi to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow was tackled and
thrown to the ground by a uniformed FSB guard. In a video aired on
Russian television, the U.S. operative can be seen struggling to drag himself
across the embassy threshold and onto U.S. sovereign territory. He
sustained a broken shoulder in the attack.

Though conceived as retaliation for those incidents, the expulsions were


adapted and included in the election-related package. The roster of
expelled spies included several operatives who were suspected of playing a
role in Russias election interference from within the United States, officials
said. They declined to elaborate.

More broadly, the list of 35 names focused heavily on Russians known to


have technical skills. Their names and bios were laid out on a dossier
delivered to senior White House officials and Cabinet secretaries, although
the list was modified at the last minute to reduce the number of expulsions
from Russias U.N. mission in New York and add more names from its
facilities in Washington and San Francisco.
A compound near Centreville, Md., that was being used by Russian diplomats is seen in a 2015
satellite photo. The compound was closed in December as part of a U.S. sanctions package.
(Photo obtained by The Washington Post; photo illustration by Nick Kirkpatrick/The Washington
Post)

The compounds were even higher on the FBIs wish list.

At one point in the White House deliberations, intelligence analysts used


aerial images of the facilities to show how they had been modified to
enhance their espionage capabilities. Slides displayed in the Situation
Room showed new chimneys and other features, all presumed to allow for
the installation of more-sophisticated eavesdropping equipment aimed at
U.S. naval facilities and the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Rice pointed to the FBIs McCabe and said: You guys have been
begging to do this for years. Now is your chance.

The administration gave Russia 24 hours to evacuate the sites, and FBI
agents watched as fleets of trucks loaded with cargo passed through the
compounds gates.

When FBI agents entered the sites, they found them stripped of antennas,
electronics, computers, file cabinets and other gear, officials said, their
hasty removal leaving visible markings on floors, tables and walls.

Economic sanctions are widely seen as the United States most potent lever,
short of military force. Russias economy is dwarfed by that of the United
States, and nearly every major Russian institution and oligarch depends to
some degree on access to U.S. and Western financial institutions, networks
and credit.

Sanctions that the United States and Europe imposed on Russia in 2014 for
its actions in Ukraine were damaging. Coinciding with a sharp drop in oil
prices, those measures contributed to a 4percent contraction in the
Russian economy and sent its reserves plunging.
The election-related sanctions, by contrast, have had no such impact.

Officials involved in designing them said that the main targets Russias
foreign and military intelligence services, the GRU and FSB, and senior
officials at those agencies have few known holdings abroad or vulnerable
assets to freeze.

I dont think any of us thought of sanctions as being a primary way of


expressing our disapproval for the election interference, said a senior
administration official involved in the decision. Going after their
intelligence services was not about economic impact. It was symbolic.

More than any other measure, that decision has become a source of regret
to senior administration officials directly involved in the Russia debate. The
outcome has left the impression that Obama saw Russias military
meddling in Ukraine as more deserving of severe punishment than its
subversion of a U.S. presidential race.

What is the greater threat to our system of government? said a former


high-ranking administration official, noting that Obama and his advisers
knew from projections formulated by the Treasury Department that the
impact of the election-related economic sanctions would be minimal.

The most difficult measure to evaluate is one that Obama alluded to in only
the most oblique fashion when announcing the U.S. response.

We will continue to take a variety of actions at a time and place of our


choosing, some of which will not be publicized, he said in a statement
released by the White House.
He was referring, in part, to a cyber operation that was designed to be
detected by Moscow but not cause significant damage, officials said. The
operation, which entailed implanting computer code in sensitive computer
systems that Russia was bound to find, served only as a reminder to
Moscow of the United States cyber reach.

But Obama also signed the secret finding, officials said, authorizing a new
covert program involving the NSA, CIA and U.S. Cyber Command.

Obama declined to comment for this article, but a spokesman issued a


statement: This situation was taken extremely seriously, as is evident by
President Obama raising this issue directly with President Putin; 17
intelligence agencies issuing an extraordinary public statement; our
homeland security officials working relentlessly to bolster the cyber
defenses of voting infrastructure around the country; the President
directing a comprehensive intelligence review, and ultimately issuing a
robust response including shutting down two Russian compounds,
sanctioning nine Russian entities and individuals, and ejecting 35 Russian
diplomats from the country.

The cyber operation is still in its early stages and involves deploying
implants in Russian networks deemed important to the adversary and
that would cause them pain and discomfort if they were disrupted, a
former U.S. official said.

The implants were developed by the NSA and designed so that they could
be triggered remotely as part of retaliatory cyber-strike in the face of
Russian aggression, whether an attack on a power grid or interference in a
future presidential race.

Officials familiar with the measures said that there was concern among
some in the administration that the damage caused by the implants could
be difficult to contain.
As a result, the administration requested a legal review, which concluded
that the devices could be controlled well enough that their deployment
would be considered proportional in varying scenarios of Russian
provocation, a requirement under international law.

The operation was described as long-term, taking months to position the


implants and requiring maintenance thereafter. Under the rules of covert
action, Obamas signature was all that was necessary to set the operation in
motion.

U.S. intelligence agencies do not need further approval from Trump, and
officials said that he would have to issue a countermanding order to stop it.
The officials said that they have seen no indication that Trump has done so.

KarenDeYoungandJulieTatecontributedtothisreport.

Readmore:

Trump administration moves to return Russian compounds in Maryland


and New York

Every Russia story Trump said was a hoax by Democrats: A timeline


More stories

The facilities had been closed by Obama as punishment for


Russian interference in the election.

Congress and U.S. intelligence agencies are scrutinizing


connections between Russia and the Trump campaign as they
investigate evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
Here's what we know so far about Team Trump's ties to Russian
interests.

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Newest First Pause live updates
articulett
12:09 PM PDT

Trump is an illegitimate president-- he would not have been president without Putin gaming the
system in his favor. The people chose Hillary. Putin chose his puppet. May we can get rid of this
cancer before the damage before our democracy erodes further.
Like Reply Share

Tsundoku
12:08 PM PDT

Paranoid tube steaks like Brian Kemp, GOP secretary of state for Georgia, do not look very good, for
their failure to do what was obviously right--protect the voting and the votes.
Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
12:08 PM PDT

Who is doing all this leaking? Comey was photo'd coming out of the NYTimes yesterday, so he is
denitely one leaker.
Like Reply Share

2 Time Obama Voter


12:08 PM PDT

Enjoy 8 years of Trump everyone.


Like Reply Share

Tim Reiland
12:08 PM PDT

DNC = Does Not Care


RNC = Russian National Committee
Like Reply Share

Norcal9
12:07 PM PDT

At least the Russian Commies pretended to be looking out for the people, "workers of the world" and
all that nonsense, despite their history of brutal repression.
Now the fascistic Putin state has superseded that idealism with a corrupt thugocracy and military
ambitions worldwide.
Nice work.
Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
12:08 PM PDT
This is 100% untrue. Travel to mother Russia at least once, and see for yourself, please.
Russians are your friends.

Like Reply

Talegos
12:07 PM PDT


Norcal9
10:01 PM GMT+0300
Manafort, Flynn, Page, Kushner = sputniks.

Do you know how many people of Obama administration had deals with Russians? (For example
Clintons).
To have deals is not the same to interfere.

2 Like Reply Share

Norcal9
12:08 PM PDT

Nice payos to them, Ivan. Manafort tells Russian gangsters in Ukraine how to steal Odessa
and shoot down jets. Good work.

Like Reply

Tom Zimmerman
12:06 PM PDT

Wow. Talk about hush-hush. Even had a "covert-action nding". This stu looks pretty classied to me,
so somebody is committing some heavy-duty espionage here. Couldn't have been Hillary or Comey -
surely they're aware we're on to them. So who was it? And Trump's options now that Putin's alerted
are exactly what? How about we just shut down Washington except for the military, re everybody and
start over. Come to think of it ...

1 Like Reply Share

elbrujo
12:06 PM PDT

Why do I have the same feeling today that I had on that day after 9/11 we learned the Bush national
security people had ample warning of a coming terror attack, yet they did nothing?

2 Like Reply Share

J Silenci
12:07 PM PDT

that feeling has lasted to this day...


Like Reply

diogenes_jr
12:06 PM PDT

GOP = Government of Putin

Like Reply Share

Husker78
12:09 PM PDT

Explain Russia's motive for wanting President Trump over Hillary. Russia had their way with
Obama and Hillary for years. Why would they want that changed? (Remember the silly
'reset' button?) Every warlord, dictator and autocrat on the globe would have wanted Hillary
over President Trump, knowing that President Trump would seek to put American interests
rst instead of the globalist, kumbaya Clinton.

Like Reply
geotherm21
12:06 PM PDT

So the WaPo has no problem disclosing an ongoing NSA cyber program in this article. Do they assume
the Russians don't read or are not procient enough to implement countermeasures just like we did
last year? Even though the DNC didn't accept fed help there were lots of other systems that did get
hardened as a result of this, including the RNC - by a Dem administration.

2 Like Reply Share

J Silenci
11:51 AM PDT

how can we sue the GOP for their consultant's leaving the data of millions of us (voters) available to
Russians, Chinese, and fat men lying on beds who don't even have to hack to get it?

Let's see how Clinton's alleged breaches of security were treated. If tens, hundreds, or thousands, or
millions of us have crimes committed against us individually as a result--is this not a HUGE security
issue that the Republicans must answer for? Let's have an investigation.
Like Reply Share

thump41
11:51 AM PDT

It's fun to watch all the Ivans spinning wildly , trying to deect attention from their Lord & Master Czar
Vlad I.

Dance, Ivans!
Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:52 AM PDT

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no


evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote
counts."

Like Reply

kootenaygirl
11:51 AM PDT

Awesome research. Now contact Misha Glenny formerly of The Guardian and author of Dark Market,
Cybercrimes, Cybercops and YOU. He regularly visited hackers in order to write this fascinating
expose. When he was here in Vancouver Kootenaygirl asked him if he travels with security. He
laughed and said "No, these people are glad to see me as they know I will write about them." He is the
dedicated journalist to pursue all these investigations. And, no, I am not a relative!

It is unfortunate that The Donald only has a 4 minute attention span so he won't be able to read this
story for himself.
Like Reply Share

Display Name
11:51 AM PDT

Every classless loser complains after the nal whistle blows. If the refs had just called the right calls, if
the team had just made that nal end-zone push or defensive stop, if the interception didn't occur ...

Obama told us all there was no meddling during the game and that Trump should stop whining.

Only when Trump made the hail mary winning touchdown and the nal whistle blew, did Democrats
and, nally, Obama start making Russian excuses. ("Russians under your bed and in your closet!")

It took many months after Hillary's loss to concoct a narrative about Russia. And, still, all 17 national
security agencies say that there's NO EVIDENCE that Russia materially impact the election.

Would you like more cheeze with your whine, Democrats?

Sore losers, that's all.

Like Reply Share

DownUpside
11:50 AM PDT

Obama and Trump:

One is a President who put country above party in the face of Russian inference in our democracy; the
other is a candidate who sold out his country to become President.

It's really that simple and our current mentally disturbed "President" knows the
truth................................................................

2 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:52 AM PDT

Who is Obama bowing to today?

Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:52 AM PDT

Who is Obama bowing to today?

Like Reply

Ivan Novosyolov
11:50 AM PDT [Edited]

Dear Americans, the Russians are your only true friends left in the world.

1 Like Reply Share

DorisP
11:52 AM PDT

Corrections:

"Dear Deplorables, the Russians are your only true friends left in the world."

Like Reply

Truth is the rst casualty


11:50 AM PDT

The FBI never examined the Democratic National Committees (DNC) computer servers during its
investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in the presidential election

Instead the FBI and therefore all other US intelligence agencies relied on a 3rd party hired by the
DNC.

Does anybody else here see a problem with that?

2 Like Reply Share

DownUpside
11:52 AM PDT
Absolutely nobody outside of Moscow or its paid trolls has "a problem with" your lie.

Like Reply

thump41
11:50 AM PDT

Trump = Putin-occupied territory.

1 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:49 AM PDT

WaPo, where the article about Loretta Lynch being investigated?

SPECIAL COUNSEL NOW! And only hire biased attorney's like Mueller.

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election

The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynchs
eorts to shape the FBIs investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the
committees chairman announced Friday.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/23/se...
(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/23/senate-announced-probe-loretta-lynch-
behavior-2016/)

2 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:50 AM PDT

Look! Squirrel!

2 Like Reply

DorisP
11:50 AM PDT

Washington Times? LOL! Request denied for stupidity.

1 Like Reply

DorisP
11:49 AM PDT

Specious Spice holding audio-only press brieng. He knows his eyes are extra baggy today trying to
avoid questions. Kellyanne handles that better, but she does have to moult at least every few days to
stay looking fresh.

1 Like Reply Share


Haat Fook
11:49 AM PDT

To summarize, there was an alleged plot by Putin, (that there is no hard evidence of), that if true,
Obama was powerless against. It revealed the truth about corruption in our own government,
specically the DNC and democratic party. This allowed for an outsider to win the election.
Like Reply Share

oz7com
11:51 AM PDT

There is a lot of holes in your position that you lled with silly putty.

Like Reply

MN USA
11:49 AM PDT

I think President Obama made the right decision. Evidently Republicans were willing to deny they
believed the intelligence. That would make it seem like President Obama was just trying to help Sec.
Clinton. The Trumpies bought into all the Russian lies about Hillary, they certainly wouldn't believe the
truth from our own President. More and more I'm beginning to think Trump is illegitimate.

1 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:48 AM PDT

Trump is Putin's property.

1 Like Reply Share

klclemon
11:48 AM PDT

doesn't any body nd it disturbing that hackers where able to damage Hillary by showing people the
truth about her and her minions in the DNC. they didn't publish fake emails. the only election that's
been proven to be rigged was the Democrat primary.

1 Like Reply Share

2 Time Obama Voter


11:50 AM PDT

This is what they're avoiding talking about with the Russia stu.

Like Reply

MN USA
11:50 AM PDT

Whaaaat? Hillary and her sta weren't the ones willing to sell us out.
1 Like Reply

Invictus 85
11:48 AM PDT

This is an amazing piece of revisionist history and ction. The Obama administration was more than
content to sit back and watch events unfold because they thought Hillary was defacto elected. Several
of the facts in this story can already be debunked. The real story is likely the unmasking and use of
government assets to assure a Democratic victory. The last place I expect to see any real journalistic
investigation of Obama is WAPO or NYT. This was likely the most corrupt admin since Nixon. Very slick
and deliberate with their bending of the rules and covert agenda. It will come out in time.
Trump needs to lighten up. There is no there, there as far as Russia. It is a shame to divert any
administration agenda. Comey is smarmy and hated by Dems also, but it's all about political point.

I would feel better if WAPO, NYT, and CNN, would just say, our aim by any means available (dishonesty
included) is to get Trump out of oce. Why deny what is already a fact.
I'm enjoying watching all the libs freak out! Trumo isn't going anywhere.
Like Reply Share

James Mooney
11:51 AM PDT

Remember WMDs. WaPo, NYT, CNN are all organs of the corpagovernment and its desire for
endless war and McCarthy Madness.

Like Reply

boboinparadise
11:48 AM PDT

Outrageous, I really can't stand agreeing with the ditto heads on anything, but this hubristic dismissal
of outcomes discordant with a preferred worldview was poor service for the national interest. Just as it
continues in government today though from the opposite slant.
Like Reply Share

thump41
11:49 AM PDT

LOL!

Like Reply

Invictus 85
11:50 AM PDT

But after all this time you should understand Obama. It's not about reality - it's about the
ideology and the outcomes he was seeking. Not at all about the national good.

Like Reply
Dingus McFarlane
11:50 AM PDT

So many large words; so little said.

Like Reply

RBTec
11:48 AM PDT

I hope Vlad has some extra rubles in the budget this month for all the Troll overtime. Sheesh.

3 Like Reply Share

Haat Fook
11:50 AM PDT

Because a lie told enough becomes truth to many.

Like Reply

Dingus McFarlane
11:48 AM PDT

Answer this one, Trumpees: if this is such a nothing burger, why are so many of you on here denying
it?

1 Like Reply Share

J Silenci
11:49 AM PDT

and why does Fox work so hard at it?

1 Like Reply

thump41
11:49 AM PDT

Most of them are paid to do so by Uncle Vlad.

1 Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:50 AM PDT

Can't read? The article admits, "...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting
infrastructure on Nov. 8, no evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots
or manipulation of vote counts."

1 Like Reply

AHill928
11:48 AM PDT
Obama failed to punish anyone (Bankers, Russia etc).
Like Reply Share

Spirit Cooking TV Channel


11:48 AM PDT

What were the motivations for a "secret struggle?" Maybe I should read more carefully.
Like Reply Share

J Silenci
11:47 AM PDT

Obama is at fault. But he's not colluding--whether by action or inaction and neglect. He may have not
taken the best or most eective action, for reasons that became overly complicated by the slime
spread all over the place by the orange magician... but Trump's and the GOP's maintenance of denial
(Trump and friends) and cowardly, fringe-benetting passive position now when there is no ocial
campaign, can't be forgiven now or ever.
Like Reply Share

Display Name
11:47 AM PDT [Edited]

So Putin > 'Freeze under pressure' Obama based on observable leadership capability.

Glad we have a real leadership in president Trump now. Obama was embarrassing.
Like Reply Share

byronmallen
11:50 AM PDT

Obama was in way over his head, remember, he never had a real job in his life and spent his
college days doped up.

Like Reply

PJB1978
11:47 AM PDT

Whoa! WaPo story today: "BHO wildly feared rigged election in August." Yet MSM scolded DJT's exact
suggestion at the exact same time. www.nytimes.com/2016/08/06/upshot/how-donald-trumps-
rigged-claim-chips-away-at-democracy.html
Like Reply Share

thump41
11:47 AM PDT

The Ivans are really frothing at the mouth on this one!

3 Like Reply Share


kreaturen
11:46 AM PDT

Excerpt from the award-winning book: "The Art of Hunting Boogie-men - When your pre-Selected
Winner Looses".
Like Reply Share

Old_COL
11:46 AM PDT

Why does the WaPo need to go overboard in a convincing article to put in something that is arguable
untrue. This item: "Kislyak meets with Je Sessions at a panel at the convention" is unproven and at
best was a handshake at a receiving line. It adds nothing to the reporting and detracts by inserting an
element of Fake News.

1 Like Reply Share

Mark Lewis
11:46 AM PDT

The sadness of this story is that th WP would actually stoop so low as to print it, and that there are
millions of people desperate and stupid enough to believe it. The great days of American journalism
are long past.

2 Like Reply Share

JimZ1
11:46 AM PDT

Our country is now like a boiler running with a bad thermostat (Trump), and the only thing keeping it
from blowing up, is the safety valve.

1 Like Reply Share

Roadlizard123
11:48 AM PDT

Poor snowake...melting rapidly aren't you? That you would have an upside down American
Flag speaks volumes about your character and your ideology. You're probably one of those
who questions the patriotism of those with whom you disagree politically too, while showing
our ag upside down. We suered through 8 long years of Obozo, yet you can't do the same
with 6-months of Trump. Get over yourself.

Like Reply

Display Name
11:46 AM PDT

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over all the pieces,
craps on the board, then struts around like it won the game."

Apocryphal quote from Putin; however, it's accurate in its depiction of the ineectual President
Obama and how Putin played him as a puppet until Putin tired of him.

1 Like Reply Share

Indy Penance
11:52 AM PDT

Quote from a Russian, posted by a Russian. But to Trump's base, the funnies thing ever!

Like Reply

byronmallen
11:45 AM PDT

This is the biggest load of nonsense ever written by the Fake News. Here are the facts:

1. Obama could have cared less about this because he was sure Hillary would win.
2. All of this Russian interference is garbage as not a single vote was eected by tampering with a
machine.
3. Nobody has found the rst voter who was inuenced in any way by Russian anything. ZERO!!
4. This entire Russian fabrication by the WAPO, NYT , LAT and left wing media is nothing but an
attempt to damage Trump because they just can't believe their candidate lost. Remember, they are
the elitists and they =know what is best for us normal folks.
5. When somebody nds the rst voter eected by Russians, get back to us, otherwise just stop
writing this utter nonsense!!!!

8 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:46 AM PDT

Nice try, Ivan.

Like Reply

RalphZero
11:45 AM PDT

Thanks for running these stories WaPo and allowing your brainwashed followers to comment.
Otherwise, they would be out taking shots at republicans.

1 Like Reply Share

leslie
11:46 AM PDT

Says an Infowars reader.

Like Reply

JimZ1
11:47 AM PDT

Feeling a little guilty?

Like Reply

RaiderHawk11
11:45 AM PDT

It's hard to convince someone who has arms wrapped around the enemy that we're under attack.
What do you tell them? I suppose you have to understand cyber ops and how it works.

1 Like Reply Share

SteamboatSkier
11:45 AM PDT

Well, the good news is that Hil's going to run again, so the Dems get a do-over.....
Like Reply Share

AChem
11:44 AM PDT

Comments that say that Obama was weak essentially admit that Russia meddled in the US election.
Obama could not be weak against Russia if Russia didn't do anything.

So, in your eorts to bash Obama, you are also delegitimizing Trump's presidency.

Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:46 AM PDT

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no


evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote
counts."

Like Reply

Dingus McFarlane
11:44 AM PDT

Wendy's Alt-Right Nothing burger has over 1,500 calories. Eat up, tubby Trumpees.

1 Like Reply Share

2 Time Obama Voter


11:44 AM PDT

Hey WAPO where's the article on Feinstein and Grassley's letter to Loretta Lynch? Are you writing that
one up now?
3 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:45 AM PDT

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/23/se...
(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/23/senate-announced-probe-loretta-
lynch-behavior-2016/)

Like Reply

Dingus McFarlane
11:46 AM PDT

Source and link, please.

Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:47 AM PDT

I posted it. Try getting news at places other than this liberal fake news rag and you
would know it.

Like

Spirit Cooking TV Channel


11:44 AM PDT

The most specic point I can gather--that damaged Hillary--was the DNC hacking that "led to the
resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) as the DNCs chairwoman."
Is that it then--the Russians force Dirtie Debbie out? How many reporters worked on this?

1 Like Reply Share

Hanging Chad
11:44 AM PDT

What I'm hearing from Trumpkin's is that the Russian situation is a load of bull that Obama failed to
act forcefully on.
Like Reply Share

RBTec
11:45 AM PDT

and if he had, they would be SCREAMING that it is political.

Like Reply

Ivan Novosyolov
11:43 AM PDT

Mr. Vladimir Putin is, hands down, the best leader any country has ever had.

2 Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:45 AM PDT

Trolls are becoming more honest at least.

Like Reply

kindness1
11:43 AM PDT

Obama is a good and decent man who was a great president and far too cautious regarding letting
Americans know how far Russia had gone last Summer. Having said that Republican's responses to
this have been treasonous.

2 Like Reply Share

Roadlizard123
11:43 AM PDT

"In political terms, Russias interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely
successful destabilizing attack on American democracy.

"Crime of the Century?" Really?


"largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy" Really? Largely successful? By what
measure?

What the WaPo News reporters probably measure "largely successful" by is that their preferred
candidate did not prevail in the election. Never mind that every single ocial from Obama's
administration who has testied says that not a single vote was changed resultant from Russian
hacking. That includes James Clapper and Jeh Johnson. The fact that Trump won is totally
unacceptable to WaPo and its sta, and they continue to do everything possible to convince America
that they have an illegitimately elected president. We're just not buying what they are selling.

2 Like Reply Share

ZIPbag
11:43 AM PDT

GOP...in a word, Traitors!

1 Like Reply Share

Spirit Cooking TV Channel


11:44 AM PDT

Can you read? I didn't think so.


Like Reply

klclemon
11:43 AM PDT

if this is true it shows how ineectual Obama's diplomacy was, if it's not then the whole thing's a
sham. In any case I doubt we'll ever see any evidence of Russian hacking of anything.

1 Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:44 AM PDT

especially not if you plug your ears and close your eyes all the time.

Like Reply

DownUpside
11:42 AM PDT

Trump sold his soul to Putin for the presidency.

He knows it, the majority of the American people know it, and even most of his deplorable base know
it.

But until he's history we're all captives of the "pretend" state.

3 Like Reply Share

Spirit Cooking TV Channel


11:45 AM PDT

Where does the article show how the Russians were able to hurt Hillary? Caused them the
loss of Sanders support? Are you on opiods?

1 Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:42 AM PDT [Edited]

This article sure makes Obama look like weak, impotent, powerless, and helpless in dealing with
Putin. What a president!

Even though, "...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no
evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote counts."

4 Like Reply Share

2 Time Obama Voter


11:42 AM PDT
All that Russia did to inuence the election is show everyone Hillary Clinton and her campaign's real
emails. REAL EMAILS were enough to turn o plenty of Democrat voters.

This Russian story is a nothing burger.

6 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:43 AM PDT

True.

1 Like Reply

Pamsm
11:44 AM PDT

I would like to agree with you, but then wed both be wrong.

1 Like Reply

Duel
11:42 AM PDT

Sean Spicer sounds and looks defeated and demoralized as does much of Team Trump.
Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:43 AM PDT

well they fat-shamed him. so there's that.

Like Reply

RBTec
11:46 AM PDT

That's why no cameras are allowed.

Like

Takoma
11:42 AM PDT

Proof this story is true (that is if you can't bring yourself to believe SIXTEEN US intelligence agencies'
conclusions)? The overwhelming swarm of Russian trolls that have descended on this comments
forum.

LOL

1 Like Reply Share


MAGA Swiftly
11:43 AM PDT

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no


evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote
counts."

1 Like Reply

RBTec
11:41 AM PDT

When McConnell gets an outside lawyer, the sh$t is going to hit the fan.

2 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:40 AM PDT

Ever notice how all of the Kremlin trolls are pro-Trump?

Ever wonder why?

5 Like Reply Share

Mellow Mouse
11:47 AM PDT

Stop it!!

There are plenty of impressionable and easily-led Americans who voted for Trump, even
though he's going to do them harm, because they are STUPID. They are here voicing their
opinions. Its not Kremlin trolls.

Like Reply

Mellow Mouse
11:40 AM PDT

Only in the administrations nal weeks in oce did it tell the public, in a declassied report, what
ocials had learned from Brennan in August that Putin was working to elect Trump.

What??? Obama's last weeks in oce were after Trump was elected! Too late to close the barn door
then, barn done burnt down.

2 Like Reply Share

Questionsnotanswers
11:40 AM PDT

This story is incredibly helpful and informative. Thank you, Washington Post, for continuing to keep us
safe by digging up the truth and keeping us informed.
The Washington Post consistently shows incredible integrity, year after year, decade after decade.

I still am disturbed by the New York Times story of Oct. 31, 2016, which said, if I'm not mistaken, the
FBI says not to worry, folks; the Russians aren't interfering. That appeared the same day that, as
mentioned here, Obama last warned Putin to stop the meddling. (My summary of the NYTimes article
may not be quite correct. I can't reference the article because I stopped my NYTimes subscription due
to the Oct. 31 article, which stank of inauthenticity the day it came out, and the hiring, in April, of a
climate change denier as an editorial columnist.) Would so love for someone concerned with ethics in
journalism to dig up the story behind the NYTimes Oct. 31 story!

2 Like Reply Share

Zabaglione
11:39 AM PDT

Looks like the GOP members of the "gang of eight" should lawyer up.

5 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:39 AM PDT

Trump is Putin's puppet.

1 Like Reply Share

Ladyrantsalot
11:41 AM PDT

Trump is Putin's beetch.

2 Like Reply

jwire2017
11:39 AM PDT

I almost can't wait for the Russians to plow over the republican party Then watch how much of a
priority it gets in congress. I am currently investing in Kleenex for all the crying that the Republican
party to do. "Go ahead Russia, Hack away" as he said. Find the missing Comey tapes. lol

3 Like Reply Share

MasterOfReality
11:39 AM PDT

It's pathetic to watch the Russians come to grips with $40/barrel oil (they need 80), massive
corruption, loss of all manner of personal freedom, theft of public and private assets by oligarchs,
hyper military spending for who knows what, massive sanctions, becoming a pirate culture that
doesn't make things people want, the world capital of hacking and spam and porn, alcoholic masters,
antisemitic brain-drained, troll factory with no purpose. They coulda been great but took the low path.
Same one Trump is on.
5 Like Reply Share

Jose798451
11:40 AM PDT

Saudi cost is $6/barrel. They make a prot at $10.

Like Reply

Ladyrantsalot
11:42 AM PDT

Trump cost them $4/barrel, however.

Like

Jose798451
11:39 AM PDT

I can see Democrats in 2018 saying you have to vote for Democrats to stop the Russians.

1 Like Reply Share

Mr_Mondegreen
11:39 AM PDT

Clearly the Russians hate our rotten capitalistic health care.

2 Like Reply Share

Zabaglione
11:38 AM PDT

The Russian thing is a nothing burger, and Obama totally failed to respond to it.

3 Like Reply Share

klwhite1
11:38 AM PDT

Obama discovered the Russians were trying to disrupt the election. He took his evidence to the
leaders of the Congress. The GOPTP Congressional leadership immediately say the evidence is
"politically based." They dismiss it and refuse to do anything about it.

Obama is torn as to whether or not to publically release it. The GOPTPers say if he does, they'll deny
its validity. Okay, Obama decided to let the cards fall where they may. He doesn't believe Trump will
win the election so he decides to sit on it and let Clinton sort it out. Oh crap! Trump wins.

Now, with all of the original evidence, plus the additional evidence being released by the media via
government leakers, the Congress is pushed into actually investigating the extent of Russia's
involvement and the extent of Trump's collusion.

The GOPTP has done so much damage to our democracy by their foot-dragging and stone-walling that
it'll take years before we can ever get back to the place where we can be civil with one another.
Contrary to what the GOPTPers say, "compromise" is NOT a dirty word. In fact, its the very thing that
allowed our founding fathers to form this country. As my old football coach used to say, "Either get
with the program or get out. If you cant help us, don't hurt us." Ever since Bill Clinton was president,
the GOPTPers have done nothing but hurt us for the benet of the very rich.

Those who deny the evidence against Russia and Trump's involvement are the same ones who deny
global warming and rising oceans. They are the same people who would gladly blame others for their
own failings while gladly accepting government handouts. It's NOT far fetched to believe that many of
these posters on WaPo are, in fact, Russian trolls, inltrating WaPo's website and posting as American
citizens. It would be interesting to actually know how many of the posters on here are Russians. It
wouldn't surprise me any if it was more than half.

5 Like Reply Share

thump41
11:37 AM PDT

Trump is Putin's puppet.

1 Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
11:37 AM PDT

Trump is US president.

4 Like Reply

JimZ1
11:38 AM PDT

Maybe not.

3 Like

Ladyrantsalot
11:39 AM PDT

Trump is PutinPrezident.

3 Like

foolintherain
11:39 AM PDT

A person can be more than one thing.

3 Like
Calenorn
11:40 AM PDT

Not for long, Ivan.

3 Like

Mort Sinclair
11:40 AM PDT

Comrade! Thought you got red, but here you are! Now comment like you mean it!

2 Like

1138sw
11:41 AM PDT

@Ivan Novosyolov

LOL you are correct IVAN he is YOUR (US) PRESIDENT. LOL

Like

MAGA Swiftly
11:37 AM PDT

This article admits "...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8,
no evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote counts."

Also the only interference was "alleged" hacking of the DNC where the DNC refused to allow the DHS
and FBI investigate, and TRUTHFUL emails were released.

Nice try WaPo in trying to save Obama's legacy. But no, it is GONE!

6 Like Reply Share

Ladyrantsalot
11:39 AM PDT

Oh, so as long as there wasn't a "meltdown" you're ne with Putin diddling America.
Weakling.

1 Like Reply

Godsavethetroops
11:36 AM PDT

"Get a high-condence assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russias role and intent;" Why
did Obama request this in August when in "early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling
restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried eyes only instructions
that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides."
Which allegedly revealed a capture of "Putins specic instructions... defeat or at least damage the
Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

The two quoted pieces are from the Post's article. This story is considerably weakened by this
contradiction.

Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:41 AM PDT

"weakened"? what exactly does that mean?

Like Reply

RonaldosMagnus
11:36 AM PDT

Obama is ineective and Russia did not aect the election. This is simply more WAPO garbage.

4 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:37 AM PDT

This story admits it.

Like Reply

Dingus McFarlane
11:38 AM PDT

Derp alert.

Like Reply

Ivan Novosyolov
11:36 AM PDT

Putin is, hands down, the best leader any country has ever had.

2 Like Reply Share

Ladyrantsalot
11:40 AM PDT

Especially when his hands are down GOP panties.

Like Reply

RBTec
11:36 AM PDT

The Trump Cult will never be convinced that Trump is anything else other than their Messiah.
1 Like Reply Share

Jose798451
11:37 AM PDT

I see Trump as not Crooked Hillary, that is enough.

3 Like Reply

RBTec
11:38 AM PDT

Not worth a reply.

1 Like

leslie
11:38 AM PDT

Do you gnaw on your own leg too?

1 Like

Ladyrantsalot
11:44 AM PDT

Plus, with Trump, you get to be diddled by Putin, a conservative's idea of a real man.

Like Reply

J60450
11:35 AM PDT

The Washington Post is withholding some details of the intelligence at the request of the U.S.
government.

Why? Nothing here that people don't already know or suspect. Republican voters won't believe it
regardless. Republicans in Congress are more interested in reducing the power of the federal
government and giving tax breaks to rich people. Addressing or even acknowledging this happened
puts their plans in jeopardy. The few rogues like McCain are so long in the tooth that they can easily
be sidelined or discredited. Are society is so fractured that by 2020 a loss for Republicans may lead to
civil war or mass domestic terrorism. Heck a loss for Democrats will lead to the same as well. We are
f...ed! Enjoy the next 2-4 years.
Like Reply Share

J60450
11:42 AM PDT

Our society - I hate lack of edit ability

Like Reply
Nathan Burks
11:35 AM PDT

This article concludes that Obama knew about the hacking and did nothing

2 Like Reply Share

sjkl333
11:37 AM PDT

I strongly suggest you read the article.

2 Like Reply

yoverjr
11:52 AM PDT

No it about his struggle to do nothing about it.

Like Reply

yoverjr
11:52 AM PDT

No it about his struggle to do nothing about it.

Like Reply

Display Name
11:35 AM PDT [Edited]

If WaPo meant to publicly humiliate Obama as an ineectual and incapable Jimmy Carter-like
president, then they surely succeeded beyond any measure.

Glad we have real presidential leadership by Trump now.

2 Like Reply Share

J60450
11:36 AM PDT

wow

1 Like Reply

Display Name
11:37 AM PDT

Wow is right

1 Like

Zabaglione
11:37 AM PDT
The article shows the measures Obama took. What has trump done? Less than Obama, so
who is MORE ineectual and incapable? Trump or Obama? By your standard?

Like Reply

Display Name
11:38 AM PDT

Making excuses for Obama's lack of leadership, are we?

Like

1138sw
11:39 AM PDT

Not quite sure if your conclusions are laced in sarcasm or fool hardy idiocy. But should your
comments follow the line of foolishness, remember that Ignorance should never equal the
qualities of Knowledge.

Like Reply

1138sw
11:39 AM PDT

Not quite sure if your conclusions are laced in sarcasm or fool hardy idiocy. But should your
comments follow the line of foolishness, remember that Ignorance should never equal the
qualities of Knowledge.

Like Reply

foolintherain
11:35 AM PDT

Don's cult should ease back on the claims there is "no such thing as Russian meddling", etc, etc.

Don will ip the script like he did with birtherism and claim he is the one to uncover the truth of
russian tampering and only he can x it.

And the cult of Don will have to nd a new way to hate America.

1 Like Reply Share

Nathan Burks
11:34 AM PDT

I didnt know that Debbie Hackerman Schultz is Russian

1 Like Reply Share

leslie
11:37 AM PDT

C'mon, ask Deb on a date. You're obviously smitten with her.


Like Reply

DePaon
11:34 AM PDT

This article has been called "stunning." I call it "Obama Ignores Russian Hacking Intel Because of
Faith in MSM Polls"!!!!!!!!!!

2 Like Reply Share

sguru
11:37 AM PDT

I don't disagree with your suggested title, but that doesn't change the fact that Russia
successfully tainted a US election.

Like Reply

tostig
11:34 AM PDT [Edited]

This entire article is like a giant catharsis for reporters who just can't come to terms with losing the
election.

And if the "crime of the century" is, someone leaking a pile of emails that show Dems disparaging
Americans, then I think WaPo has a lot to learn about what a "crime of the century" actually entails.
Time for these reporters to type "holocaust" or "Rape of Nanking" into Google and get their heads on
straight.

2 Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
11:34 AM PDT

Blame the Russians for everything. How convenient. Once it was anti-semitism, today it's anti-russism.

2 Like Reply Share

JimZ1
11:36 AM PDT

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

1 Like Reply

tostig
11:36 AM PDT

They're still hating the Jews. This is like an add-on for the left, a bonus.

1 Like Reply

J60450
11:38 AM PDT

You mean conservatives are still hating Jews except for the ones in Israel?

Like

MJSATL
11:33 AM PDT

Some one needs to look at the Ga 6th election! Karen Handel was the former Ga Republican
Secretary of State who purged the roles in Ga. pushed illegal Voter ID laws which discriminate against
minority voters aka Demococrates. Then when she resigned to run for one of her many other oce
attempts Dumber than bricks Brian Kemp is appointed by Govenor Sonny Purdue. Corrupt Sonny
Purdue who illegally beneted from a land deal in Georgia. His personal lawyer who was the Majority
whip in the Ga Senate changed the Ga LAw to benet him, so it wasn't illegal.

Sonny Purdue is now Trumps Ag Secretary.


BRian Kemp when to the local TV stations after D.C. Contacted him and tried to claim that DHS was
trying to hack Georgia's voting records. He claimed it was Obama. He looked so Dumb! Then on
Election Day Redder then Red Cobb county went for Hillary Clinton, they showed Kemp looking Dumb
founded.

Since, the election he has been trying to blame the State contractor at Kennesaw state.

Their needs to be more of a question as to why the polls so Jon Osso winning then suddenly Karen
Handel won by 3-4 %. We have Diebold machines and no paper trail. And during the initial vote one
pole manager left two of the machines in his truck and they were stolen.

1 Like Reply Share

MAGA Swiftly
11:33 AM PDT

WaPo hides in the middle of this long winded nothingburger,

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no evidence of
hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote counts."

6 Like Reply Share

sjkl333
11:40 AM PDT

I suggest you actually read the article Comrade.

Like Reply

jwire2017
11:45 AM PDT
Maga Swiftly is not even a woman. So phony

Like Reply

Zabaglione
11:32 AM PDT

I am starting to feel bad for Putin. Everybody who does business withTrump ends up damaged or
diminished. he didn't know that

3 Like Reply Share

Jose798451
11:34 AM PDT

I don't feel bad that your fuzzy little head is exploding.

1 Like Reply

Nathan Burks
11:32 AM PDT

The DNC did more to rig an election than anyone did..Debbie Hack-a-man Schultz should be locked up

4 Like Reply Share

skrut003
11:32 AM PDT

The Russian trolls are earning their fees on this story.

5 Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
11:35 AM PDT

Russia is your only true friend, USA!

1 Like Reply

Scarecrow21
11:32 AM PDT

These days you have to read the Moscow Times to get an objective view of news in the US. Sad!

3 Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
11:32 AM PDT

It's always been like that!

1 Like Reply

Miss Julia
11:31 AM PDT

Why does this article choose a title that makes the Russian election hacking sound like an Obama
conspiracy? It's not.

1 Like Reply Share

User30
11:31 AM PDT

"In political terms, Russias interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely
successful destabilizing attack on American democracy."

1 Like Reply Share

leslie
11:34 AM PDT

Always communicate with emojis? Have trouble expressing yourself?

1 Like Reply

Ladyrantsalot
11:30 AM PDT

I love how Republicans keep repeating that there was no "meltdown" of the voting systems, so
everything is ne and dandy. The fact that the Kremlin ddled with those systems is nothing to be
concerned about. Putin knows who his b*+che$ are.

2 Like Reply Share

Jose798451
11:32 AM PDT

Voting systems are not the voting machines. You have been Grubered.

Like Reply

Ladyrantsalot
11:38 AM PDT

Jose, judging from your squealing commentary below, you have been thoroughly
emasculated by Putin. He rides you hard, lady.

Like

JDL Malvern PA
11:30 AM PDT
Trumpers rejoice your comrades won.

2 Like Reply Share

1SGGunnerOIF2003
11:30 AM PDT

So tell me why the Special Council is investigating POTUS instead of starting with all the
documentation by all these Principals over the last 4 years?

It seems they should start interviewing folks from the last Administration and collecting
documentation to set a Baseline for the current investigation.

3 Like Reply Share

JimZ1
11:32 AM PDT

Who said they didn't?

Like Reply

ngersy
11:33 AM PDT

If there was a bank robbery in progress and some unsolved bank robberies from years ago,
which do you think would be the highest priority for the cops right now?

1 Like Reply

1SGGunnerOIF2003
11:35 AM PDT

stupid comparison I thought this was about Russians involvement in our Election.

Like

Ivan Novosyolov
11:30 AM PDT

Dear Americans, the only true power in this existence is the truth. Your politicians have forgotten it.
But you must not!
Like Reply Share

OnlyTheTruth
11:34 AM PDT

Nice platitude but you need to up your game to give us more meat to your comment. You
seem to be taking up space for no particular reason except to take up space. I know I am
guilty of that as well but maybe we should agree to ignore each other. Ok?

Like Reply
Fausto Montoya
11:29 AM PDT [Edited]

If this actually happened and it has all the signs it did, Russia should be pressured by the U.S. to
answer for it! The sovereignty of our country is not for Russia or any other country to step on! The
respect and freedom our military fought for in previous wars should be to our country forever! The
price those soldiers paid for it was way too great with many of them making the ultimate sacrice for
the U.S. to enjoy our sovereignty and democracy! Russia should be made responsible and face
proportionate consequences to pay for its disrespect!!

2 Like Reply Share

V Q Tilley
11:29 AM PDT

Fascinating. Still, it all rests on evidence we haven't been allowed to see. I'm not saying we should see
it, if it's too sensitive, but until we do, we can't exactly endorse this kind of US reaction. Colin Powell
was fooled by the supposed (false) intelligence given him toward invading Iraq and he was in the top
intelligence levels and hardly uninformed. And looking at how badly the US is handling the Middle
East, based on biases, wrong assumptions and mixed-up intelligence, we can't assume that anybody
on these Congressional committees is perspicacious enough to see aws in these reports about
Russia, if any.

2 Like Reply Share

momster99
11:29 AM PDT

I'm just going to say this in case an actual American happens to look here - whoever these people are
posting all over this comment board, they are clearly not American and most likely not even in this
country. I can picture Putin standing over them with a tub of the mystery blue chemical he used to
attack an opponent or a suitcase for someone to accidentally get stuck in.

99% of these posts are by people who are live in a frightening regime, for that I am sorry. But please
get your a**es out of our democracy.

4 Like Reply Share

Zabaglione
11:29 AM PDT

Do the Russian people have any concept what a world of crap their great leader just brought to them?

2 Like Reply Share

Ivan Novosyolov
11:30 AM PDT [Edited]

I know. Blame the Russians for everything. How convenient. Once it was anti-semitism,
today it's anti-russism.
1 Like Reply

fuzion777
11:35 AM PDT

How about anti-americanism? You deplorables will defend everyone except your
own countrymen.

Like

James C Bowen
11:31 AM PDT

I know what it did not bring, another Clinton.

2 Like Reply

yoverjr
11:28 AM PDT

Interesting.
So who is the biggest chickens@@t of the year? Comet who's afraid to be alone with the President or a
President who is afraid to be President.

1 Like Reply Share

ngersy
11:30 AM PDT

Who is the newest resident of the Bannedville Sanatorium for the Chronically Inane? It's
Flyoverjr. Make yourself at home.

1 Like Reply

JimZ1
11:31 AM PDT

To be fair, Trump doesn't have the slightest clue of how to be President.

2 Like Reply

Ladyrantsalot
11:32 AM PDT

I'd say it's Trumpolin, who is utterly subservient to the Kremlin.

Like Reply

DePaon
11:36 AM PDT

The biggest $hit is the one who chose to lead from behind, who was busy visiting every
country in the world, shrinking his bucket list.
Like Reply

Ivan Novosyolov
11:27 AM PDT

Your politicians are hacking you, Americans. That's the truth. Russians are your true friends. Only
ones left in the world today...

1 Like Reply Share

James C Bowen
11:27 AM PDT

Where is Debbie Was-A-Man Schultz when we need her?


Like Reply Share

Pucifer
11:28 AM PDT

Boy, are you a tiresome troll. IGNORED

2 Like Reply

James C Bowen
11:30 AM PDT

Go lick your Pacifer, Pucifer.

Like

leslie
11:28 AM PDT

What an unintelligent comment.

1 Like Reply

James C Bowen
11:30 AM PDT

Unintelligent, just like this article.

Like

enimsilentleges
11:27 AM PDT

Stunning!

1 Like Reply Share

Hanging Chad
11:27 AM PDT
I'm assuming no Russians assets are compromised, because the info about Putin's order was
revealed. Otherwise, this an extremely self indulgent action to leak this story.
Like Reply Share

JimZ1
11:29 AM PDT

It's probably why it took so long to reveal. The asset had to be recovered rst.

Like Reply

ngersy
11:35 AM PDT

The sources are probably many if not all of the same sources that Steele used. I think the
number of arrested, missing or dead is at 9 now.

Like Reply

MacKenzie-Childs
11:27 AM PDT

Obama knows that the Russians didn't really do anything, big deal they hacked into the DNC. That's
why he didn't make much of a response.

WaPo thinks that if they keep going over and over this ridiculous story ad nauseum, iit will somehow
lead to Trump's downfall. No, it won't.

2 Like Reply Share

Zabaglione
11:31 AM PDT

It may lead to Putin's downfall, and lead to hardening our election systems against future
attacks.

Like Reply

ngersy
11:37 AM PDT

When you don't read the article and post comments that were thoroughly refuted in the
article, you might be a troll.

Like Reply

Jose798451
11:26 AM PDT

Most people following this know that the CIA had software to make it look like the Russians.

2 Like Reply Share


fuzion777
11:28 AM PDT

Do "most people" also believe the moon landing was faked?

2 Like Reply

OnlyTheTruth
11:28 AM PDT

Most people know you are a troll who should be ignored.

3 Like Reply

Tsundoku
11:28 AM PDT

Riiiiiight. And chemtrails cause gay marriage or whatever the nutters think this week. Go
collect your rubles, comrade.

2 Like Reply

Pucifer
11:29 AM PDT

Is that what the voices in your head are saying? Put your tinfoil hat back on!

1 Like Reply

MacKenzie-Childs
11:26 AM PDT

Obama knows that the Russians didn't really do anything, big deal they hacked into the DNC. That's
why he didn't make much of a response.

WaPo thinks that if they keep going over and over this ridiculous story ad nauseum, iit will somehow
lead to Trump's downfall. No, it won't.
Like Reply Share

leslie
11:27 AM PDT

Is this your rst cult or have you joined others in the past?

2 Like Reply

VinnieTheSnake
11:36 AM PDT

What they did was give the hate radio and Fox Noise lies to tell about Clinton, over and over
and over again.
Like Reply

Scarecrow21
11:25 AM PDT

Another leak from the Deep State. Another Nothing Burger of a story by the WaPo.

5 Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:27 AM PDT

another ears-plugged denial from the despicable alt-right.

3 Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:28 AM PDT

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8,


no evidence of hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipula-
tion of vote counts."

Nothingburger

1 Like

fuzion777
11:31 AM PDT

Why, oh why is the republican-controlled government still investigating it so


vigorously then? I guess they haven't listened to your expert opinion on matters of
espionage.

Like

Tsundoku
11:33 AM PDT

@MAGAS> Spicer on Tuesday refused to say whether Mr Trump believes Russia


interfered in the 2016 election. That's the big problem. (Of course Trump knows
Russia did this because he and his family are in business with the Russkies.)

Like

Tsundoku
11:30 AM PDT

What is the so-called Deep State? Patriots! Professionals in the intelligence community.
True Americans from Federal and State Judiciary and MSMedia. Those standing up to
preserve rule of law and democracy. No wonder you hate them, comrade.
2 Like Reply

OnlyTheTruth
11:30 AM PDT

I have read where someone suggested anyone who used the term 'nothingburger' gets
ignored. I kink of like that suggestion.

1 Like Reply

ngersy
11:39 AM PDT

Sometimes leaks are strategic. If I were Putin I would take this as a warning. Mutual
deterence only works when all sides know the others are well-armed too.

Like Reply

MAGA Swiftly
11:25 AM PDT

How come you hysterical libs never read and quote this part of this fake news article?

"...there were no meltdowns in the United States voting infrastructure on Nov. 8, no evidence of
hacking-related fraud, crashing of electronic ballots or manipulation of vote counts."

Hmmmmm?

1 Like Reply Share

tmschlitzer
11:30 AM PDT

Dear, deluded MAGA Swiftly.



The target of the Russian hack was YOU. They planted false stories that fed your paranoia.
You are the weakest link in the chain. They succeeded in weaponizing your inability to think
critically.

2 Like Reply

ngersy
11:41 AM PDT

And Trump helped! He spread those lies and lied about the hackings. He smeared
our IC in defense of Russia. Without his help Putin would have failed.

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Ditmart Mellinger
11:25 AM PDT
and Trump was inside every stepof the trama... He knew what Putin was doing and he was sure he will
win despite what the polls said...
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ngersy
11:44 AM PDT

I think they had planned to blame Hillary for election rigging when she won. Don't change
the votes, just leave a card that you were there. Then whoeever wins could have won by
cheating. Then Comey made his email announcement and changed everything.

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Nathan Burks
11:25 AM PDT

Poll...Who did more to inuence the election...

1...The Russians

2...WAPO

3...CNN

4...NYT

5...2 thru 4

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Ivan Novosyolov
11:26 AM PDT

6. American people who voted.

2 Like Reply

James C Bowen
11:26 AM PDT

I'll play. Is it 5?

1 Like Reply

DePaon
11:30 AM PDT

Duh....................The two candidates.........Clinton and Trump.

1 Like Reply
2 Time Obama Voter
11:24 AM PDT

Lock Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch up!


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Zabaglione
11:25 AM PDT

Let Flynn turn state's witness and plea out!

1 Like Reply

Pucifer
11:26 AM PDT

Better yet, ban you from posting gibberish.

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leslie
11:26 AM PDT

How very original of you.

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yoverjr
11:24 AM PDT [Edited]

In liberal think Obama's legacy is now safe. Obama is now a victim. The biggest victim of all time due to
the 'biggest' political crime of the century. .

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Zabaglione
11:26 AM PDT

Most of don't give a crap about any president's legacy, but we do about our democracy.

2 Like Reply

paloverde23
11:23 AM PDT

Listen to all these paid Russian trolls attacking the article. It's time for America to get tough--really
tough--on Putin's attempt to destroy our democracy. Sanctions, nothing. These are criminals and thugs.
Time to kick them out of SWIFT (the international banking system). Putin would be gone in a matter of
weeks.

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James C Bowen
11:25 AM PDT

Says the man hiding behind a secret handle.

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momster99
11:25 AM PDT

Wow, this comment forum is just full of Russian bots. Oh well, I guess they can argue
amongst themselves.

1 Like Reply

Nathan Burks
11:23 AM PDT

The Dims were so oended by the hacking of their computers that they wouldnt let the FBI get
involved...lol

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JimZ1
11:25 AM PDT

Morons sure do a lot of laughing.

3 Like Reply

Pucifer
11:27 AM PDT

Easily distracted by shiny objects too.

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Zabaglione
11:27 AM PDT

it is a tell when they append a "LOL" to a HAHAHAHA at the end of their posts

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ReconVet
11:26 AM PDT

Another f***ing genius who is perfectly willing to sell out our country to Putin.

3 Like Reply

Gustavo Lima
11:23 AM PDT
I thinks this happened because Obama involve on this election like he was running for the White
House, and the same time he doesn't have the balls to face Russia on the face to face, now Dem and
him paying the price

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Ladyrantsalot
11:26 AM PDT

Whereas you Republicans handed your ball$ to the Kremlin long ago.

1 Like Reply

JDL Malvern PA
11:22 AM PDT [Edited]

Generals run America now Putins last words just before the blast "Kakoy trakh byl etot bol'shoy shum"

Loose translation "


What the f**k was that loud noise"

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Ivan Novosyolov
11:23 AM PDT

The Russian is very poor. Haha

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JDL Malvern PA
11:24 AM PDT

So what you got the messsge though didn't you Ivan

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veritas-et-lux
11:26 AM PDT

That's what Lavarov said to Hillary when she handed him the "RESET" button.

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Zabaglione
11:24 AM PDT

I hope the tiger is in a safe place, or one of the Trump boys might shot it.

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veritas-et-lux
11:28 AM PDT
ESL?

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Ivan Novosyolov
11:25 AM PDT

It's internal USA politics. Russia has nothing to do with it. Mrs. Clinton and dems are sour
losers.

1 Like Reply

JDL Malvern PA
11:27 AM PDT

like the USSR lost all their members

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Zabaglione
11:28 AM PDT

Russia pays anyway. Sucks to be Russian for a while. Blame Putin. Love America.

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Tim Reiland
11:22 AM PDT

Wouldn't have mattered. Hillary or Trump - they work for the same people, just play on the emotions of
dierent types of people.

Democrats do nothing to increase the middle-class 'cause their focus is on pushing for war and for
helping out Wall St. and big banks.

Republicans actively squash the middle-class in an attempt to create a bigger slave-class, beholden to
their corporate masters. They too focus on giving more money to Wall St and big banks, but also big oil,
big war, and anyone else that buys a plate at their "fundraiser."

We were screwed either way.

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Mic Mac 77
11:24 AM PDT

It's no wonder why Bernie is the most popular politician in the country.

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Tsundoku
11:47 AM PDT

Sorry Tim but that is just lazy thinking. Yes the Democrats do chase corporate dollars, just
like the Republicans do, but if you want to stop that (and I do) it will take an Amendment to
the US Constitution, and a very large progressive majority in the Congress. But in reality, the
Democrats are not trying to strip away your healthcare so they can give tax cuts to the .01%.
The Democrats are not trying to sell national parks to the highest bidder. The Democrats are
not out to destroy the EPA, and women's reproductive rights, and public education, and the
minimum wage, and worker protections. The Democrats are not trying to restart the pointless
stupidity with Cuba, The Democrats are not trying to undo global climate change agreements.
And the Democrats are certainly turning a blind eye to the blatant conicts of interest and
seamless grifting going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

1 Like Reply

Sage Thrasher
11:21 AM PDT

Have to assume the Russians had gured out by 2016---just as the GOP did by 2009---that Obama
would be too cautious and conicted to actually respond. Now we've traded President Hamlet for a
brain-damaged Richard III. Just awful.

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TheRealDonald2
11:24 AM PDT

We avoided Lady Macbeth.

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Ivan Novosyolov
11:21 AM PDT

Dear Americans! The Russians are your only true friend... This divided politics threatens the very
existence of the USA... Please, unite!

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JimZ1
11:23 AM PDT

Resistance is futile.

1 Like Reply

Ivan Novosyolov
11:24 AM PDT

No, you must resist this dividing politics! It's your only chance, dear Americans! Or
else it's going to be too late...
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Zabaglione
11:24 AM PDT

we are united against Putin's insult to America.

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Ivan Novosyolov
11:27 AM PDT

Your politicians are hacking you, Americans. That's the truth. Russians are your
true friends. Only ones left.

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Ditmart Mellinger
11:21 AM PDT

And some keep on the "the Russian din't inuenced the outcome of the election"..Who will believe that
Putin did all of what he did just for simple haking without entering into many of the servers and voting
computers....are we so naives?
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VinnieTheSnake
11:21 AM PDT

An egotistical half-black man who thinks he's special enough to write two memoirs (before the age of
40) moves to Chicago and basically hides his white mother and grandparents (who raised him)
convinced millions of Black Americans to vote for him, even knowing his limited credentials as a world
leader over a white woman who had spent her entire adult life improving the lives of everyone,
including all children, even Black ones.
We now have Donald Trump roaming around the White House clueless about how to lead a country put
into that position by Russian cyber criminals spreading lie after lie about Clinton, which is then spread
far and wide by the echo chamber created by a "news" organization owned and operated by an
Austrailan ex-pat with an ego to match Obama's and Murdoch's partner a Saudi Arabian prince-ling,
neither of whom care one whit about American citizens.
Half of the eligible voters stay out of "politics" because they think their votes don't matter. When
they've lost all of our protections and we are really living "1984" perhaps those Black voters who voted
for Obama but not for Clinton might regret staying home. However, I doubt it.
Obama's "caution" was really just ennui because now he's gotten what he wanted -- a place in history.
How ironic if he was the next to last president. Serves him right. He didn't protect us as he swore to do.
What he did do is embolden the racists and ruined the Democratic Party for decades if not forever.
Add to that mix a Socialist who roused up millions of people by promising to give them everything for
nothing.
Republicans have been playing the long game for 40 years and now, with obfuscation and their on-air
echo chamber and their insistence that Party comes before country they have "won." Now what will
they do with it?

1 Like Reply Share

JimZ1
11:22 AM PDT

Careful, your white pointy hood is showing.

3 Like Reply

VinnieTheSnake
11:24 AM PDT

I don't have a white pointy hood. I have an ACLU member card. Do you?

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Phil Cortens
11:25 AM PDT

All you lot need is a few million more illegal voters and you'll be golden.

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eeterrio
11:21 AM PDT

Political crime of the century?? Hyperbole? Here I thought it was the Trump nomination....

1 Like Reply Share

reyxa30
11:20 AM PDT

"Election Assault" lol

AIPAC has been "assaulting" US elections & policy - major & minor - to a FAR greater degree for
decades... where's the outrage?

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Shirley Knot
11:20 AM PDT

Hmm.....proof? Show me.

1 Like Reply Share

fuzion777
11:25 AM PDT

If you crap in my pool, you don't get to demand proof it was yours before I throw you out of my
house.
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JimZ1
11:20 AM PDT

Trump will now try to distract us from the evidence that he's a Russian mole.

7 Like Reply Share

James C Bowen
11:21 AM PDT

That's what the FBI, CIA, DHS, and NSA have all stated. He's a mole.

3 Like Reply

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