Russian Official Admits Collusion with Wikileaks
For weeks media reported on the connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. Using Wikileaks as a conduit to funnel hacked emails into the U.S. election, Russia sought not only to disrupt the American electoral process but to install Donald Trump as president. Now – on top of the digital fingerprints found throughout the Wikileaks email dumps tying Russian hackers to Wikileaks – we have confirmation from Russia that they worked to help elect Trump.
Russian president Vladimir Putin called for a new era of “fully fledged relations” between his country and the US yesterday after a surprise victory which was applauded in the Russian parliament and prompted speculation that US-imposed sanctions could be lifted.
After an election campaign in which Russia was openly accused of interfering in favour of Donald Trump, Putin congratulated the president-elect on his victory and said Russia was ready to work for better ties.
Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin political analyst, was jubilant at the result and said a Trump presidency would make it more likely the US would agree with Russia on Syria, where the two powers back different sides and Moscow has intervened decisively on behalf of the president, Bashar al-Assad.
Markov also said it would mean less American backing for “the terroristic junta in Ukraine”. He denied allegations of Russian interference in the election, but said “maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks.”
“A bit” may serve as the understatement of the election.
Markov is Deputy Chairman of the Russian Public Forum on International Affairs and serves as co-Chairman of the National Strategic Council of Russia. He served as a member of the Public Chamber of Russia from 2006 to 2008.
Paired with James Comey’s reckless decision to send the now-infamous letter to Congress ten days before the election (which, as it turns out, appears to be one cog in a much larger FBI effort to ensure Clinton wouldn’t be elected), the Russian effort to attack Clinton directly using Wikileaks as a weapon appears to have been a successful strategy the American public didn’t mind since the leaks were laundered through what was previously a non-partisan global transparency organization.
Celebrating Trump’s victory, Russian lawmakers released multiple statements last night.
“Today I want to ride around Moscow with an American flag in the window, if I can find a flag,” said RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan on Twitter. (RT is Russia’s Kremlin-owned media outlet.)
“Tonight is a night of Trump for all Americans and the world,” said Boris Chernyshev. Chernyshev is a member of the ultranationalist faction in Duma – a Russian state entirely aligned with Putin’s vision of Russia. He added, “Tonight we can use the slogan with Mr. Trump; Yes We Did.”
His ‘we’ admission aligns with Markov’s statement about Russia’s use of Wikileaks to influence the election.
Elsewhere in the Omsk region, governor Viktor Nazarov celebrated Trump’s victory saying, “It turns out that the United Russia has won the elections in the United States!”
Despite celebrations and admissions of collusion among Russia’s elite, Vladimir Putin remained adamant he and Russian intelligence had no role in manipulating the election despite the findings of two major U.S. intelligence agencies.
For the moment it’s unknown what this will mean for Trump, for the U.S., the nation’s European allies, and particularly for members of NATO that have been placed at risk by Trump’s attacks on the strategic defense organization.
UPDATE [November 10, 2016 @ 12:15pm ET]
New developments have come about over the last 24 hours adding to this story. Russia appears to have been in direct contact with the Trump campaign throughout the election according to high ranking Russian officials. Add to that news is breaking that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant over Trumps directly-connected server with a Russian bank. Read more about it all here.
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