The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday largely endorsed the findings of the intelligence community that Russia sought to sway the 2016 U.S. elections through a hacking and influence campaign, and they called for a “more aggressive, whole-of-government approach” to ensure future elections are not similarly compromised.
“There is consensus among members and staff that we trust the conclusions of the ICA,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the committee’s chairman, said at Wednesday news conference, referring to the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind hackings of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign director John Podesta’s email account and had attempted to exploit public opinion by sowing false information, much of it through fake social media accounts.
“But we don’t close our consideration of it,” he added.
Burr also said that “the issue of collusion is still open” and would not be resolved until the committee’s work was done. He said that a deadline for the committee was the looming start of the 2018 primary season.
Nothing to see here, move along.
* Jesse Eisinger, Justin Elliott, Andrea Bernstein, and Ilya Marritz report on how Ivanka and Donny Jr. really are chips off the old block:
In the spring of 2012, Donald Trump’s two eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., found themselves in a precarious legal position. For two years, prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office had been building a criminal case against them for misleading prospective buyers of units in the Trump SoHo, a hotel and condo development that was failing to sell. Despite the best efforts of the siblings’ defense team, the case had not gone away. An indictment seemed like a real possibility. The evidence included emails from the Trumps making clear that they were aware they were using inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to lure buyers.
In one email, according to four people who have seen it, the Trumps discussed how to coordinate false information they had given to prospective buyers. In another, according to a person who read the emails, they worried that a reporter might be onto them. In yet another, Donald Jr. spoke reassuringly to a broker who was concerned about the false statements, saying that nobody would ever find out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception, according to a person who saw the email.
But it has a happy ending: Daddy’s lawyer went over the heads of the prosecutors working the case to the D.A., and they got off scot free!
* Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim report that a growing number of Republican senators feel they have nothing to fear when they oppose the president.
* Max Fisher and Amanda Taub explain three ways America is unique in the world when it comes to guns.
* Martin Longman ponders the fact that Republicans and Trump will never, ever act on guns, no matter how bad the slaughter gets, and suggests this hints at broader and more ominous political dysfunction to come.
* Brian Beutler, who just settled into a new gig at Crooked Media (congrats all around!) weighs in with his first post, which peers deep into the seemingly bottomless pit of bad faith that is the GOP’s approach to policy.
* Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter report on a program that takes low-level drug offenders and turns them into indentured servants in chicken factories, in the name of “rehab.”