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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A main refrain from Democrats these days (and the scraggly band of Never Trumpers, apparently now led by Sen. John McCain) remains how the Russians “hacked the election.” Observers understand this is meant to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump, but what it also exposes is the rank hypocrisy of crusty and desperate political operatives and federal bureaucrats.

After all, under President Obama the United States has not only been interfering in other countries’ elections, the State Department has used taxpayer dollars to do so, as Mr. Obama has gone to one nation to personally harass and threaten voters in a country not his own.


Having the pleasure of being on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last Sunday, the first question I was asked by host John Dickerson was about the Russians “hacked our election” narrative. My response was a reminder: The Russians didn’t hack into the election, they appear to have hacked into the Democratic National Committee.

That’s a big difference, as all investigations agree upon one thing: No one accessed or manipulated the actual voting process or the machines. The scandal surrounds the argument that the Russians meddled by releasing damaging information about Hillary Clinton, unleashing a social media troll army to disparage her, and the use of media to cast doubt on the election itself.

Pretty much what the Democrats are doing to Donald Trump since he won the election.

While all of us are appalled at the idea that any foreign nation would interfere in our election, one of the great questions among both Republicans and Democrats has been, why didn’t Mr. Obama act at the time on signs that Russia was active in trying to influence voters?

Two electoral news items broke in July 2016: On July 12, a Washington Post headline read, “NGO connected to Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. tax dollars trying to oust Netanyahu.” Their story detailed the findings of a Senate subcommittee investigation that confirmed “allegations that an NGO with connections to President Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. taxpayer dollars attempting to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015.”

The story was lost in the middle of presidential primary season, but then a mere 10 days later on July 22, WikiLeaks published a trove of emails from the hacked Democratic National Committee — emails which exposed, among other things, the DNC favoring Mrs. Clinton over her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as the sycophantic relationship the Democrats enjoyed with mainstream media.

Apparent Russian involvement in the hacking of the DNC and attempt to influence voters has driven calls for the U.S. to retaliate and, in fact, Mr. Obama has issued sanctions against various Russian officials as a result.

Yet, in its July article, The Washington Post reported Mr. Obama’s administration had used $350,000 U.S. taxpayer dollars to interfere beyond basic media propaganda in Israel’s national election.

“Among the [Senate] report’s most damning findings, evidence was found that the “durable campaign resources” built during the grant with taxpayer dollars included “a larger voter contact database, a professionally trained network of grass-roots activists across the country, and an enhanced social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. [Grant recipient] OneVoice was even permitted to use State Department funds to hire an American political consulting firm called 270 Strategies — run by Obama 2008 campaign veterans — to train its activists in how to execute a ‘grass-roots mobilization’ campaign,” The Post explained.

Moreover, Free Beacon reported at the time equally disturbing behavior: “The [Senate] investigation determined that OneVoice redirected State Department funds to anti-Netanyahu efforts and that U.S. officials subsequently erased emails containing information about the administration’s relationship with the nonprofit group.”

And then there’s Brexit, also in summer 2016. Mr. Obama personally traveled to London in an effort to influence the vote to “stay or leave” the European Union. At a public appearance, the president of the United States threatened British voters, “The U.K. is going to be in the back of the queue,” for trade deals with the U.S. if they dared to vote “leave,” The Hill reported.

Beyond the fact that the Obama administration itself was engaging in foreign election interference, there were other reasons why our government did nothing to address the meddling.

In December, CNN reported its investigation found a variety of reasons why the Obama administration allowed the Russian “hacking” to go unanswered, including fear of wider Russian cyber-retaliation to “vulnerable” U.S. infrastructure systems and concern about impacting negotiations with Russia over Syria.

Ultimately, CNN reported, “Administration officials were sure Trump would lose in November and they were worried about giving him any reason to question the election results.”

In other words, the Obama administration’s situational ethics amounts to a transactional relationship with the United States itself: Our national security would only be defended if it was politically convenient.

So as the legacy media, Democratic Party operatives and establishment bureaucrats continue to decry Russian meddling during an election (as we all do) one might argue that the Russians were inspired by Mr. Obama himself, providing another highlight of our feckless president’s propensity to screw things up and make things worse for us.

• Tammy Bruce, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.


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