The President-elect Donald Trump has been discounting CIA data indicating that to a very high certainty Russia has hacked U. S. institutions.
There are questions as to Russia’s specific motives and which U.S. websites were penetrated, but most U.S. congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle, as well as the CIA, the FBI and all the intelligence agencies agree that Russia did in fact, hack the Democratic campaign related web sites in order to undermine the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign season.
The republican President-elect Donald Trump and his team keep pushing back on even this basic consensus. On 12/9/16 the president -elect’s team made public his thoughts in the following statement: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.” He keeps dismissing out of hand the real probability that the Russians were involved in any hacking within the U.S. with words like, “I don’t believe they interfered…The hacking could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
What the president-elect does not know is that the U.S. intelligence community today is different from what it was from 2001-2004. In response to past intelligence failures, U.S. congress representatives on a bipartisan way , came together to consider reforms after many hours of investigations as to what were the shortcomings in the intelligence world that led to poor results. What developed was the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
As per Wikipedia, The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA) is a 235-page Act of Congress, signed by President George W. Bush, that broadly affects United States federal terrorism laws. In juxtaposition with the single-subject rule, the act is composed of several separate titles with varying subject issues. where the positions of DCI and DDCI were abolished, and the job of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) was established. This act also established both the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
The following information is about Mr. Trump’s 2 past campaign workers who left during the summer 2016 due to questions about their Russian connections. They are Carter Page and Paul Manafort.
As per Ballot-pedia, “On September 26, 2016, Page stepped down from Trump’s campaign. Page’s resignation came amid speculation that he had engaged in discussions with top officials in the Russian government while in Moscow for a July speech 2016. According to Yahoo News, U.S. intelligence officials were investigating allegations that Page had “talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president.” Shortly after the accusations were made, Page left the campaign. He denied the allegations to The Washington Post, saying, “All the ones that are mentioned in the various articles, I didn’t meet with any of those guys. It’s completely false and inconceivable that someone would even accuse me of that.” Page then said he would leave the campaign to avoid further distractions.”
Mr. Manafort Trump’s campaign chair and chief strategist, resigned his position on August 19, 2016, also due to questions surrounding his Russian connections.“
In August 2016, The New York Times reported that Manafort, then Trump’s campaign manager, may have illegally received $12.7 million from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions (pro-Russian candidate; Manafort has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Richard Hibey, said his client never received any such payments. Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign not long after the article ran. According to information obtained from inside Russia by Western intelligence, Putin later met with Yanukovych in secret near Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad. Yanukovych assured Putin there was no documentary trail showing payments to Manafort, although Putin told associates he did not believe the Ukrainian president, according to the information obtained by the Western intelligence source.”
Ukrainian political expert Oleg Kravchenko wrote what she knows regarding Paul Manafort for PolitiFact on 5/2/16, “Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s top adviser, and his ties to pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.”
Manafort’s entry into Ukrainian politics
Ukrainian political experts say Manafort, 67, was first hired to work in Ukraine more than a decade ago by the country’s wealthiest businessman, Rinat Akhmetov. Akhmetov, a steel and iron ore magnate, is worth an estimated $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.
Officially, Manafort advised Akhmetov in 2005 on a corporate communication strategy for one of his companies, System Capital Management.
Akhmetov, however, also was a supporter of Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s prime minister, a leader of the Party of Regions and an ally of Vladimir Putin. Yanukovych became president in 2010, but fled under escort to Russia after Ukraine’s 2014 revolution.
Akhmetov told journalists that Manafort was recommended to him by an American law firm. According to information from Mustafa Nayyem, a former Ukrainian journalist and currently a member of parliament, Manafort was a protege of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian businessman with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion.
Manafort’s work for Viktor Yanukovych
Experts say Manafort was unofficially invited to consult on Yanukovych’s first presidential campaign in December 2004, in the days of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.
Yanukovych was competing with pro-Western opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who was poisoned by dioxin during the campaign.
Once Yanukovych was announced as a winner, massive protests exploded. Eventually the results of the original runoff were invalidated and a re-vote was ordered.
As sources in Yanukovych’s circle claimed, Manafort was asked to “save” Yanukovych’s campaign and improve his image just two weeks before the new vote.
However, the American strategist said it was too late to change the situation. Yanukovych failed.
Manafort then was hired for the 2006 parliamentary elections campaign to help Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. According to Mustafa Nayyem, Yanukovych and Manafort first met one-to-one in the Czech resort town of Karlovy Vary.
The meeting was arranged by Akhmetov, who wanted Yanukovych to work with an American to repair his image as opposed to Gleb Pavlovsky, a Russian who advised Putin until 2011.
Akhmetov’s camp insisted on a partnership with American consultants. Other parts of Yanukovych’s team preferred the idea of collaborating with the Russians.
Akhmetov won out.
“It was advantageous for the defeated Yanukovych’s team to find a guilty one,” Pavlovsky told PolitiFact.
The relationship lasted for years leading up to Yanukovych’s 2010 presidential campaign. Manafort made Yanukovych look more respectable, working with stylists and consultants to redesign his image.
“The political consultant had another important mission — to move Yanukovych closer to Washington. Yanukovych’s team wanted a photo of President Barack Obama with Yanukovych to show that Ukraine’s president was respected in the West.
“It was a weird thing for the people in Ukraine, because they could not imagine how an American strategist agreed to cooperate with Putin’s friend. It was confusing. But Manafort played a decisive role in the victory of Yanukovych,” Ukrainian political expert Oleg Kravchenko told us.
“Manafort’s work for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions was kept out of the media as Ukrainian politicians feared of accusations of meddling by the United States. They signed confidentiality agreements to protect the arrangement, and Manafort would not comment on his cooperation with Ukrainian politicians. He refused interviews from Ukrainian journalists, saying he was not a public figure. It’s unclear if Manafort speaks Ukrainian or Russian, but reporters would spot him at the posh InterContinental Kyiv hotel.”
“In an April 24, 2016, interview on Fox News Sunday, Manafort described his role in Ukraine as helping align Yanukovych and his administration with Western interests.”
“It is unclear how much money Paul Manafort earned while working in Ukraine because campaign payments are not public information. Mustafa Nayyem, the Ukrainian member of parliament, says the American strategist could have made anywhere from $2 million to $20 million during the 2006 parliamentary campaigns alone.”
“Ukrainian political analyst Igor Kushnir said it’s not unique for Manafort to work with a variety of politicians who hold different alliances.”
“Some Ukrainians believe Paul Manafort remains active in local politics. After Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014, Manafort reportedly continued to work with Serhiy Lyovochkin, a former head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine for Yanukovych. He also still cooperates with the remnants of the Party of Regions, now called the Opposition Block.”