Quantcast
Connect with us

Here’s what we know about the unreleased RNC election hacks

Published

on

Republicans so far have given little indication they’re willing to doggedly pursue an investigation of President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, and their reaction to FBI director James Comey’s firing has been relatively muted.

Statements by Senate Republicans on Comey’s ouster has run the gamut from angry to enthusiastic, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put a lid on Democratic calls for a special prosecutor.

ADVERTISEMENT

The simplest explanation for GOP disinterest in Trump’s possible connections to Russia and its president, obviously, is partisanship.

Trump is a Republican president with GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, and a conservative-leaning Supreme Court, so they apparently don’t feel enough pressure from the 73 percent of Americans who back an independent investigation to actually set that process in motion.

But another possible explanation — blackmail — has bubbled around the edges of the discussion.

U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Russia directed the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign members last year, in what investigators believe was a targeted effort intended to aid Trump.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Russian hackers also stole emails and other data from the Republican National Committee that haven’t been released.

“The worst possibility is that the Russians are holding back what they’ve stolen from the RNC because it’s valuable enough to keep in reserve until the president-elect is sworn in,” Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, told The Daily Beast back in December. “This is a frankly terrifying possibility.”

Some of the speculation about their contents (Republicans engineered Benghazi, for example) could make “House of Cards” writers blush, but little is actually about known what was stolen, or even how much.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comey told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in January that Russian hackers had penetrated the RNC’s computer records, but he told lawmakers that the breach was “limited” to old computer systems that were “no longer in use.”

The hackers also broke into state-level GOP organizations and campaigns, Comey said.

“There was evidence that there was hacking directed at state-level organizations and the RNC, but old domains of the RNC, that is, email domains they were no longer using,” Comey testified Jan. 10. “Information was harvested from there, but it was old stuff. None of that was released.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The then-FBI director didn’t reveal many details about the stolen data, which came from the Tennessee-based Smartech Corporation used by the RNC to host websites and manage donor lists.

Federal investigators said a single email server used by the contractor was penetrated, but it was going out of service and contained outdated material of questionable value.

Sources told the New York Times in January that that the server had been used by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ), two of the more vocal critics of Trump among Senate Republicans.

ADVERTISEMENT

Comey told lawmakers that hackers used “spear-phishing,” which tricks victims into giving up passwords and other credentials, against the Republicans, just as they had against Democrats.

He wasn’t sure whether the hackers had tried to break into the Trump campaign or more current RNC servers, but those did not appear to have been compromised.

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency believed the same Russian officials were behind the hacks of the DNC and the RNC.

ADVERTISEMENT

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence for the Obama administration, said Russians gathered information from both Democratic and Republican sources, although they gathered less on the GOP.

That helped inform the conclusion that Russia favored Trump over Clinton, various officials have said.

But a variety of top officials have warned Republicans that may not always be the case.

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Whistleblower hands House Dems evidence of ‘inappropriate’ interference on Trump’s tax returns

Published

on

A federal employee turned over “credible” evidence to House Democrats of possible “inappropriate efforts to influence” the IRS presidential audit process, House lawyers said in a court filing Tuesday.

In July, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., sued Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin after the latter rejected the panel’s request for six years of Trump’s tax returns. On Tuesday, House lawyers cited the new evidence in a motion asking a federal judge to rule without trial that the Treasury Department is required by law to turn over the president’s tax returns.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Manic, unhinged and unnerving’: MSNBC host warns that Trump’s erratic behavior has ‘crossed the threshold’

Published

on

MSNBC guest host John Heilemann warned on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s behavior has been “manic, unhinged, and unnerving” in recent days — and some fear it will only get worse.

Heilemann was filling in for Nicolle Wallace on “Deadline: White House.”

He noted at the top of the show that Trump’s behavior has driven a consensus this week that he’s even less even-keeled than usual — which is saying a lot.

“The world is reeling and offering a collective judgment of O-M-G and W-T-F,” Heilmann said. He then played a clip of Trump’s bizarre, belligerent, and blatantly racist comments. He claimed that “no one can be trusted,” that Jews who vote for Democrats are “disloyal,” and that he is “the Chosen One.”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

Published

on

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image