CyberWisdom Safe Harbor Commentary:
President Donald Trump replaces John Bolton, who appointed H.R. McMaster and appointed his national security adviser, may bring a completely different approach to the Russian election intervention in the White House.
In their public commentary, McMaster and Bolton made a stark contrast in their participation in the involvement of Moscow in the 2016 presidential election hacking and phishing. Although McMaster has taken a tough stance in accusing Moscow of planning a digital disruption campaign, Bolton has made headlines because he questions the role of Russia.
In fact, McMaster’s remarks on this issue led to the tension between him and the president spreading to the public.
McMaster announced at the February meeting in Munich that Russia’s evidence for intervention in the 2016 election was “uncontroversial”.
Trump fiercely attacked on Twitter: “General McMaster has forgotten that the results of the 2016 election have not been affected or changed by the Russians. The only collusion is that Russia and China, DNC, and Demu. Dirty files, uranium, speeches, emails and Podesta! ”
In contrast, Bolton George W. Bush’s former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations – skeptical of evidence of hacking contacts between the Russian and Democratic National Committees – indicates that the Obama administration blamed the Kremlin for political goals.
In December 2016, when Bolton was appointed as a possible Under Secretary of State, the former diplomat suggested that the digital footprint left behind by DNC could be a “fake flag.”
“If you think that Russians do that, why did they leave fingerprints?” he asked in an interview with Fox News.
“We just don’t know,” Bolton said. “But I believe the intelligence community has been largely politicized in the Obama administration.”
Bolton later clarified that he was not trying to imply that the Obama administration had false evidence. Since then he has changed his tune and acknowledged that Moscow has played a part.
Despite this, his remarks also echoed Trump’s attitude toward the intelligence community’s conclusions. Trump continues to be ambiguous on this topic and seldom explicitly states that Russia was behind the digital invasion of DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
“For hackers, I think this is Russia,” Trump said at his first press conference as president. “I think we are also hacked by other countries and others.”
The president also often accused the intelligence agencies of using information to politically harm him.
Just last November, following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump said: “When Putin sees me, he says ‘I didn’t do that’. I believe – when he told me, I really believe what he meant. ”
After that meeting, Bolton did say that he thought Putin “looked at Donald Trump and lied to him.”
“Everyone who has seen confidential information says that there is no doubt that Russians are trying to influence elections,” Bolton said in an interview with Fox News. “This is unacceptable to all Americans.”
Scott Olson/Getty Images John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, could bring a vastly different approach on Russia’s election meddling to the White House. In their public comments, McMaster and Bolton have presented a stark contrast in their views on Moscow’s involvement in the hacks and online trolling that roiled the 2016 presidential election. While McMaster has taken a hard-line stance in blaming Moscow for orchestrating the digital disruption campaign, Bolton has made headlines by casting doubt on Russia’s role. In fact, it was McMaster’s remarks on the subject that caused his strained relationship with the president to spill into public view. Speaking at a February conference in Munich, McMaster proclaimed that evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections was “incontrovertible.” Trump lashed out on Twitter in response: “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” Conversely, Bolton — a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration — has cast doubt on the evidence linking Russia to the Democratic National Committee hack, suggesting that the Obama administration was blaming the Kremlin for political purposes. Engaging post, Read More…
thumbnail courtesy of politico.com
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