Russian Meddling of 2016 Presidential Election The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election was riddled with disputation with the most significant being Russia’s role in determining the outcome. Russian nationals, President Donald Trump, and members of the Trump Administration initiated cyber warfare and propaganda to change the perception of the American voters.
Vladimir’s role in the presidential electionVladimir Putin, president of Russia and former intelligence agent, played a massive role in the presidential election of 2016. Donald Trump became the President of the United States and defeated former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Vladimir instructed an influence campaign by creating an attack to criticize Hillary’s electability.
President Obama talked to Vladimir in China and told him not to intervene with the U.S. election or it would result in many repercussions to happen. Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef” has strong ties to Putin which gives Putin a bad look considering he was one of the thirteen Russian nationals arraigned for obstructing the 2016 election. Donald Trump’s role in the meddling of the president election Trump refuses to be believe Russia was the reason he won the election. In my opinion he only is saying that because he played a part of the cyberespionage of many democratic members. Trump fired the James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). According to the termination letter Trump wrote to Comey, he stated he removed him for office on behalf of Attorney General, Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General of the United States, Rod Rosenstein.
Comey was in charge of the FBI’s investigation of the altercation with Hillary and Russian’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump contradicted himself by repeatedly changing his reasons for firing Comey while talking to reporters. He said Comey was not doing his job correctly, not defending trump’s wiretap allegation against Obama, and trying to hold him personally accountable for the Russia’s meddling in the election. Comey testified amongst the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly and said Trump tried to convince him to end the investigation of Michael Flynn.
Flynn plead guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his communication with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. Trump told reporters that he never met Putin before, but that opposes the fact he indeed had met him before. This year in July, Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland for the Russia-United States summit and he accidently mixed up his words “would” and “wouldn’t” by saying “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia” instead.Jeff Sessions, Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions had previously served as a Senator out of Alabama for 20 years prior to being appointed the Attorney General of the United States by Donald Trump in February 2017. From early 2016 , as a Senator and confidant to then candidate Trump, his knowledge surrounding the Russian’s meddling in the 2016 election would be questioned and of great concern to the 2017 Russian Investigation headed by Independent Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Sessions had sworn under oath of not having any knowledge of Donald Trump’s associates having contact with Russian officials nor had he himself had any communication with any Russian officials. This would later be proven to be a discrepancy, untruth or flat out lie as Mr.
Sessions had met at least twice with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador in 2016. It is also reported that Sessions, along with Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, met with the Russian Ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. on April 27, 2016. Sessions has denied that this meeting as well as other meetings took place as best as he could recall. He said that if he did have any discussions with the Russian Ambassador it was in his role as a Senator to not include anything about the Trump campaign of 2016. However, the Russian Ambassador said that he and Sessions had discussions of substance on issues that included possible Russian-US relations if Trump became president as well as Trump’s position on Russian related issues.
Kislyak also said that he had a couple conversations with Sessions during the 2016 campaign. He said they spoke once in April of 2016 before Trump’s first foreign policy speech and another time in July of 2016 at the Republican National Convention. The accounts surrounding Session’s involvement in the 2016 Trump campaign would eventually cause the now President Trump and Sessions to fall out of good graces with one another. Trump was upset with the way Sessions handled the process of an Independent Counsel (Robert Mueller) as Trump had appointed Sessions to the highest law enforcement position in the country giving him the authority to end the investigation. Once the communication between Kislyak and Sessions became public knowledge, several Democratic leaders asked for Session’s resignation. However, Sessions gave responsibility of overseeing the Independent Counsel to his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstien. Although Sessions was in a position to control the Independent Counsel, he removed himself from direct responsibility of Independent Counselor Robert Mueller because of his involvement in the investigation. That move really upset the president as well as how Session’s was answering questions related to his involvement in the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s public dislike for Sessions grew with each of his Twitter rants and ultimately lead to him terminating Sessions as the Attorney General. This leads one to assume that because Sessions wasn’t willing to help “clean up” the “dirty work” for the President, that some Russian collusion really did take place.Jared Kushner Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner who is married to Ivanka Trump, met with a Russian lawyer during the election campaign. He denied the allegations that he went to Russia to speak about the campaign. According the Trump’s son, Donald trump Jr, he said the Jared went to Russia to talk about an adoption program. He failed to disclose having contact with Russian foreigners in his security clearance form for his investigation.
Not providing this information in the security clearance form can result in revocation and criminal punishment. Meeting at Trump Tower The meeting was held in New York City on the date of June 9, 2019. Trump Jr lied about the meeting and he was originally there to obtain information about Hillary Clinton. The meeting at trump tower included Kared, Paul Manafort, Trump Jr, Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, and other members. Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, tried to reverse the sanctions that U.S.
put on Russia using the Magnitsky Act. The Magnitsky Act is a bill signed by former President, Barack Obama in 2012, named after Sergei Magnitsky, that tax accountant from the Ukraine died in custody of a prison in Moscow. Trump Jr said Veselnitskaya was present to provide or discuss information to sabotage Hillary’s campaign.
Russia’s social media influenceThe Russians interfered with the 2016 elections using their cyber attacks and tools but one thing Russia was smart about is influencing the human minds using social media. It’s up to the people to think critically and form their own opinion. Laura Galante stated Russia is far ahead of the game without not only using a technical strategy but a psychological tactic to control us. But how can you form your own opinion or decision if Russia is manipulating the truth.
The Russians were able to target certain groups of people who were very compassionate on social media platforms like Facebook. U.S. Russia is a threat to democracy by using cyber propaganda. Cyber propaganda can be broadly defined as the use of modern electronic means to manipulate an event or influence public perception toward a certain point of view. (“Cyber propaganda 101, 2017).Leaked EmailsJohn Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s U.
S. predental campaign was one of the many democratic members subjected to a spear-phishing attack by a Russian hacking group called Fancy bear. Spear fishing targets a specific organization, individual, or business by using an email-spoofing technique to attain information and access of user’s login credentials such as their username and password. It’s extremely dangerous for login credentials to be stolen because its common that for people to use the same password for multiple accounts.
The phishing email was disguised as an alert from Google to change their password by clicking a link and the emails later on was released to WikiLeaks (Nakashima and Harris, 2018). It’s ridiculous that this attack could have been prevented if employees would have used careful judgement before opening an email, I’m certain they are aware of the consequences from security awareness training. There was an estimate of 50,000 emails linked to Podesta’s account with an assumption that some of the emails were modified. A second spear-phishing attack was launched against U.S. local government organizations.
It was an email containing a Microsoft word attachment with a document that sent out a beacon and install malware. The attacks The massive collection of emails release from WikiLeaks forced Debbie Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The email scandal consisted of embarrassing emails slandering Bernie Sanders who is the Democratic candidate running against Hillary. Schultz tried to humiliate Bernie by saying he doesn’t understand the Democratic Party and there was no guarantee he was going to be president. Hillary Clinton’s email were leaked due to her careless behavior of storing classified information in her private email server. There were no criminal charges filed against her. She should have made a separate email from personal use and for work use only.
Hillary denied any communication over email with classified information but Charles McCullough discovered she sent four messages that were classified and two emails that were top secret information (Zurcher, 2016). Donald Trump replied back to Hillary on tweeter accusing her of deleting 33,000 emails. Server HacksIn June 2016, there was suspicions that the emails of the Illinois Republican Party may have been hacked according to the FBI. At that time the FBI didn’t implicate Russia as being the culprit; however, they didn’t rule out their possible involvement either.
It wasn’t until December 2016 did the FBI confirm Russia’s attempts to access the Republican National Convention’s servers. Their attempt was unsuccessful, but it did put Russia’s activity efforts to access a major United States political party’s information on the radar of the FBI. It was during this time that it was discovered that the Democratic National Convention’s email servers had been successfully hacked. This could have been a coincidence that Trump, the Republican candidate, was safe while the information of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, was vulnerable because of the access to her party’s servers based on the successful hack. Following a leak of several emails from the Democratic National Committee, the FBI launched an investigation in July 2016 to figure who had hacked their emails. This process continued through October 2016 but did not produce any direct links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Although the FBI had its suspicions concerning Russia’s involvement, there still wasn’t any “smoking gun” information at that time. The FBI suspected that Russia was trying to undermine or disrupt the confidence of the American people in the United States political process as opposed to supporting the Trump campaign. It wasn’t until December 2016 did the CIA announce that it was certain that Russia however did intend on helping Trump win the election. It was then that the CIA Director John O.
Brennan, the FBI Director James Comey and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper all agreed that Russia had indeed interfered with the presidential election with the intent of helping Donald Trump win the presidency. James Comey explained that Russia did succeed in gaining some information from targets that were affiliated with the Republican Party in January of 2017, but he never mentioned it to the public.