Cambridge Analytica’s exploitation of private data from 50 million Facebook users is a significant development for the Russia investigation.
In light of reports that the Special Counsel has recently subpoenaed President Trump’s business records, a move that Trump has previously described as crossing a “red line” (despite having no authority to draw such lines), recent rumors of Attorney General Sessions’ possible firing take on new urgency. These rumors include speculation that Trump may be planning to replace Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. In addition to the numerous other questions this would raise, the move would also be an unlawful attempt to impede the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.
Last night, the Democratic Minority on the House Intelligence Committee released a revealing 21-page report providing an update on the status of the investigation. The document underscores the glaring gaps in the Committee’s investigation.
The House Intelligence Committee says it is wrapping up interviews related to the Russian probe just days after new reporting revealed that a Trump associate lied to the committee. From the very beginning House Republicans have used their control of the Intelligence Committee to run interference for President Trump rather than investigate a foreign adversary’s attack on America’s democracy.
President Trump’s own intelligence chiefs and Department of Justice have laid out in stark terms the enormous scope of the Russian attack on our democracy, and made clear that it continues as we speak. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee, "Frankly, the United States is under attack," adding that "there should be no doubt that [Putin] views the past effort as successful.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed Russia’s “informational warfare against the United States,” resulting in indictments of 13 Russian individuals and 3 Russian businesses, detailing a sprawling million-dollar-a-month campaign to sow discord in America and support the election of President Trump.
Deterrence only works if it is credible: The actor threatening retaliation has to be seen as willing to carry it out. By refusing to implement Russia sanctions mandated by Congress despite tremendous political pressure to do so, the administration has sent a clear message: Don’t worry about sanctions, the United States won’t follow through.