In the ongoing saga of the Russian hacking of the 2016 US election, President Obama has piled sanctions on Russia, expelling 35 of the nation’s diplomats as new details further call the election’s legitimacy into question.
US intelligence agencies have discovered concrete evidence tying their Russian counterparts in the FSB and GRU to malicious spyware sent to thousands of US officials. The resulting breach of DNC communications involved the disclosure of embarrassing exchanges that – while seemingly unsavory – reflected quotidian practices in modern political campaigning.
As David Frum writes in the Atlantic, the revelations – in conjunction with Trump’s flippant dismissal of foreign meddling in the US electoral process – are “delegitimizing”:
The president-elect of the United States reportedly owes his office in considerable part to illegal clandestine activities in his favor conducted by a hostile, foreign spy service. It’s hard to imagine a crisis of presidential legitimacy more extreme than that.
The FBI has released an exhaustive report detailing the hacking, as well as the evidence linking Russian agents to the cyber attack on US sovereignty.
Sane conservative voices have called Trump out for his reckless dismissal of the revelations, including independent presidential challenger Evan McMullin:
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) December 29, 2016
As Trump stumbles through the transition process, presenting strange and error-ridden press releases and angering foreign powers with egregious faux-pas, the single least popular incoming president in history faces a rough road ahead. Potential indictments, impeachment proceedings, and vigorous opposition: the incompetent Trump’s self-satisfaction with November’s result will likely be short-lived.