Barack Obama will hold a press conference tomorrow at 2:30 pm EST, before his family heads on their annual (well-earned) vacation to Hawaii. We can hope for something important tomorrow as the White House has now made the following statements about Russia's election hacks:
- Putin was involved.
- Trump knew about it.
- Clinton, and Democrats in general, were the targets.
Despite the heartbreak of Hillary Clinton's loss and the absurdity of a Trump presidency, the Obama administration has emphasized from the day after the election the importance of a smooth transition from his administration to Trump's.
Here's White House press secretary Josh Earnest, partially in response to Trump's Tweeted suggestion that this whole Russian hacking thing somehow only came up after the election result came in:
“It was obvious to everyone who was paying attention,” he said, “including the gentleman whose thumbs authored that tweet, that the impact of that malicious activity benefited the Trump campaign and hurt the Clinton campaign.
“That is, after all, why the president-elect called on Russia to hack Secretary Clinton’s email.
“That is presumably why the coverage of the hack-and-leak operation that Russia carried out was focused on emails from the Democratic party and Clinton campaign staffers and not the Republican party and Trump campaign staffers.”
He added: “That is why, in the day leading up to election day, the Republican nominee himself was encouraging people to check out WikiLeaks. He thought it would help his campaign.
“And he knew that when people went to WikiLeaks, they weren’t going to find damaging information about [his allies] Steve Bannon or Reince Priebus or the RNC [Republican National Committee].”
Writer and editor Elias Itzkovitz (byline also Elias Isquith) believes the White House is signaling a last minute change of priorities -- investigating the Russia hack is more important than details of the transition. This post is based on his reasoning and reporting, which I find credible. Trump's business dealings in Russia (along with those of his associates), his public man-crush on Putin, and his cheering the hacks from sidelines just make it likely that he or his campaign actually colluded with the hackers, one way or another. It needs to be investigated and because Trump is moving into a position where he would be able to quash any inquiry, it needs to be investigated quickly, publicly and now, right up until he utters the last word of his oath and formally takes power.
The transition is the sideshow here. It's not some sacred thing. The truth is more important.