You're asking a different question than most people are talking about. This could just be genuine confusion on your part but it could also be an attempt to "move the goalposts". We know for a fact that the Russians interfered in the American election. They did so by running propaganda campaigns that included stealing emails as well as covert social media campaigns and fake news spread through their state sponsored media. What we don't know, and really can't know, is whether this intervention had any impact. Given the slim nature of Trumps victory, with margins of victory as low as 0.25% in some crucial states, I don't think it's absurd to imagine that this campaign could have influenced the outcome. But in some ways that's irrelevant. We don't excuse bad behavior just because it didn't work. If a terrorist tries to set off a bomb but it's a dud we don't say"no harm no foul" and let the guy go. We put him in jail. Similarly we can't excuse the Russian interference in our election. It needs to be dealt with and we need to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The more speculative element is whether the Trump campaign was involved at all in this Russian campaign. We know for a fact that Russia wanted to work with the Trump campaign and was trying to organize a collaboration. We also know that the Trump campaign had an incredibly large number of contacts with Russian officials, and that almost every major member of the campaign has lied about these contacts at one point or another. Now we don't know whether anything improper came from these contacts but we do know that some major figures in the campaign were not only willing, but were eager to collaborate with the Russians on an illegal influence campaign and, in fact, committed a felony while looking to do so (the meeting Don Jr had with the Russians was an illegal violation of campaign finance law, which forbids soliciting anything of value from a foreigner for use in an election). All of this is highly suggestive of guilt, but there's no conclusive evidence as of yet. If there was, this would obviously be hugely significant. Trump working with the Russians, a hostile foreign government, would be the biggest act of treason in American history, dwarfing even Benedict Arnold.
· 10 months ago