James Clapper the US director of National intelligence has promised a full report on the hack that was perpetrated on the servers of the Democrat national committee, but has preliminarily backed the idea that it was a state sponsored attack from Russia, and has claimed that Russia provide an “existential threat” to the US. Though he has also claimed that the election numbers themselves were not affected. He did note that there was no way of being sure on whether the hack may have swayed votes cast for Donald Trump.
This moves the goalposts somewhat in that Clapper will now be in direct contrast to America’s President elect Donald Trump. Trump who has claimed that the attack could have come from anywhere has taken to Twitter to confirm that he supports the intelligence services in the US.
But all of this does leave the President elect in a tough spot. He’s currently trying to repair poor American relations with Russia, but at what cost? It is unlikely that even before he enters the White House he wants to be at odds with his own intelligence community. Hacking was confirmed during the election process and even at the time the US intelligence community pinpointed that the attacks had come from Russia. Clapper seems even more sure now saying “We stand actually more resolutely on the strength of that statement,”.
It will also cause issues in the Republican party, who are split on how to deal with Russia. With several leading politicians calling for tougher sanctions on the state than those implemented by outgoing President Barack Obama. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had noted that Obama’s sanctions were like throwing a pebble, and stated that he was ready to “throw a rock”
The whole row has put Trump inbetween a rock and a hard place as he tries to find a happy medium. Setting his stool out as a strong leader means that he is unlikely to want to lose face on either front. How he manages to achieve that feat will be anyone’s guess. But once he enters the fray on January the 20th he will then have the reins, and will need to choose his friends, and certainly his enemies very wisely. Otherwise the early thawing that had been noted between Trump and Vladimir Putin may well freeze right back over again.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.