Stevenson: Keep pushing for investigation into Russia’s meddling


During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton inflamed the ire of Donald Trump’s supporters by describing some of them as a “basket of deplorables.” Since the surprise win of Donald Trump on Nov. 8, many of us have joined the basket of inconsolables. Each morning we wake up and remember: “Oh, (expletive)!”

Sixty-seven percent of Travis County voters chose Clinton, so in Austin we are part of a large basket. Across the nation, we are the majority, with Hillary Clinton gaining more than 2.7 million votes over Donald Trump. Some of us have sworn off social media and the news; others retreat into Pantsuit Nation or hold onto thin hope for Jill Stein’s recounts or for more electors to go rogue. Now is the time to unite against Putingate.

Certain Republicans chide us as whiners. “We lived under eight years of Obama, and we didn’t like it. Move on.” Then again, the CIA didn’t raise questions that Russian hacking specifically aimed for Trump to win his election. And Trump is no ordinary Republican president. Although I didn’t vote for Reagan or Bush, I respected them as presidents. They had public service records, were men with a moral compass and took their intelligence briefings seriously. They did not treat the Oval Office as a reality TV show.

Rather than taking the CIA reports of Russian election meddling seriously, here’s what Donald Trump’s transition office said: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” exhorting us that the election is over and to move on. This response is vintage Trump: When anyone says anything you don’t like, attack the messenger. Whether it’s Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, Boeing, Captain Khan’s parents, or the CIA, our president elect exacts revenge through insulting tweets.

These latest allegations of Russian interference in our election should send warning tremors throughout our nation, both red and blue counties. As Sen. Marco Rubio said as he counseled Republicans about the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta on Oct. 19: “Tomorrow it could be us.”

I’m expecting every Republican who criticized Obama for being too soft on Russia — and every Republican who pursued hearing after hearing over Benghazi — to immediately support congressional hearings to get to the bottom of Putingate. I am not conspiracy-theory prone, but learning that Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is the new Trump favorite for Secretary of State only adds alarm and suspicion to Trump’s cozy connection with Vladimir Putin and the Russian autocracy.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper No. 68 about the crafting of our Constitution: “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

Our very form of government was designed to prevent against foreign meddling and influence. As a nation we must come together to discover the exact extent of the Russian interference in our presidential election. Trump may have won this round, but does anyone seriously doubt the havoc descending upon our nation if Trump’s own communications are hacked when he is president? Let’s investigate now. We have common cause.



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