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December 20, 2016 09:31 AM UTC

What's Gardner's Game on Russian Election Hacking?

  • by: Colorado Pols
Cory Gardner, Donald Trump.

As Politico’s Burgess Everett reports, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, fresh from concern trolling about nonexistent “riots” after Donald Trump’s Electoral College formality yesterday, might be acting out of something like genuine concern over reports of Russian state-sponsored intervention in the 2016 elections.

Or, as readers can decide for themselves, maybe not:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) told POLITICO he would introduce a bill that, if passed, would mandate a new select Senate committee on cybersecurity. The move could intensify pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who so far has resisted appointing a select committee on cybersecurity. He insists the chamber’s traditional committees, led by the intelligence panel, should handle the issue.

Gardner’s move came a day after GOP Sens. McCain (R-Ariz.) and Graham (R-S.C.), along with incoming Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), called for a special panel in a bipartisan letter to McConnell. It’s unclear, however, how extensive GOP support will be for a select committee, since any Republicans who get behind the proposal will be implicitly siding with the Democratic Senate leader instead of their own…

On the one hand, Gardner is making noise about an issue that, on balance, most Republicans would prefer to let expire on its own as quickly as possible. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is on record opposing Gardner’s proposal for a new cybersecurity committee, and other GOP committee leaders in the Senate are reluctant to cede any of their own power to some new committee.

But there’s a larger problem with Gardner’s bill to create a new cybersecurity committee in the Senate to investigate attacks like the apparent Russian intelligence operation to disrupt the 2016 election in support of Donald Trump.

Is Gardner setting up a way to bury any specific investigation of what happened in 2016?

Gardner, who is close with McConnell, took pains to cast his proposal as far broader than the Russian hacking of U.S. election officials. [Pols emphasis] His hope is to introduce the bill with bipartisan cosponsors early next year.

“From North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures to Iran’s attack on a New York dam, it’s evident that we are facing a growing cybersecurity challenge. The nature and complexity of recent cyber-attacks require a whole of government approach to cyberspace and the development of federal policy to mitigate the threat and protect everything from personal information to the security of our critical infrastructure,” Gardner said in a statement.

The fact is, we are probably never going to get a “Benghazi Committee” to look into what happened in the 2016 elections out of a Republican-controlled Congress. The difference in the response to this potentially very large scandal and the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya from the Republican-controlled Congress obviously does not make them look good, but it is what it is.

What’s important for Colorado to understand is that Gardner’s committee may do more to obfuscate the truth about this specific incident than to uncover it. It might not, and if an impartial and comprehensive investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 elections actually happens as a result of something Sen. Gardner does, we’ll be the first to apologize. But Gardner’s vague expressions of concern over Russian hacking during this election have never once mentioned what the intelligence points to above all.

That is, the motive.


20 thoughts on “What’s Gardner’s Game on Russian Election Hacking?

  1. Cory can do what he feels will keep himself in office, and as we have seen it can be as solid a stance as his hero, Comrade Trump.  Soon to have the Kremlin on the Mall as his Washington base of operations.

    The elections are over, we can use an investigation to understand the penetration and extent of Russian break in.  What we need is an investigation into how deep Putin penetrated Comrade Trump and if there is treason involved.

  2. It is my understanding that the Russian hacking consisted of the Podesta Emails and the DNC hack, correct? Being the tin-foil hatter I am I kept up with each email dump and even the batshit crazy ass conspiracy freaks were generally unimpressed with the dumps – nobody seemed to find a "smoking gun" or proof of a child sex scandal, no nail in the coffin for Hillary and an overall "meh" about the data dumps entirely. Many conspiracy sites criticised Wikileaks for grandstanding and never coming up with the goods, and thought Assange was grasping at empty data to stay relevant. 

    Yet currently these dumps are being attributed as the sole source of Hillary's loss? Did I miss a groundbreaking email dump that exposed something so damming that it would cost her the election? If the Putin attempt to meddle in U.S. politics consisted solely on the above published info, we should be laughing because he sucks at it and his feeble attempt was unable to sway even the hungry nut jobbers ready and waiting to pounce….

    I would think Comey was far more damaging. Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill was more powerful than "pizza-gate", right?

    What information do you guys think came from the Russian hacks (not trying to say it was not Russia) that cost Hillary the election?

    1. Russian hackers didn't cost Hillary the election. HRC lost the election because of widespread voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Without the protection of the Voting Rights Act, millions of voters across the country were unable to exercise their fundamental right to vote.  Voters showed up, were not able to vote, or had to vote on provisional ballots, which were, in some cases, never counted.


      300,000 voters in Wisconsin lacked the strict new voter IDs to vote. This kept black people and students from being able to vote, in many cases.

      Polling place closures in these states kept voters from being able to vote. Again, this disproportionately affected poor people and minorities. In North Carolina, for example,  turnout of black voters was down 16%.


      In Pennsylvania, which had a strict voter ID law invalidated, poll workers didn't get the message, and systematically turned voters without drivers licenses away from the polls. This was also the state for which Trump asked his supporters to go "watch" people at polling places.

      This also happened in Michigan. Exit polls didn't match in Michigan. As we know, that recount was halted, but there were some irregularities in ballot counting.

      Ohio voters lost their opportunity to vote early and to update their registrations. A million Ohio voters did not get their absentee ballots in the mail. That is the kind of thing hackers could have an impact on; however, I blame GOP partisans. A million Ohio voters were purged from the voter rolls. Guess who was affected most?

      I don't think it's a coincidence that Colorado, with its "gold standard" of all-mail ballots counted by neutral machines inspected by bipartisan groups and operated by neutral government employees, had one of the largest voter turnouts and margins of victory for HRC in the country.

      Russia promoted propaganda from the Wikileaks emails in a partisan way. They definitely hacked the DNC, which would have given them access to a huge voter database, which in case you hadn't figured it out, hurts your privacy as much as anyone's.  Anyone who has ever entered data for a campaign knows that it contains all kinds of very personal information (household members, voting history, ethnicity, affiliate groups, cell phone numbers, past addresses).

      Wikileaks had dirt on Republicans, too, but chose not to publish it. We don't know if there was further interference, as that information is still classified, and Mitch McConnell has kiboshed a bipartisan investigation. So we may never know. Does that give you confidence in your government, Mr. Trump voter?


      1. You and Negev have the strongest arguments on the election results (notwithstanding Russia's participation in propagating fake news and the cumulative effects of 'drip drip drip').  Nearly 24 million early voters were cast between the time Comey announced the re-opening of the investigation and the time he said, "Meh….." That alone was likely enough to put the nail in Hillary's chances – but Mama's stats are equally as important and as-damning.  Voter suppression is a very effective tool for the Repubs.  Unfortunately, they are very good at it.  

        1. Russia's interference probably had an effect on people who were undecided in the months prior to the election. That was a relatively small number of people.

          My point is that the deliberate, systematic suppression of Democratic-leaning poor and working  people ( because they work, because they lack transportation, because they may not have photo ID, because they move frequently and didn't update) disenfranchised people in larger numbers than anything the Russians did.

          I still don't want Putin picking my President, and am appalled that our Congressional leadership seems not to have a problem with it.

          1. I agree; it was the cumulative effect. One without the other likely wouldn't have been effective. Particularly with margins so thin in three key swing states – it’s hard to argue they didn’t have had an effect on the outcome.

            Can you imagine what the emails looked like between Republican party members during the rise of Trump? The bottom line is we had a foreign government interfering.  They seeked specific outcome, and got it.   

      2. No, it does not give me confidence in our government, but I've never had much confidence in it anyway. Why is everyone so focused on the Russian hacks when its not the true reason? The propaganda is weak. Voter suppression is a strong argument – why are they not focused on that? I must say I think having ID to vote is something I support, however if it results in economic or racial bias perhaps free ID's would help, but to spend so much time blaming Russia for providing information that, even if published legally, is not incriminating or disastrous seems like a bad plan moving forward…


        1. Negev wrote: Why is everyone so focused on the Russian hacks when it is not the true reason [ Hillary lost the election]…

          Because it shows that a freaking foreign government meddled with our election! Because it shows that we should have no trust that our elected President puts our own country's interests above Russian interests! Why is that hard to understand? I thought all of you gun heads hated the Russkies on principle, except, of course, that they make nice guns….

          1. They do make nice guns… 

            What is hard to understand is why such an outrage? They stole boring, insignificant, trivial and worthless information and posted it on a fringe website that exposed nothing out of the ordinary in politics. Did it sway the opinion of any voter, on either side? As a Trump voter I was hoping, desperately that it would show Hillary killing babies or something that would get here arrested before the vote, because honestly, I had no confidence that Trump would win. There was nothing. I can't see any of the information released having enough significance at all to change a Hillary supporter to vote against her – I mean, is there any evidence that a single Hillary voter changed their mind due to the released data? 

            Can you provide 1 email, of the tens of thousands released, that would provide adequate information to sway a voter?

            If that is meddling, the Russians suck at meddling…

            But again, they do make nice guns. Unintended consequences seem to show a new market in gun sales: Liberals! Whodathunkit:


            It may turn out the best way to convince a population of the need to protect themselves against a tyrannical government is to elect a tyrant?



              1. Well said Gray. While it is "nice" to see the Saiga 12 available over the counter and not considered a destructive device while retaining magazine fed capabilities (street sweeper is banned with 12 round rotary magazine while Saiga is legal with 20 round drum?) It is far from "nice" unless you shoot high brass loads… 

                ….but in reality I am being a bit facetious with mama's post…


            1. He's your tyrant; you elected him, you own him. What will you do with him?

              Since you see everything through the lens of gun ownership, (rather than human rights or economic prosperity, which is what normal folk do), you might be interested to know that Trump's Homeland Security nominee, Gen. Flynn, just consulted with Nazis in Austria.

              I'm not even "going Godwin" – it's what's for dinner.

              For the record, Hitler's regime forbade Jews and Austrians from gun and weapon ownership, while loosening restrictions for everyone else. But you said, as a white Christian conservative male, that you would be okay with discriminatory gun ownership rules like that. Is this still true?

              1. Unfortunately he is your tyrant too, like it or not. It is interesting to see others defending the future of their rights in a similar fashion I have defended gun rights in the past. I have supported ALL rights – speech, reproductive, sexual orientation… and… gun rights. Have not seen reciprocal support for gun rights commensurate with other rights more valuable to those it may affect…

                I was scorned for utilizing the "first they came for the socialists but I did not speak out" verbiage in relation to gun restrictions…Now we are all wondering if there is anyone left to speak out for them as minorities…

                I was labeled an "ammosexual" for support of constitutional rights not valued by others….Now LGBT communities are in fear of their lives and arming themselves for personal protection…

                I was questioned on why I "needed" a particular weapon and that nobody "needs" high capacity magazines…. and now we wonder if the rights to reproductive health will be based on the decisions of rich white males and on a necessity basis… 

                I am then labeled a Nazi by the KKK as they demand I "vote my conscience"…. well, I did. 

                I'm gonna have to take the Soros approach to this one a bit begrudgingly because when they came for me there did not appear to be anyone left…. so you guys are on your own. Perhaps in the future the Dems will embrace ALL rights with the fervor they embrace the rights they value and we can move forward together. I look forward to the day.  

                1. Plenty of gunnies on here.  If you do support speech, reproductive, LGBT rights, congratulations – you've just distinguished yourself from your fellow travelers. You'll forgive me if I offer you some cheese with that whine about "Not seeing reciprocal support for gun rights". The fact is, no Democrat has come to take your guns away.  We've seen very modest changes in background check requirements. No confiscation.

                  Re: the "ammosexual" label: In my own experience, being married to a gun head for 12 years, it's not so much a sexual as an emotional issue. In my opinion, gun collectors tend to want to control all situations and never be vulnerable emotionally. This makes them terrible romantic partners, and tends to leave them alone a lot. They blame "feminazis" for their plight.

                  The Soros article you linked to should have given you a big clue that it was bogus and distorted with the sensational headlines, etc. Soros gave  60 minutes an interview in which he told the story of how, as a 14 year old child, he had to pretend to be a Christian and accompany his protector on Nazi business.

                  Members of my own ethnically Jewish family also had to pretend to be Christians – they were also young teens at the time, with very little power over events. They had to leave behind or sell everything they could, and fled Austria. Those who stayed behind ended up in the camps.

                  So  when you say you'll "take the Soros approach",  are you saying that you intend to be a collaborator with Trump's fascist plans? You're a well-armed adult, not a kid from a persecuted minority. What's your excuse?


                  1. The fact that no Democrat has come to take my guns away does not bring me solace. Truth is they have tried on more than one occasion to ban certain types of weapons, and failed, however the intent was and is clear. "Modest changes" is a statement based on opinion and I urge you to become comfortable with its wide range of interpretation along with the term "reasonable restriction", as they may be catch phases that no longer mean what you interpreted them to mean when it comes to rights you hold more dear.

                    I do not intend to "collaborate" with Trump's plans, whatever they may be, but I will breathe a bit easier for this short moment knowing that the largest threat to the rights most relevant to my personal daily life have had a reprieve, however temporary it may be. It's a tranquil feeling I think many of you have had for some time. It is truly amazing how fast political tables can turn. 


                    1. The fact that the right to cuddle a 100-round magazine on your pillow is the one you hold dearest tells me all I need to know.   You are Donald Trump's lawful prey.

                2. Seriously, Negev, I don't doubt your support of gay rights, etc.   But most gunnies are single issue voters, that issue being support of the most extreme possible view of gun rights over any and all human rights.  As an extreme example consider NRA board member Ted Nugent.   Some call him a neo-nazi.   I disagree — there is nothing "neo" about him.   He called President Obama a "subhuman" because he is half African American.   Again, nothing "neo" about his nazism, that is the exact word — "untermensch" in German — the nazis used for Negroes. slavs, jews and other non "aryan" peoples.

                  While you don't share most of Nugent's views, you will vote the same way he does — knee-jerk Republican on the national scene because the Rs embrace the most extreme possible gun position.   Because you are in that single-issue camp, Trump can harvest your vote and ignore you on any other issue.  Failure to balance issues reasonably takes you out of the swing voter camp.   Frankly, you have a lot of company in that regard, on both left and right.


                  1. It is hard to not be a single issue voter to a right that directly affects you every day. I would submit that a transgender individual would vote for the person who directly supports transgender rights, even if they were a little wishy-washy on free speech. One would even be willing to restrict others rights to promote their specific beneficial right, such as restricting speech that offends the transgender individual as not not hurt their feelings. Seems to be human nature. But when a political party which allegedly embraces ALL rights EXCEPT the rights you hold near and dear, you are a proverbially single issue voter.

                    I tell you a pro gun Democrat would go a long way in this …. ahh… nevermind….

                  2. "The fact that the right to cuddle a 100-round magazine on your pillow is the one you hold dearest tells me all I need to know.   You are Donald Trump's lawful prey. -"

                    The fact that you are complacent in the restriction of my right to cuddle tells me all I need to know as well… 

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