One of the most important acts of ratfucking in the 2016 campaign was WikiLeaks dumping the Podesta inbox right after David Farenthold’s story about the Access Hollywood tape dropped. The Senate intelligence report confirms that his was an act of direct coordination between Assange and the Trump campaign:
Some details about the day of the Access Hollywood tape/Podesta emails release: Trump campaign team heard about the tape an hour before its release. Stone told Corsi to get Assange to “drop the Podesta emails immediately.” WikiLeaks did so 30 min after tape published. (249) pic.twitter.com/rKfDnJ511f— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) August 18, 2020
There has never been any serious question about what WikiLeaks was trying to accomplish in 2016 (i.e. get Donald Trump elected); the only question was whether there was direct collaboration, and Occam’s Razor was in fact correct.
And as Tierney Sneed observes, WikiLeaks was a critical part of the final stages of the Trump campaign:
When WikiLeaks did release the Podesta emails — a dump that came 32 minutes after the Access Hollywood tape was published — the campaign ramped up its efforts to incorporate that and future releases into its messaging.
Jared Kushner described to the Senate committee a loosely organized effort to pay attention to the internet’s reaction to what was in each release.
“We’d kind of see which ones were hot. And then we would kind of debate ways to try to get them out further, whether it be having the candidate read them at rallies, or tweet about them, or whatever it is,” he told the committee.
Dan Scavino, Hope Hicks, Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Jason Miller were all involved in developing campaign messaging around the hacked emails, according to emails obtained by the committee.
Their exchanges had gleeful subject lines like “WIKI ABOUT TO DROP SOME BOMBS … 4 pmE” and “The WikiLeaks BOMB!”
“Blow it out,” Donald Trump Jr. responded to one such email.
Even as campaign officials told Senate investigators they were unaware of who was behind in hacks, the committee noted that that supposed ignorance didn’t stop Trump from minimizing Russia’s role.
While Trump was frequently praising WikiLeaks from the campaign stump, his senior staff was drafting at least two tweets a day from Trump’s account linking to the releases. Ivanka Trump told other staffers this would “refocus the narrative,” in an email obtained by the committee.
The Senate report recounts a Twitter direct message Donald Trump Jr. received from WikiLeaks, highlighting the launch of an anti-Trump website, that Trump Jr. then circulated to others on the campaign. Bannon offered the committee this assessment of the episode: “I’d describe Don Junior, who I think very highly of, as a guy who believes everything on Breitbart is true.”
Trump Jr. admitted to the committee that a tweet highlighting a WikiLeaks’ release may have been a response to WikiLeaks’ private outreach to him, though it could have also been part of the general strategy around the email dumps.
It’s worth noting again that the media has agency here. If the Podesta inbox had contained evidence of actual misconduct by Hillary Clinton or her associates that the emails were obtained illegally or even the timing of their release wouldn’t be that important. But they didn’t, yet they were treated as major news in story after story during the last month of the campaign, which played directly into the hands of the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in how Glenn “Russiagate was a hoax if Bill Barr says it it’s gotta be true” Greenwald is handling this, well…while ignoring the Senate Intelligence Report he’s found a remorseless misogynist sociopath to apologize for:
“You have an absolute vested entitlement to a position of public trust despite a recent history of having sent child revenge porn to the friends and family of a 13-year-old girl because she rejected your extortion scheme and bullying another girl into a suicide attempt as long as you’re nominally committed to single payer from your position as a potential minority backbencher in the Kansas legislature” is certainly a take. I, myself, would prefer to elevate the voices of his victims:
I’ve seen lots of comments about his age, forgiveness and moving on – but not so many about what his victims think https://t.co/DJYabMlG0A pic.twitter.com/Zin9wwlLuV— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) August 20, 2020