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Hillary Handed Trump a Pinocchio Size Debate Whopper about Putin - Trump Flubs Response

Clinton heated up presidential debate with stunning lie about Putin

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Hillary endorsed Obama administration misinformation about the Russia hacking scandal in her debate comments Sunday. She even heaped her own fabrication on top.

The result was an open invitation for Trump to make points. But the opportunity flew right over his head.

Here's what she said:

"Our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election."

Trump's response got off on the right foot. He said, "She doesn't know if it's the Russians doing the hacking."

He started to go astray when he added "Maybe there is no hacking."

Trump may very well be absolutely correct about that. But he was speaking to a national audience who had been hearing "Russian hacking, Russian hacking, Russian hacking" interminably ever since Wikileaks released its expose on the anti-Bernie email machinations of the Democratic National Committee. Few people have any doubt there has been hacking.

Trump's "no-hacking" suggestion likely sounded counterintuitive to most Americans who've paid attention to any of the US news about the humiliating scandal. It was easier to believe Clinton's lie than Trump's honest skepticism.

There was no gain here for Trump. And there was no gain for the American people in understanding the dangerous war provocations of the Clintons, Obamas, McCains and the like.

Trump's target of opportunity should have been simply Clinton's own words. It is true that the Obama administration put out a press release about Russian hacking, conveniently two days before the debate. But it mentions neither Putin nor the Kremlin. They were Clinton's gratuitous embellishments. 

Even if Trump was ignorant of the official press release he could have simply asked Hillary for the facts she relied upon. The best she could have rendered would have been allegations. And Trump could have labeled them as such and again asked for the facts.

And then there was the administration's press release itself. Here's what it said:

"The US Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked emails on sites like and Wikileaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow -- the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

To boil this down, it (a) says that they are confident some unspecified element of the Russian government directed the hacking, (b) claims the activity matches Russia's MO, although offering no specific substantiation for whatever that MO might be, (c) uses mind reading to conclude an intention to disrupt the American election process, and (d) nonetheless expresses an ardent belief that only "Russia's senior-most officials" could have initiated the purported but unsubstantiated malicious interference.

What a sad commentary on "The US Intelligence Community." I've heard nothing from any US official sources that presents evidence of anything. Just rumor and innuendo. Apparently it does not take much for our government to become "confident" of Kremlin culpability.

Earlier there was a New York Times article that pinned the hacking not on Putin but on some kid in Biysk, deep in Russia's Altai Region. 

I recall that some years back there was another young Russian hacker who was in Barnaul, a couple of hours northwest of Biysk. I've spent a lot of time in both Biysk and Barnaul. Interestingly there is a Facebook page titled "Support the Hackers of Barnaul, Russia." It's a crowdfunding effort. I guess they're not as well funded by Putin as many believe.

Like Trump, I don't know whether or not Russia is officially involved in the presumed hacking. It could be. Lots of government's engage in such activities. Remember America's hacking into Angela Merkel's phone conversations? But it is clear that those who are alleging the instant Kremlin hacking plot show no signs of having evidence to back up their scandalous allegations.

However what I think is most significant here is that Trump and his campaign seem to be no match for Hillary on the negative claptrap on Russia. It should have been easy to pull the rug out from under her on this hacking story. 

There were more opportunities that Trump missed in the debate, too. 

For instance Hillary said, "We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election."

Perhaps she's forgotten the 1996 alleged Chinese funding of her husband's campaign. Trump missed that opportunity too.

What's wrong with Trump and his campaign?

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