Over the weekend, Washington Post and New York Times each reported on unnamed sources alleging a "secret" "consensus" of U.S. intelligence agencies charging Russia tried to interfere with the Presidential election in order to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. National security journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of EmptyWheel.net offers a measure of skepticism about the explosive reports on those allegations, which she suggests could echo what proved to be blatantly misrepresented and cherry-picked intel by the George W. Bush Administration in their run-up to the Iraq War.
We discuss what we know and don't know concerning the newly reported charges, which parties have an interested in forwarding them and why they are arising in this form now, and how those concerns can possibly square with seemingly contradictory resistance — by both Republicans and Democrats alike — to human verification of the stunning and poll-defying 2016 Presidential election results reported in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
Speaking of which, late on Friday, a 3-2 split vote at the MI state Supreme Court denied a hearing of Green Party candidate Jill Stein's appeal of a 3-Republican judge decision that aborted the state's disastrous paper ballot hand-count last week. And today, a federal court in PA denied (PDF) Stein's lawsuit seeking a statewide hand-count of paper ballots and a forensic analysis of the 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting and computer tabulation systems used across most of the state. Also today, the state of Wisconsin completed its partial statewide hand-count and certified Donald Trump as the winner of that state's electoral vote. (Final tallies are not yet available from the Wisconsin Election Commission, but as of earlier today Reuters reported "Trump with a increase of 628 votes, Clinton with an increase of 653 votes and Stein with an increase of 68 votes". Those are net increases, without reflecting the total number of originally-mistallied votes, nor explaining that most of the state's largest counties simply ran the hand-marked paper ballots back through the optical-scan computers again to derive their "recount" totals.)
All of that amidst a repeated, coordinated, well-funded and familiar efforts by Republicans and Team Trump to block any and all verification of Presidential election results in all three states. "Cronyism, bureaucratic obstruction, and legal maneuvering have run roughshod over the democratic process," Stein said following Friday's Supreme Court decision in MI after tens of thousands of votes were deemed "unrecountable" due to the state's arcane "recount" laws while the attempted count was still underway last week. "A recount should not be this difficult or controversial. If you take out money from a bank, the teller counts it twice — and the second time, they count it in front of your eyes. It should be well understood that something as important as a presidential election requires a basic level of quality assurance and verification."
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