Intelligence chiefs report Russia burning down election system while Trump continues to fiddle

On Tuesday, the heads of the various intelligence agencies made their annual appearance before the Senate to discuss threats to the nation. The dominant headlines that resulted from this appearance came after FBI Director Christopher Wray didn’t just chip away at the White House story concerning Rob Porter. He flattened it. 

What should have been an embarrassing but relatively minor incident has turned into an ongoing showcase of misogyny and failed excuses simply because this White House seems incapable of telling the truth on any point, at any time. But the attention given the Porter story threatens to swap the primary topic of the nation’s intelligence briefing—confirmation that Russia not only interfered heavily in the 2016 election, but that they’ve never stopped interfering in our national politics since then, and intend to ramp up their efforts for the 2018 election.

Russia is already meddling in the midterm elections this year, the top American intelligence officials said on Tuesday, warning that Moscow is using a digital strategy to worsen the country’s political and social divisions. …

“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee at its annual hearing on worldwide threats.

In searching for a sympathetic spokesperson, Russia doesn’t have to look very hard.

President Donald Trump still isn’t buying that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Even as his intelligence chiefs unanimously told a Senate panel Tuesday that Russia meddled in 2016 and is planning to do so again in 2018, three sources familiar with the President’s thinking say he remains unconvinced that Russia interfered in the presidential election.

Trump continues to deny any allegation that Russia had an involvement in the 2016 election because he sees it as a claim that his election was illegitimate. But that’s not really important—because his election was illegitimate for plenty of other reasons.