Donald Trump has benefitted from foreign interference
Donald Trump benefitted from Russian interference in the 2016 election, and has been unwilling to criticise foreign interference. He is willing to undermine US sovereignty for his own personal gain.
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Trump has been weak in his response to widespread fears that Russia interfered with the 2016 US election, which Trump won. The president and senior officials were also silent over intelligence reports that Russia offered Afghan troops bounties for killing US troops. Since his victory in 2016, Trump and his senior team have taken a conciliatory approach to Russia, and in a 2018 press conference in Helsinki, Trump said he believed Putin when he denied Russia interfered in the election. Trump said “He [Putin] just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be”. This is despite consensus among the intelligence community that Russia did interfere in 2016. Trump also planned to ease sanctions on Russia, a move blocked by the House of Representatives. In the lead up to the 2020 election, Trump has also failed to take the necessary steps to protect against foreign interference. Intelligence leaders suggested that Russian and Iranian hackers had obtained voter data and sent intimidating emails to voters in Florida, a key swing state. This builds a picture where Trump has benefited politically from foreign interference and voter suppression, and is therefore unwilling to challenge it. This is extremely dangerous for US democracy.
US intelligence agencies are working to combat foreign interference in elections, regardless of what Trump himself says and believes. Putin has also called for “guarantees of non-interference” over internal affairs, including elections. The fact that Trump may have benefitted from Russian interference in 2016 does not mean that he is involved. Trump is also opposed to mail-in votes, which are more vulnerable to manipulation.
Rejecting the premises