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Democrats reset the stage: Hey, Russians are probably altering the Hillary emails they're releasing!
Nothing to see here.
Hillary's been lying about her emails for months. This much we know. At this point, it's impossible to argue that she's been honest or forthright. Democrats will still try to make that claim, but they sound incredibly stupid doing so. When CNN is laughing at your denials, you know you're in trouble.
We also know that they're terrified about the possibility (probability) of further even-more-damning leaks to come. If Julian Assange is to be believed, and we're nowhere near sure that he is, there is a treasure trove of Clinton-related communications that has yet to be unveiled.
So, if you're desperately trying shoehorn Hillary Clinton - one of the worst candidates in presidential history - into the White House, what do you do? You set the stage.
In this case that means: "Don't trust those leaked emails, because the Russians (who may not even be behind the hacks) have probably been tampering with them!"
As the Politico argues, the Ruskies are probably tampering with the messages to make Hillary look bad:
“It is certainly a valid issue to raise, because clearly the people who are doing these attacks have a political agenda that’s against the Democratic Party,” said Anita Dunn, who was White House communications director in the early part of President Barack Obama’s first term.
If Russia is indeed attempting to destabilize Clinton’s candidacy through the widespread digital assault on Democratic institutions — as many researchers believe, and Democrats are alleging, but Moscow strongly denies — “why wouldn’t you want to raise the potential [for tampering]?” asked Dunn, now a partner at communications firm SKDKnickerbocker. “I think it’s only prudent for people to raise that possibility."
Republicans say Democrats are just trying to distract the public from the most important issue: the content of the leaks. They say the Democrats already tried to do that with the first batch of 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails that leaked in July, which forced the resignation of Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz after showing that some DNC staffers had favored Clinton over primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“First, they made it all about Russia instead of the substance of what was actually in the emails,” said Matt Mackowiak, a veteran Republican strategist. Now, he added, “If there is a massive trove of emails or documents relating to the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation … they may just say, ‘Look, the authenticity of the emails hasn’t been confirmed.’”
In other words; "Poor innocent Hillary is once again the victim, this time of some nasty Russians who, apparently, don't realize she pushed the reset button."
If you want to buy into that argument, you have to do four things - none of which make any sense at all.
A: You have to ignore the fact that - even if a Russia-altered leak occurs - ANY legitimate leak which stems from Hillary's private server occurred due to Hillary's hubris and disregard for the rule of law. To argue that "this email has been tampered with" simply invites the response that "the last 1,000 weren't." Hillary's problems are the direct result of Hillary skirting the rules and responsibilities of her office. End of story.
B: You have to whistle past what we already know about the Clinton machine. Clearly, we're aware that Bill and Hillary have built their power atop a very shaky (pun intended) Foundation. It appears that pay-for-access was de rigueur while she was Secretary of State, just as it was way back when her husband was President.
C: You have to wipe the last 25 years from your memory. This will be impossible for those of us living in the real world, but if you actually believe Hillary Clinton would make a good Commander in Chief, you're clearly not included among our number. Scandal, lies, criminality, and shady deals have been a hallmark of Clinton life. As long as anyone has known their names, they've been associated with things that were *ahem* barely legal. To pretend that Hillary is an honorable woman being victimized by Russian hackers is the worst sort of self-delusion.
D: You have to ignore the legitimacy of the previous leaks. So far, no one is challenging the veracity of anything in any of the leaked emails. They're angry about how they were obtained, or they're annoyed at how they're being used, but literally no one is doubting the content. So the DNC can whine about their internal comms being accessed, but that won't change the fact that they willfully worked to end Bernie Sanders and install the widely-despised Hillary Clinton.
We get that Democrats are scared. We understand that they're terrified of being blindsided by a nasty "October surprise."
However, if they had any integrity they wouldn't be setting the stage for a "blame Russia" defense. They'd jettison their corrupt candidate based on what we already know.
Unfortunately, the very emails that have so upset them indicate that integrity is nowhere to be found.