With top FBI elections protection official gone, Trump talks about giving the job to Putin
Lost in Monday's Surrender Summit in which Russian asset Donald Trump Velcroed himself to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was related and unsettling news from The Wall Stret Journal. The senior FBI official that has been overseeing the task force charged with keeping Russia out of our elections has resigned.
Jeff Tricoli has been a co-leader of the agency's foreign influence task force and now he's off to make more money as a senior vice president at Charles Schwab. He left in June, and no one at the FBI is giving comment as to why, but, as the WSJ says, «it adds to questions among some tech companies and lawmakers about how much the administration, and the task force in particular, are doing to protect future elections from Russian meddling.» Indeed, particularly now that we know that the occupier of the Oval Office has put his trust in Putin, undermining the nation's intelligence community. All the FBI is saying is this:
«The FBI takes any effort to interfere with our democratic institutions extremely seriously,» it said. «For that reason, last year, Director Wray announced the Foreign Influence Task Force. Since its creation, the FITF has been an active, forward-looking task force.»
A congressional intelligence panel staffer who has been briefed on the task force's activities echoes criticism from tech companies and other investigators that the task force hasn't been effective and has been more reactive than proactive. «So far there has not been a lot of substance yet from the task force,» the staffer told the WSJ. There was a meeting with the task force and «several major internet companies» in May, a meeting that «left some tech companies in attendance believing that the government wasn't seriously committed to collaborating to deter foreign-sponsored election-interference campaigns.»
That makes one bit of this whole summit even more concerning. For two hours and 10 minutes, Trump and Putin were in a room alone together, with just interpreters. We have no idea what they discussed, but a glimmer of those talks emerged in the press conference after: Putin's suggestion that he send in his cybersecurity team to «help» the U.S. team in a joint task force. «We can analyze [evidence] through the joint working group on cybersecurity, the establishment of which we discussed during our previous contacts,» Putin said, referencing previous conversations he's had with Trump about this. In fact, they have been talking about it, as confirmed by tweets Trump wrote earlier this month, writing the two «discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded … and safe.»
So the FBI guy heading up the already problematic task force to keep Russia from meddling in future elections—like the one we're having in four months—is gone and Trump wants to hand it over to Putin. What could go wrong?