The New York Times is reporting that the State Department was granted $120 million to combat foreign meddling in our elections. They’ve had access to this pot of money since late 2016, but haven’t spent any of it:
As a result, not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts.
Like the sanctions that overwhelmingly passed by Congress with bi-partisan support but have not yet been implemented, Congress directed the government to act, but it has not, making up excuses along the way.
According to the article, Congress told the Pentagon to send up to $120 million to the State Department so it could coordinate governmentwide efforts to counter anti-democratic propaganda by Russia and China. Because of bureaucratic dithering, none of the money has actually been transferred, even though everyone agrees that the Russians are going to try and meddle in the 2018 midterms.
Even Tillerson, who runs the State Department, thinks the Russians are going to try and meddle in the midterms, something told he told Fox News last month:
But, it sounds like Tillerson doesn’t believe we can stop the Russians from meddling:
If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that. And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.
Maybe that’s why he hasn’t bothered to spend any of the money. Or maybe he has other reasons. I don’t want to speculate, but it doesn’t really feel like speculation anymore. It feels like the bloody obvious conclusion. Trump and all the minions in his administration don’t want to stop Russian from meddling in our elections or stop them from doing anything for that matter. The Russians must have Trump over a barrel.
At what point is Congress going to act and protect our democracy from this threat? Since Trump seems so obviously compromised, we need to get him out of office and replace him with someone who cares about this country.