Email #37, Subject: Intelligence Community Assessment

I just read the 25-page, January 6th Intelligence Community Assessment for myself, and I am deeply concerned. This is what it says in the introductory “Key Judgments” section on page ii:

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.

“We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.

“We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment.”

While deeply troubling in itself, I am equally concerned by President-elect Trump’s response:

“They got beaten very badly in the election. They just focus on this. This is a political witch hunt.”

This statement is extraordinary. Does President-elect Trump believe that the FBI, CIA, and NSA ran against him in the election, lost, and so are now persecuting him with these intelligence findings?

Do you also dismiss the Assessment as a “witch hunt”? If not, what are you, as the influential Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, doing to counter this dangerously false impression?

Chris Gavaler

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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