We are in a hell of a bind: Sources are reporting that the Russians acted explicitly to help Trump win the election as opposed to just trying to "damage" the electoral process. The problems are:
- We have already had an effective transition of power. Recounts aside and electoral college shenanigans aside Trump will be the next president. Trying to call that off because of Russian interference seems like it would do more damage to the electoral process than letting it go.
- Trump-voters will never believe that the CIA or the press is reporting things accurately. There is likely no "amount of proof" that could convince them and thus we'll never reach consensus on what actually happened.
- Some of the evidence is likely to be classified and so it can't come out anyway.
At This Point What Do We Do?
It seems pretty clear to The Omnivore that we have to (a) act as a single country and (b) can't undo the election. That means: 1. Trump is still president and 2. He must go hard after Russia if there is evidence of hacking.
If Trump is unwilling to go after Russia then he has to be treated as an installed puppet and removed (note: while The Omnivore didn't want him to win the election--partially for this very reason--it is very, very clear that uninstalling Trump, even over collusion with Russia, would be incredibly damaging to the country: this is not The Omnivore's preferred solution).
The action on Russia must be bi-partisan and should, ideally, be multinational (who else thinks it's okay for Russia to meddle in their elections?). Basically this should be treated as about 25% of a 9/11.
What Do We Do To Russia?
That's the hard part. Sanctions won't really work. Military conflict will escalate. Cyber-war looks like a nobody-wins situation. The Omnivore isn't an expert here--but would look at things like (a) killing Assad (would that make Syria so unstable that the Russians can't afford to stay?) (b) giving really good arms to the Baltic states (could we prevent them from being sold to terrorists? The Omnivore isn't sure). Helping China take over Asian trade by backing out of the TPP--oh--wait!
Worst Case: Trump vs. the Intelligence Community
The thing that can't be allowed to happen--which is happening right now--is Trump telling his followers that the Intelligence Community is a pack of liars who are somehow in the tank for Hillary or the Democrats. This will do all kinds of damage to institutions. It will force a Republican controlled congress to choose between intel and the Oval Office (if there is a choice that is bad for the GOP--but good for America as a whole, do we have any confidence they'd make it?). It will feed division between our security services and the administration (Trump, allegedly, not taking intelligence briefings could be doing this now).
The final worst case is that the IC has no real way to fight the Oval Office on the president's terms. It has one weapon--one super weapon--leaks. If the IC leaks information that makes the president look bad the results will be, of course, chaos. On the other hand, if they are devoted to fighting enemy intelligence and the president isn't . . . what are they to do?