Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Paul Ryan’s Patriotism At Issue?

House Republicans he oversaw used illegally hacked information from Russians.

By - Dec 15th, 2016 12:19 pm
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Paul Ryan. Photo from the Office of the Speaker of the House.

Paul Ryan. Photo from the Office of the Speaker of the House.

You might call it a challenge to Ryan Costello’s patriotism.

The Republican congressman from Pennsylvania learned last fall about derogatory information leaked against his Democratic opponent Mike Parrish. The illegally hacked documents, published by The Hill, showed that Democratic Party officials did not like Parrish and worked aggressively to recruit an alternative candidate. Parrish owned a company that had been sued eight times, had been delinquent on his taxes and was named in a 2013 lawsuit “alleging racketeering and corruption,” the hacked Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (D.C.C.C.) documents said.

It was juicy information that could be used in attack ads against Parrish. However, the likely hacker, as The Hill’s story noted, was “widely believed to be… Russian intelligence.”

Costello never used the information, as an explosive story by the New York Times reports. “We believed it was neither necessary nor appropriate,” Vincent Galko, a campaign consultant to Mr. Costello, told the Times, “to use information from a possible foreign source to influence the election.”

But a number of other Republican House candidates did use information hacked by Russian intelligence — and clearly intended to influence the American elections — against nearly a dozen Democratic opponents, as the Times story has documented.

“The intrusions in House races in states including Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina can be traced to tens of thousands of pages of documents taken from the D.C.C.C., which shares a Capitol Hill office building with the Democratic National Committee,” the story reported.

“It was like I was standing out there naked,” Annette Taddeo, a Florida Democratic House candidate told the Times. She lost her primary race after secret campaign documents were made public. “I just can’t describe it any other way. Our entire internal strategy plan was made public, and suddenly all this material was out there and could be used against me.”

The Times story makes clear that Wisconsin congressman and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan knew this was going on and took no action. The document dump from Russian intelligence included confidential information about Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, the chairman of the D.C.C.C., who wrote a letter to his GOP counterpart, Ryan, asking the National Republican Congressional Committee not to use the documents.

“The N.R.C.C.’s use of documents stolen by the Russians plays right into the hands of one of the United States’ most dangerous adversaries,” Luján’s Aug. 29 letter said. “Put simply, if this action continues, the N.R.C.C. will be complicit in aiding the Russian government in its effort to influence American elections.”

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi “sent a similar letter in early September to Mr. Ryan,” the Times reports. “Neither received a response. By October, the Congressional Leadership Fund, a “super PAC” tied to Mr. Ryan, had used the stolen material in another advertisement, attacking [Democratic House candidate] Mr. Garcia during the general election in Florida.”

But it gets worse. Ryan also heard from the nation’s top intelligence experts about the problem. As the Washington Post has reported, President Barack Obama had dispatched his counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, FBI Director James B. Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “to make the pitch for a ‘show of solidarity and bipartisan unity’ against Russian interference in the election,” as a senior administration official told the Post.

Ryan was among the top 12 congressional leaders invited to the meeting. “In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals,” the Post reported.

“And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as ‘the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.’”

But Republican leaders declined to join a bipartisan response to the information. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics,” the Post reports.

Ryan’s comments, if he had any, are not reported. “But within weeks of that briefing, Ryan’s super pac was using information provided to them via this meddling to attack a Democratic candidate” writes Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly.

“Speaker Ryan can make all of the meaningless statements he wants to about how it is unacceptable for a foreign government to interfere in our elections. But before those words have any actual meaning, he needs to answer some very real questions about how his own political organization knowingly participated with that interference,” LeTourneau charges.

Legally, Ryan has no control over the Super PAC, but he might have issued a statement to all House Republicans as early as September discouraging the use of illegally hacked material believed to come from a foreign adversary. He might, like Ryan Costello, have done the patriotic thing. Instead Ryan did nothing.

But it gets worse. Because Ryan, while declaring that “any intervention by Russia” in America’s elections “is especially problematic,” has repeatedly “stopped short of calling for a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election,” as the Huffington Post has noted.

Ryan has said he supports a continuing investigation by Representative Devin Nunes of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, but precisely where Nunes is going with that investigation is unclear. Nunes told the Times his committee would be “conducting vigorous oversight” of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ investigations concluding the Russians deliberately targeted the Democratic committee and candidates with cyber attacks.

So does Ryan support “investigating how Russia reportedly hacked the Democratic National Committee… in an attempt to sway the presidential election?” the Huffington Post asked. “That question still hasn’t been answered, and Ryan’s office did not respond to attempts to clarify his stance.”

By contrast, Republican Senator John McCain had no problem capturing the deadly gravity of the issue; he called the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and related accounts “another form of warfare” and warned against underestimating the intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” labeling him “a thug and a murderer and a killer and a KGB agent.”

But given that House candidates overseen by Ryan and the Super PAC cooperated with the Russian’s cyber warfare, one can imagine Ryan might be leery of a full investigation of the details, which might raise questions about Ryan himself. As White House press secretary Josh Earnest has noted, Congress “has a ‘special responsibility’ to investigate the ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, because those connections were widely known before the election,” the Times reported. “He added that, for Capitol Hill Republicans, how to ‘reconcile their political strategy and their patriotism is something they’re going to have to explain.’”

Ryan hasn’t had much of an explanation. “Paul Ryan has put partisanship and political expediency before principle and patriotism,” charges Scot Ross of the liberal One Wisconsin Now. “He’s refused to take a strong stand and lead the House of Representatives in investigating gravely serious allegations of tampering in our elections by an unfriendly foreign government.”

And a final postscript: the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which reports assiduously on all things related to Ryan, chose to run a story on this controversy that leaves out much of the information reported here. Incredibly the article then throws in the fact that “Republicans in Wisconsin have criticized prosecutors after an unknown party leaked public materials gathered during a secret probe of Gov. Scott Walker‘s campaign.”

Leaving aside the fact that conservative Republicans also leaked information from this John Doe probe, which the newspaper doesn’t note, the inclusion of this information suggests the Journal Sentinel believes a barely noticed leak of documents about one state’s legal case is comparable to a systematic cyber attack by a foreign adversary on the United States.

Wow. It’s a low moment for a once-great newspaper.

Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

36 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Paul Ryan’s Patriotism At Issue?”

  1. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Sure Bruce, and so did the Easter Bunny.

  2. Matt says:

    Lets not forget about the chief of staff for the Manchurian elect, telling Chuck Todd there is no proof the dog did not eat his homework. The only person closer to Ryan is Craig Gilbert, and apparently Putin. Who would have ever guessed it would be the Republicans sucking on the commie teat after all the years of bellowing about the evil empire. But of course, one of their leading intellects cites the Easter bunny so there you go.

    That was sarcasm.. Even by Republican standards “wisconsin conservative digest”has but a slight intellect.

    Dasvidanya. Correct my Russian wcd, you must have a translation dictionary by now.

  3. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    we want to see some evidence of the Russians doing this by some reports.

  4. Benny Nota says:

    What would count as evidence for you, WCD? Intelligence agencies have evaluated the material and said it’s almost certainly the work of Russian hackers. The reasoning for this conclusion is laid out in several articles that are easy to find, in mainstream media. This is not some crazed ranter wearing a tinfoil hat here. This is the top intelligence agencies in the United States.

    If these charges turn out to be true, every politician who let it go on, and every politician who sought benefit from it, ought to be charged with and tried for treason; and if guilty, receive the appropriate legal penalty. If guilty, they should also, of course, be removed from any office they might hold.

    If these charges turn out to be true, the Republican Party is essentially a fifth column. The legitimacy of our elected government is at stake.

  5. Fried Cheese says:

    I seem to remember Sen. Marco Rubio admonishing his fellow Republicans for using hacked ‘oppo’. I think his reasoning was entirely self-serving (i.e. they can do it against us) and not virtuous or patriotic. Still, he said it. Or am I wrong?

  6. tim haering says:

    When Ryan became Speaker, his responses to candidate Trump, I have watched the tongue of fire on his head burn steady. But when he announced the delay in committee assignments, then his PAC using the hack – that flame is flickering and I am realizing he is human. Power corrupts. I wonder how much integrity he can give away before that fire goes out? As he faces the surreality that every policy dream he ever had is in the hands of Willie Wonka [“A little nonsense, now and then, is favored by the wisest men.”], I’m praying for him. And I’m praying Trump, in the end, takes him aboard the great glass elevator.

  7. daniel golden says:

    The modern Republican Party has long ago shown that it is willing to do and say anything to win elections. Having any moral core is a negative for a potential Republican politician. From Lee Atwater to Karl Rove, the GOP has embraced deceit and deception to convince the gullible suckers to vote against their social and financial interests. Our President elect earned his chops with the Republican base by going on Fox News repeatedly for years with a continuing litany of “birther” lies. What ever happened to those investigators Trump sent to Hawaii who were finding “amazing things” about the Kenyan Muslin Obama? Cleverly targeted campaigns targeted to people’s base instincts can be very effective, but as other demogoges have discovered, they are a poor basis for governing a diverse nation.

  8. Vincent Hanna says:

    Old, long-standing political norms are suddenly gone, all for Donald Trump. In 2013 (and maybe even more recently than that), Republican politicians excoriated Obama for being soft on Russia/Putin. They have been our enemy for how many decades now? People like Paul Ryan are pathetic fools with serious integrity problems. Thankfully we have some rational Republicans left like McCain and Graham.

  9. Dyeary says:

    They will all be punished. When all investigations are over, there will be a few scapegoats (trump-goats) who knows who that will be.

  10. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Benny, no report have been issued by anyone it is just the Lefties in the CIA tha put this out right before the electoral vote, refused to give anything to congress to back it up.
    Obama knew about this supposedly hacking for more than year, did nothing. He is in charge of security, if it was going on. And, what did thy do? When did they doit , why did they do, who did it. No answers right? When you start believing in fake news in campaigns you are dumb.
    I have been in or ran more than 100 campaigns and cannot think of one thing the Russkies could do unless they gave him hundred million bucks to win the campaign for him. Trump is not like Obama who spent 650,000 to defeat Netanyhu. He is honest.

  11. blurondo says:

    News item. 12/15/16:
    Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported that Fox News has independently verified Russian-backed cyber militias targeted US systems in “an effort to interfere in the US election.” Herridge’s report comes after weeks of Fox News denying the Russian government could have anything to do with the election hack.

    After 17 intelligence agencies reported that the Russian government was involved with hacking political organizations’ emails, Fox News repeatedly attempted to cast doubt on the reports by calling the agencies political. Fox host Sean Hannity derided the CIA’s conclusions as “politically motivated” “fake news,” and his colleague Tucker Carlson has repeatedly downplayed the possibility of Russia influencing the election and attacked anybody supporting the thesis. And Fox News contributor John Bolton even claimed that the “ridiculous” allegations of Russian interference could be a “false flag.”

    Despite Fox’s campaign to cast doubt on the possibility of the Russian government seeking to undermine American elections, a December 15 report from chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge said that “Fox News has independently confirmed that Russian backed cyber-militias were targeting US systems and influential US persons in the summer of 2015,” an operation which “evolved into an effort to interfere in the US election … sanctioned by the highest levels of the Russian government.”

  12. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    I never believe anything from the Left till it is out there and challenged. What did they do to influence an election that over 2 billion was spent?
    How dow e know tha they were hacking for Trump? hillary is much easier prey? Why does Assange say that it was not the Russkies, but came from inside the Hillary campaign? Everyone lying?
    That is silly, I have been in 100 campaigns cannot think of one way except give money under table to help?
    Plus where was Obama and co for a 1.5 years knowing this was going on?? Incompetent? Wasn’t it their job to stop things like this or did they want Trump to win.
    if they could ahve done something to influence the action.
    Left lost cause the middle class has not seen a raise in a decade, lost net worth and the jobs went overseas cause obama and co did nothing. Their rich friends, donors got rich but we did not.

  13. Vincent Hanna says:

    Rich friends? Who has Trump surrounded himself with WCD? Goldman Sachs executives. Insanely wealthy men. Men worth billions of dollars. That isn’t how you drain the swamp. He only cares about other old rich white guys cause that’s who he is.

  14. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Vince, please explain what they did, how they did it to whom it was done, what ws the effect, ow much did it cost and how many votes did it move. You guys are so naive. It is Christmas so I willnto say stupid. Since Trump is in we can now say Merry Christmas again

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    I never stopped saying Merry Christmas. Don’t know anyone who did. That was nothing but pseudo-outrage from a pseudo-news network whose audience is old white people that believe anything you tell them. Know anyone like that WCD? Please at least learn to check your spelling before you call others stupid.

  16. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    This is purely political, all opinions, no answers to the obvious questions, did it affect the election, how, what did they do that the two candidates did not do.
    This is just another lame attempt after the Recount, Blame Comey, did not work. Not shred of evidence has been give to the congress or to the peole, just coming from Comey who has little credibility on anything according to Podseta and Trump, Hillary. it is a bag of empty pot.
    No one has said it would have changed the election at all. It needs to be investigated along with he whole Comey charade and incompetence.
    You are not worthchecking spelling.

  17. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    I will admit it is incredibly entertainignto listen to the Lefties all whine, for the next 8 years. who you going to put up?? Biden, Bernie, Hillary, Reid, Van Jones?

  18. Thomas says:

    Hard evidence is not easy to get from spies. That said, the FBI has now joined the CIA in concluding that the Russian hacks were meant to punish Hillary and to promote Trump. Circumstantial evidence is abundant in this case. The rep that Ryan replaced as speaker was removed because he admitted that the numerous House investigations into Hillary’s e-mails and other alleged indiscretions were serving the partisan purpose of diminishing H’s favorables and enhancing her unfavorables.

    I will agree with a WCD phrase. The “Comey charade” was very damaging to Hillary. I offer here some anecdotal evidence in support of that assertion. I placed calls for Hillary from a phone bank on 2 afternoons separated by approximately 2 weeks. The first of these afternoons was a few days before the Comey letter which implied that the FBI was perhaps not finished with investigating Hillary. The telephone conversations I had that afternoon were reasonable positive more the most part. Few of those who answered their phones were thrilled by Hillary, but many were supportive. My second phone banking experience took place on the Friday before the election. A # of people who answered calls that day were dismissive of Hillary. Many of these cited uncertainties re Hillary’s honesty as a result of both the “Comey charade” and the onslaught of news re WikiLeaks in the weeks leading up to the election. The Russians took a handoff from Republican committee hearings investigating Hillary again and again for the primary purpose of making her honesty suspect.

    Tea Party types in the Republican party worked well with Russian hackers to sully the reputation of a life-long public servant with good intentions for the majority of the citizens of the U.S.A. in the interest of electing a con-man with potentially troubling connections with Russian rulers and oligarchs.

  19. Thomas says:

    Dear readers,

    Please excuse mistakes I made in the 5th line of the 2nd paragraph in post # 19. It should have read REASONABLY POSITIVE FOR THE MOST PART.

    “My bad.”

  20. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Finally: Obama was in charge of National Security. Hillary was in charge of her email security, Podesta was in charge of his security, and they all failed to protect their emails, so why is trump getting blamed?

  21. Vincent Hanna says:

    Russian hacking is OK because the victims didn’t do enough to secure their communications? So in WCD’s world women who are victims of domestic violence are to blame because they didn’t try hard enough to avoid getting abused.

  22. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Gibberish covering up incompetence, that needs to be investigated.

  23. old baldy says:

    WCD criticizing “gibberish” is really a hoot. He couldn’t put together a coherent thought if his life depended on it. I’m still laughing..

  24. Liloldlady says:

    WCD: “…a bag of empty pot.” ???
    Spell check can’t help you.

  25. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    The reason that the Lefties can only comment on simple spelling is that is thier only ability. That is why the Left cannot run anyhting.

  26. old baldy says:

    “thier” says it all.

  27. A Bus Driver says:

    America is about to be destroyed by it’s own hand. With bigots & wealthy white folk leading the charge straight to hell.

  28. A Bus Driver says:

    Sad part most are too damn stupid to see it coming. Trump is a con man . He’s the one that should be locked up.along with the rest of his groupies

  29. Peter says:

    Why bother debating WCD? S/he is just a troll, provoking the usual responses. Maybe a Russian troll to boot. By Trumpian fake-news standards, it’s up to WCD to prove s/he’s not.

  30. Bill Kurtz says:

    Russia didn’t need to spend $100M to help trump. The anti-Hillary material leaked through “useful idiot” Assange was mainly aimed at unhappy Bernie Sanders fans. Convincing 12,000 of them to stay home or vote for Jill Stein would be enough to cost Hillary Michigan, convincing 25,000 in Wisconsin would be enough to flip this state. And didn’t Steve Bannon say in October that Trump was making “under the radar” efforts to dissuade blacks and what he called “idealistic young people” to shun Hillary? WikiLeaks was doing exactly that with the hacked material.

  31. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Bill you re full of crap. List me the evidence that you have, Assange denies this.
    Not one hard piece of evidence has come out about the Russkies trying to help Trump. if they were, it would go against him.
    Tell me what they did and who they did, be explicitly not just BS.
    You are trying to tell us tha the Russkies had some secret deal to help Trump , tha they were much smarter than our campaigns that spends 3 billion dollars???? Sure Bill and pigs fly.

  32. Larry says:

    Ruskie WCD, you are soooo convincing. Go home to Russia you commie!

  33. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Funny, we led the anti Communist movement since 1964, ran the Regan campaign that destroyed the Russkies.

  34. old baldy says:

    “Funny, we led the anti Communist movement since 1964, ran the Regan campaign that destroyed the Russkies”.

    Exactly, wcd. If you “conservatives are so anti-Russia, why is your choice for president so cozy with them? Where is your sense of irony?

  35. Larry says:

    WCD, you say you’re anti Communist but what have you actually done? You went to China in the 1970’s and then elected the Moscova/Manchurian candidate.

    Should we ignore our lying eyes?

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