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The Contender
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Russia attempted to sway the 2016 US presidential election

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/28/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,086 times Debate No: 101471
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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I will defend the statement that "Russia attempted to sway the 2016 US presidential election".

No ridiculous interpretations or troll arguments.


I do not think that Russia swayed the 2016 election because there is really no proof. It is probably accurate that Russia tried, but FAILED. Even so, many people try to sway the story to try and say that just because a democratic woman lost, it doesn't mean that it was rigged. The election was close, and the swing states happened to go into a more republican side. Donald Trump also seemed like a better president than Hillary Clinton would be. I feel like the democrats brought that up just because they were upset that their candidate wouldn't win. Also, if you watched the election, the votes WERE in Clinton's favor at the beginning, and then Trump pulled ahead. I think that it is just an accusation that got caught up in the media, and it means nothing.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello. I will provide three lines of evidence that Russia attempted to sway the 2016 US presidential election.


TLDR: Russia hacked DNC.

The US intelligence and cybersecurity community is almost unanimous in the conclusion that Russian agents planned and executed the DNC hacks.

For example, on 29 December 2016, a joint report was issued by the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The report asserts that two Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) agents or organizations -- denoted Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 28 -- or APT28 -- and 29 -- or APT29 -- executed a plan denoted "Grizzly Steppe". Grizzly Steppe hoped to compromise data from government officials and the Democratic Party. This plan succeeded and led to Wikileaks' release of emails gathered from Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Or: The DHS and the FBI both assert that Russian intelligence service hackers were directly behind the DNC leaks:

"In summer 2015, an APT29 spearphishing campaign directed emails containing a malicious link to over 1,000 recipients, including multiple U.S. Government victims. APT29 used legitimate domains, to include domains associated with U.S. organizations and educational institutions, to host malware and send spearphishing emails. In the course of that campaign, APT29 successfully compromised a U.S. political party. At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party"s systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure. In spring 2016, APT28 compromised the same political party, again via targeted spearphishing. This time, the spearphishing email tricked recipients into changing their passwords through a fake webmail domain hosted on APT28 operational infrastructure. Using the harvested credentials, APT28 was able to gain access and steal content, likely leading to the exfiltration of information from multiple senior party members. The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed."

This report's findings parallel those of private cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, titled "Bears in the Midst": [2]

"COZY BEAR (also referred to in some industry reports as CozyDuke or APT 29) is the adversary group that last year successfully infiltrated the unclassified networks of the White House, State Department, and US Joint Chiefs of Staff. [...] COZY BEAR"s preferred intrusion method is a broadly targeted spearphish campaign that typically includes web links to a malicious dropper.


FANCY BEAR (also known as Sofacy or APT 28) is a separate Russian-based threat actor, which has been active since mid 2000s, and has been responsible for targeted intrusion campaigns against the Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Government and Media sectors. [...] Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government, and may indicate affiliation with [Cyrrilic] (Main Intelligence Department) or GRU, Russia"s premier military intelligence service.


At DNC, COZY BEAR intrusion has been identified going back to summer of 2015, while FANCY BEAR separately breached the network in April 2016. We have identified no collaboration between the two actors, or even an awareness of one by the other. Instead, we observed the two Russian espionage groups compromise the same systems and engage separately in the theft of identical credentials.[

]While you would virtually never see Western intelligence agencies going after the same target without de-confliction for fear of compromising each other"s operations, in Russia this is not an uncommon scenario. "Putin"s Hydra: Inside Russia"s Intelligence Services", a recent paper from European Council on Foreign Relations, does an excellent job outlining the highly adversarial relationship between Russia's main intelligence services "[Cyrrilic] (FSB), the primary domestic intelligence agency but one with also significant external collection and "active measures" remit, [Cyrrilic] (SVR), the primary foreign intelligence agency, and the aforementioned GRU. Not only do they have overlapping areas of responsibility, but also rarely share intelligence and even occasionally steal sources from each other and compromise operations. Thus, it is not surprising to see them engage in intrusions against the same victim, even when it may be a waste of resources and lead to the discovery and potential compromise of mutual operations."

And indeed, the intelligence community is so sure of these conclusions that Trump was briefed on this issue: [3]

"The report comes a day after top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the issue. During the hearing, Clapper said the intelligence community has grown more "resolute" in its assessment that Russian intelligence was involved in the hacks aimed at the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. On Friday, Clapper, Rogers, FBI Director Jim Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan briefed President-elect Donald Trump on the classified evidence linking Russia to the hacks and the leaking of the swiped emails."

This evidence VERY strongly suggests that Russian agents or organizations were behind the DNC hacks. This, in turn, VERY strongly suggests that they hoped to sway the election through release of the DNC emails.

TLDR: Russia hacked DNC.


TLDR: Russian connections.

Here is a brief list of Trump campaign or administration figures who have unseemly ties to Russian intelligence agents: [4][5][6][7][8][9][12]

* Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor: [4][5][6][9][12]
* Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager [4][6][9][12]
* Carter Page, foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign [4][9][12]
* Roger Stone, Republican surrogate [4][12]
* Jeff Sessions, US Attorney General [7][9][12]
* Jared Kushner, son-in-law, Senior Advisor to the President, White House Innovations Director [8][12]
* J.D. Gordon, national security advisor to the Trump campaign [10][12]

The number of men with both close connections to Trump and to Russia AND substantial political power suggests that there may be some relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Although this evidence may currently be circumstantial, it's noteworthy enough that FBI director James Comey is investigating BOTH Russian hacking AND "whether there was any coordination between Trump figures and Moscow as part of its intrusions" [10].

The Trump campaign has repeatedly denied these connections. The connections have also been repeatedly proven to be true. For example, Sessions (under oath) denied any contact with "the Russians". It's been since revealed that he made two calls to Russian ambassador/spy Sergei Kislayak [11].

TLDR: Russian connections.


Perhaps my strongest evidence: Two pro-Trump trolls are paid by the Russian government, and they have a sense of humor:

TLDR: Samantha Bee is neat.




For one, there is no proof that the emails released were false, so if they were true, then there is no reason to fret over it. On Nov. 8, Americans went to the polls all over the country, close to 129 million people cast their ballots, and by all measures, including after some admittedly limited recounts in a few states, it is clear that our fundamental democratic process of having our votes cast and counted was not interfered with.

As a result of our election, the Electoral College vote, and its certification by congress, there has been a peaceful transition of power in our republic. And while we all, as citizens of this great country, continue to have the obligation to question the new administration, to criticize, even to protest, almost all of us do it in the hope of changing policies and outcomes, not in the hope of undermining our country or our system of government.

Our republic survived this election cycle, bruised perhaps, but it survived. A transition has taken place. And there was no outside tampering with our most fundamental democratic process. Upon reflection, many have questions about our Electoral College system of electing a president, especially in light of the election results where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2 percent) for Mrs. Clinton to President Trump"s 62,979,879 (46.1 percent), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Then, to top it all off, there were many surveys that showed that if there was a re-vote, President Trump would have won more than the first election. There is really no evidence that actually shows that Russia hacked the United States.
Debate Round No. 2


Hello. I will rebut Con and extend my arguments.


Con's Round 2 argument hinges on two ideas: [1] Russia's release of DNC emails is irrelevant because said emails are real, and [2] Russia didn't hack the actual votes.

In response to [1]: I think it should be obvious why this is incorrect. If someone threatens to release true but damaging information about you, that's blackmail. And if an agent decides to try and get blackmail on Person A to drive them out of business and let Person B's company win the markIsn't it et, then it's obvious that that agent is on Person B's side. It should be even more obvious that the agent is on Person B's side if the agent collected information on BOTH Person A and Person B, but chose to release information only about Person A.

This is essentially what happened in the 2016 election: As my evidence shows, Russia had the ability to hack both Republican and Democratic parties and release their internal information, but only hacked the Democratic party. Hence why we have access to the DNC's emails, but not the RNC's.

Many people have found items they consider scandalous within the DNC emails -- Pizzagate springs to mind. Imagine, if you will, that the RNC emails had been leaked. It's reasonable that people would have developed parallel conspiracy theories about RNC email content, and that people would have voted against Trump based on those conspiracy theories -- just as they did with the DNC and Clinton. By SELECTIVELY releasing true information, Russia tipped the scandal scales against the Democratic party.

Let's say Con and I were both running to be class president. If a third kid, call him Sergei, ran around telling everyone that I had peed my pants in kindergarten (and this was true), that would bias the voters against me -- even if Con themselves had also peed themselves in first grade.

Perhaps most importantly, my evidence in Contention One clearly shows that Russia INTENDED to cause harm to the Democratic party. So even if Russia failed, Russia still made the attempt -- which is what this discussion is about, is it not?

TLDR: Russia selectively released information with intent to harm the Democratic party. That's swaying the election.

In response to [2]: Russia didn't hack the voting machines, I agree. But having a democratic election requires more than just un-hacked voting machines, it also requires a fair appraisal of the evidence for and against each candidate. This topic is: "Russia attempted to sway the 2016 US presidential election". I believe it should be obvious that you don't need to hack the voting machines to sway an election. Indeed: why hack the voting machines when you can just sway people's votes themselves?

TLDR: Swaying people's minds is swaying the election.


Con attempts to rebut my first contention, about the targeted release of harmful information against the Democratic party. My response is above. Perhaps more importantly, Con does not contest my evidence that Russia was behind the hacks -- only that true information cannot sway an election. Thus: We must accept that Russia targeted the DNC for hacking, with intent to hurt the Democratic party.

Con fails to respond to my second contention about odd Russian connections to the Trump campaign (and the FBI investigation thereof). While evidence is currently only circumstantial, this suggests that Russia was interested in a Trump victory. This contention is totally conceded. Thus: We must accept that Russia attempted to influence people close to Trump.

Con fails to respond to my third contention about Russian trolls promoting Trump on social media. This is an obvious attempt to sway people towards Trump. This contention is totally conceded. Thus: We must accept that Russia attempted to change the minds of American voters via a wave of pro-Trump social media shills.

TLDR: Russia promoted Trump on social media, influenced advisors close to the Trump campaign, and selectively released information with intent to hurt the Democratic Party -- and Hillary Clinton. This sounds very much like an attempt to sway an election.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by SirHarrison0 3 years ago
@funnybone, what evidence?
Posted by Sonofcharl 3 years ago
"Russia attempted to sway"

The more you read it, the more ridiculous and pathetic it sounds.
Posted by funnybone 3 years ago
we already found evidence from the CIA so I agree with fuzzycatpotato
Posted by Political.Questioneer 3 years ago
define what you mean by sway? do you mean tried to change public opinion or intervened with our election process....
Posted by SirHarrison0 3 years ago
Russia never touched our election. i would love to debate you but i don't have the time
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