“Aaron Burr” by A. DEGRAFF
JUST SECURITY: In July 2016, when Trump called on “Russia, if you’re listening” to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, several Republican leaders directly and indirectly criticized him. […] By that point, however, not only did Burr know that the intelligence community had attributed the DNC hack to Russia, but the U.S. intelligence agencies even knew in summer 2015 the specific unit and agents within Russia’s intelligence services who performed the hacking. Among other specific data, Dutch intelligence agencies had for months reportedly accessed security cameras in the hackers’ Moscow offices and handed that information over to their American counterparts.
As the U.S. presidential campaign headed into the general elections, the U.S. intelligence community gained a more comprehensive view of the Kremlin’s actions and intentions. Increasingly concerned by what they saw, senior U.S. intelligence officials updated the small group of congressional leaders.
From Aug. 11 to Sept. 6, 2016, the C.I.A. organized “a series of urgent, individual briefings for [the] eight top members of Congress.” The C.I.A. informed Burr and the others that the U.S. intelligence community had discovered the Kremlin was working to help elect Trump and that “unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians.”
With this information in hand, Burr decided not only to join the Trump campaign and tie his political fate to Trump. Burr also took the now difficult-to-explain step of publicly repudiating suggestions that the Russians were acting in support of Trump. In an Oct. 3, 2016 interview, Burr said, “I have yet to see anything that would lead me to believe” Russia was interfering to benefit Trump. It was also a notable exception to Burr’s reputation for avoiding speaking with the press. MORE
RELATED: When Burr, as a member of the House of Representatives, ran for the Senate in 2004, there was a historical significance to his race that was not lost on the candidate. [Aaron Burr is] the 12th cousin of Aaron Burr, the man who had killed Alexander Hamilton and stood trial for treason for a plot to take military control over American territory. Aaron Burr’s stain on American history was likely part of the reason it took nearly 200 years before a Burr returned to Congress. Richard Burr had accomplished that feat in 1994 as part of the so-called Newt Gingrich Revolution.
Ten years later, he was aiming to become the first Burr to win a Senate seat since Aaron Burr represented the state of New York. Richard Burr’s family expressed pride in their connection to the nation’s third Vice President. His father had served as the president of the Aaron Burr Association in the late 1970s. In 2004, the National Review asked Congressman Burr whether he was proud of his tie to Aaron Burr. “Yes, I am,” Burr replied, “though history has proved to shine a different light on him, because of the treasonous acts.” He was reflective, and sounded conflicted. MORE