The Siberian candidate? (updated)
Everyone who's looked into it seems to agree that the big public dump of hacked DNC e-mails was an act of the Russian regime -- and Trump himself appeared to endorse this view late today. The Russian intent seems to have been to make it harder for Bernie Sanders's supporters to reconcile themselves to Hillary's candidacy, something that would weaken her against Trump. That is, the Putin regime dared to interfere in the US election process in an effort to help Trump win.
Such blatant foreign intervention in a US election would be, as far as I know, unprecedented. But the motive isn't hard to see. Trump not only admires Putin but has advocated weakening the US commitment to its NATO allies in Europe and support for Ukraine's self-defense -- a course which would leave Europe far more vulnerable to the expansion of Russian influence. And now some observers are reporting that Trump may even be financially beholden to Russia and thus himself under Russian influence. This posting by anti-Trump conservative writer Max Twain sets forth the case succinctly (with some obligatory Hillary-bashing thrown in); for more detail, see this post at TPM (found via Progressive Eruptions). Sarah Jones argues that Putin may fear Hillary as President, with good reason, creating an additional motive for interference.
As always, we need to be cautious about early reports which may turn out to be wrong or exaggerated. But if all this is substantiated, it looks like a game-changer. Aren't Trump's most vocal supporters the exact kind of people who would be most repelled by the thought of a foreign government having too much influence over a US President? Some of them, of course, will just refuse to believe anything negative about Trump regardless of the evidence. But not all of them.
Update: US intelligence now has "high confidence" that the Russian government was behind the DNC e-mail hack -- and Obama points out that "on a regular basis, they try to influence elections in Europe". Green Eagle points out how high the stakes could be.