I think this is spot on:
The debate continues: Did the Russians hack the Democrats’ computers to help Donald Trump?
I answered this one a long time ago. Yes, the Russians did but through surrogates who probably resided in Bulgaria. And the goal was likely less to help Trump than to hurt Hillary Clinton — a splitting of hairs, I know, but an important distinction in the motive that I’ll address in a minute.
I could be wrong, but this continues to make the most sense to me.
I know some on the right--too many of whom seem to be developing an unhealthy Putin crush for no good reason I can see--think there is no real proof of Russia hacking the emails. But this fits with Russia's record and no matter who was at the keyboard during the act, it traces back to Russia.
Russia wanted a wounded Hillary Clinton to be sworn in this January, vulnerable to blackmail from day one because of the emails (that Hillary deleted) Russia no doubt has from the illegal and insecure Clinton private email server that Secretary of State Clinton used while in office.
That author doesn't seem to fully back his own theory because he is genuinely confused that Russia didn't release Hillary Clinton's personal system emails.
That fits with my theory. Those could have been bad enough to defeat Clinton--and be reflected in the pre-election polling--and so Russia did not release them. Russia wanted a wounded Clinton in office.
They didn't get that, but given the polling they surely thought they had engineered just the right amount of damaging emails. And had the really good stuff ready for Clinton inauguration day.
One thing that Democrats argue proves that Russia tried to get Trump elected is that Russia hacked Republican emails but did not release them. This author denies that incorrect logic but does say that Russia has those emails.
Do the Russians have them? These authors says the Russians tried--not very hard, perhaps--but failed to gain access to Republican emails:
Russian hackers tried to penetrate the computer networks of the Republican National Committee, using the same techniques that allowed them to infiltrate its Democratic counterpart, according to U.S. officials who have been briefed on the attempted intrusion.
But the intruders failed to get past security defenses on the RNC’s computer networks, the officials said. And people close to the investigation said it indicated a less aggressive and much less persistent effort by Russian intelligence to hack the Republican group than the Democratic National Committee. Only a single email account linked to a long-departed RNC staffer was targeted.
Again, a lesser Russian effort doesn't prove that Russia wanted Trump elected.
But take heart Democrats, for once the Democratic post-election effort to weaken Trump wanes, if Russia has those Republican emails they will release them, no doubt.
By then the newly discovered burning Democratic desire to stick it to the hated Russians will wane, too, and Democrats will just want to focus on the content of the emails rather than the tainted source.
Russia helped Trump to harm a future president Clinton and not to get a future President Trump. I could be wrong, but that makes the most sense to me given what I can see (and based on my assumptions, of course).