The Hill newspaper is reporting, citing both the Washington Post and the New York Times, that the Russian government of Vladimir Putin conducted an operation to deliberately influence the outcome of the most recent election, favoring Donald Trump. The conclusion was arrived at by a preliminary CIA study. Naturally, the report is being hotly denied by President-Elect Trump, cited previous intelligence failures. However, social media is currently ablaze with the idea that Trump is some sort of “Manchurian Candidate” and that his election was somehow illegitimate.

Countries try to influence other countries’ elections all the time.

The most notorious example happened when the Obama administration attempted to intervene in Israeli elections to knock off Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu won the election handily, and the Obama White House wound up embarrassed.

The Russians, it is said, fed Wikileaks damaging information on the Democrats and Hillary Clinton which then released them to the media. Interestingly, the files of the Republican National Committee were hacked too, but anything found there was no released. One of two things is possible.

First, that the Russians were concealing anything damaging they might have found. Second, the Russians did not find anything damaging.

In any case, some analysts dispute the findings of the CIA report, suggesting that the hackers who penetrated the DNC data files were “one step removed from Moscow.”

Then too is the question whether any Russian intervention was decisive. Putin did not make Hillary Clinton a horrible candidate nor did he arrange for economic conditions to hit the white working and middle class, giving Trump the opening he needed for victory.

Why Russia would favor Trump who, despite his admiration for Putin, will likely pursue a stronger foreign policy that Hillary Clinton would have is unclear.

Ironically, before the election, Donald Trump claimed that the system was “rigged” and was roundly admonished for suggesting that he might not accept the outcome. Now that Trump has won, Democrats are crying foul and are entertaining wild conspiracy theories.

The spectacle is not likely to be attractive to the American people, who are warming to Trump according to recent polls.

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