The idea that President Trump is colluding with Vladimir Putin seems more far-fetched every day. Russia went on the offense Thursday, flipping the current narrative and blaming Western nations for meddling in Russian politics.
A Moscow official claimed to have concrete evidence that foreign nations were deliberately interfering with its upcoming presidential election.
“If this does not stop we will have to take tough counter-measures,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Zakharova blasted the “destructive influence” that was at play and insisted that the accusations weren’t idly made, “unlike unsubstantiated allegations of all-powerful Russian hackers and some Russian influence on elections in other countries.”
American officials began accusing Russian intelligence officers and hackers of interfering with our elections in 2016. Scant proof has been provided, yet political figures on both sides of the aisle are convinced that something is afoot.
Earlier this month the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, warned that Russia was clearly and obviously targeting the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.
“We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to influence, to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States,” Coats said.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations.”
Russia didn’t offer to share its evidence that its own elections were being hacked, so it’s hard to judge the veracity of its assertion.
President Trump has made it clear that he doubts the popular narrative which presents Russia as an all-powerful force embedded within our country’s voting systems. The country’s intelligence chiefs, however, are adamant that stories of Russian election hacking aren’t meritless.
President Trump’s skepticism endures. The American people can decide for themselves whom to believe, but those in doubt should incline toward trusting the president. He was elected because he was a political outsider unafraid to speak the truth.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people,” President Trump said while still on the campaign trail.
Washington Congressmen wish that the President were less frank. His refusal to endorse the official story touted by the intelligence agencies is causing voters to question it as well.
“My problem is, I talk to people in Maine who say the whole thing is a witch hunt and a hoax ‘because the President told me,'” Sen. Angus King said.
“There’s no doubt, as you all have testified today, we cannot confront this threat, which is a serious one, with a whole of government response when the leader of the government continues to that deny it exists.”
It’s not clear what Zakharova meant when she spoke about “counter-measures.”
Russia is set to hold its next presidential election on March 18. Current president Vladimir Putin is thought to be a shoe-in. His main opponent, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was arrested last year for attending an anti-Kremlin rally.
The high-profile arrest came after Navalny did an interview with CNN.
American media outlets are following Russia’s presidential election, but it hasn’t been demonstrated that they’re interfering with anything. Russians are accused of spreading fake news and propaganda as well hacking into multiple state and city voting systems.
Russia hasn’t backed their claim with any specific allegations.
Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are running so high that it seems laughable that Democrats still believe that President Trump is secretly collaborating with Putin. The supposed close friendship that liberals claim exists between the two hasn’t manifested in any obvious ways.
Republican Sen. Jim Risch believes that the only party that can legitimately complain about election hacking is the U.S.
“With all due respect to my friend from Virginia, I think the American people are ready for this,” Risch said.
“The American people are smart people, they realize there are people attempting to manipulate them, both domestically and foreign. And I agree with everyone on the panel this is going to go on. This is the way the Russians have done business, this is no surprise to us.”
The White House has yet to respond to Russia’s latest allegations.